2013 NESA Raising the I-Child JT
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2013 NESA Raising the I-Child JT

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Presentation at NESA SEC April 2013 by Jeffrey Thomas of ISG-Jubail School

Presentation at NESA SEC April 2013 by Jeffrey Thomas of ISG-Jubail School

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  • Welcome: Raising the I-Child, Guiding our children through the 21st century deluge of technology.
  • Raising the iChild in a world deluged with new technology. Thank you coming to this discussion about the place of new computer and entertainment technologies in our lives. Social networks, screentime, moodle, facebook, mmorpg’s, moocs …what’s an adult to do?Where do they fit in our lives, in our educational establishments? This session will featureAdvice and discussion about the place of new computer and entertainment technologies in our lives. Guidelines for parents wondering how to deal with the insidious onslaught of gadgets and tablets taking children’s time. What is it like to be a kid these days? How can we help our children enjoy the benefits of childhood and still prepare for an increasingly technologically-oriented world?How much screentime is too much? How does quality relate to quantity of screentime? I will set the stage with some history and discussion of distinctive issues, then present some of the relevant research, and suggest some concrete take-aways you can use at your school, and particularly offer to parents.
  • Phone, Technology Wave, Tsunami,Adapted as you see to an iPhone case by gelaskins.comThe original woodblock print by Hokusai was made just before the Meiji Era, when Japan at last embraced and mastered new technology.I hope it’s not stretching a metaphor too far to say that this print could represent an era when Japanese society was about to be flooded with the modern world, in the Meiji Era.
  • But is this really a new phenomenon?[Recited aloud by some sonorous voice in the audience.]When was this written? How many years ago?It may be apocryphal, as I cannot find a primary source, but still feels valid.
  • (click to next slide of wordle, while reading the list)Nurture better humans Develop sense of confident selfInstill humanitarian values and respectScaffold beginning academic skills:literacy and numeracy conceptsEffect social cooperation and collaborationProvide rich language and motor resourcesMotivate for self-directed learning
  • Nurture better humans Develop sense of confident selfInstill humanitarian values and respectEffect social cooperation and collaborationProvide rich language and motor resourcesMotivate for self-directed learningScaffold beginning academic skills:literacy and numeracy concepts, and of course now digital citizenship
  • We worry about media effects on kids. What things do you worry about? Turn to your neighbor and share one or two things that teachers and parents worry about, regarding the effects of technology on child development nowadays.(Take some contributions from the floor, then turn to next slide to confirm, maybe add more items)
  • We worry about media effects on kidsWhat do we, as Parents and Teachers, do with technology in our classrooms and homes? How does technology affect our pedagogical and parenting approach?What technologies are more age-appropriate?What technologies are less age-appropriate? Keyboarding used to be taught in fourth grade, then third – now we start keyboard concepts in kindergarten!What about age-appropriate technology at home, particularly media exposure? iTunes has excellent parental settings.When should kids get on facebook? The company says 13, because of US laws regarding parental permission. But in your country there is likely no actual law regarding this, so be careful how you word your policy.
  • The topic is ever so current:Just last week, the website SocialTimes.com published this infographic (credited to another site, whoishostingthis.com), which makes a few unsubstantiated but interesting claims!Now worrying more about children's surroundings – in some sense the fear may be a displaced fear, a reaction to environments that we understand less about. We know that we are more likely to crash on a highway than on an airplane, yet we magnify the horror and shock of an airplane crash. Are children now more likely than they were 50 years ago) to fall or fall victim to stranger danger? Yet nowadays we consider it child abuse if a parent leaves a young child alone out in public, or in the woods. The information superhighway moves very fast, and our children are out there on the road.So our popular notion is that The Internet is making our children stupid, and…
  • The founder of Zynga declares….
  • Similarly, our local English-language newspaper in Saudi Arabia, the Arab News, published a feature article March 22nd entitled “The impact of screen time on babies and toddlers”
  • American Academy of Pediatrics advises NO screentime before 2 years of age! None. Zero. We grew up in a less-saturated media environment.We must prepare children for the future in which new technology will be ubiquitous, everywhere. That is the distinction between this technology and prior changes.Successful new generation will master new technology. We want our children to be successful; but what is age-appropriate?
  • Let’s hope we are the little rowing figures in this metaphor….Let’s just Slide to Unlock… the next slide please.
  • To children these are normal, and will be part of their future – we must guide them to best use of the technology, particularly regarding its place in their lives.
  • A term coined by Marc Prensky, Digital Natives describes children born since the 1990s as naturally knowing how to fluently navigate technology, much like native speakers of a language, compared to the Digital Immigrants – us older people. As a long-time teacher of technology, I can assure you that children are fluent in the sense of comfort with technology, just as they may talk fast; however, just as a fast talker is not necessarily an educated speaker, so a Digital Native does not naturally know all about these products that surround us – and they certainly do not know the vocabulary or the grammar needed to manipulate the technology tools in school.
  • A Digital Immigrant is less comfortable with digital technologies, often worried about making mistakes, and reliant on the native for help.Our children may be digital natives, but we are Life Natives – we have the benefit of years of experience, and living through adolescence.Children, and our society, rely on us to guide and structure the development for children to gain the knowledge they need to succeed us. [Optional] Pair and share: What examples have you found in your life of your Digital Immigrant status, or conversely, your Life Native ability? Wisdom.
  • Internet enables increasing waves of information and innovationIt is overwhelming, particularly to those of us who recognize it.Young people are overwhelmed by adolescence anyway, so the Technology Tsunami is just another part of growing up. And yet…there’s distraction [look distracted, look at your blackberry. Can Barb ring my phone?]… Distraction, oh yes.However a recent small study by Professor Larry Rosen of California State University found teens harmfully (harmful to their learning, that is) distracted by electronic devices, unable to focus for more than a few minutes. Those who checked Facebook once every 15 minutes got a lower grade on the subsequent test. This may be due in part to the Marshmallow Effect – that’s a shorthand term from an old study at Stanford that confirmed the benefits of delayed gratification, and the benefits of teaching delayed gratification to students – those able to focus, and NOT attempt to multi-task, that is, in this case, those who deliberately ignored their Facebook chime, performed better and reported fewer problems.
  • Alone Together (hold up the book) the title refers to the now-common phenomenon of people sitting in the same room but each person’s attention is glued to a device that draws them elsewhere. (Is anyone here eager to check their text-messages now? When did you last check your device?)..Sherry Turkle started her career extolling the virtues of computers and the human spirit, imagining we would all find new ways of communicating; but now she worries about the seductive effects of technology, both on our time and on what it means to be human; she worries that gadgets and apps and robots are diverting our young people from the patently difficult task of forming their psychological self, learning to converse and navigate human feelings. Why talk when you can text? Or when the internet or robot never argues with you?For my part, I remember as a parent speaking casually about Television, the Electronic Babysitter – but now, we all have electronic babysitters to comfort us when we are anxious or elderly.[show video, next slide]What resources do we have to help us guide our children?
  • What resources do we have to help us guide our children?I now play a video of Sherry Turkle, a Ted Talk, about her new book, Alone Together – I will let her introduce it:(stop at 0:43 “too many (texts) can be a problem”1:41 at “fast forward to 2012” Or from 2:32 to 3:00Or Goldilocks effect 6:00 to 7:13 (possible pair-and-share stopping at 6:29 – what’s wrong with having a conversation?)
  • What resources do we have to help us guide our children? Allow me to summarize 4 different sites that you may find useful.FOSI is a U.S. computing industry-sponsored organization with useful resources, including aplatformforgood.org, an inspirational site for young people to view – and they recently published the results of a survey of attitudes of teens and parents regarding internet use. I patterned the survey you just received after their questions. Take a look at the questionnaire now, can you finish filling it out? You are welcome to a blank copy, if I have any left over – and a link to the document is on my online handout as well.
  • Cite research of The Online Generation Gap: interviews of 500 US teens and 500 parents last fall, about their attitudes and behaviors on the internet. I will point out the few stark differences.Gaps: 84% of parents say their monitor their child’s online or mobile activity closely; only 39% of teens say that?91% of parents say they are well-informed about online or mobile activity; only 62% of teens say that.Twitter: 38% of parents say they are well-informed; but only 14% of Twitter users say that. Facebook shows an 18 point gap.But other activities, the more traditional activities like SMS texting and video games, get much closer results, from both parents and children.Both also feel generally safe online; but the worries differ: parents worry about stranger danger and inappropriate content, while kids worry about privacy and identity theft or harassment.
  • Commonsensemedia.org is an excellent longstanding website
  • Show the home page. This site is worthy of your time – here is an introductory video .Commonsense video is 4minutes 40seconds, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXgrV5ALCIIDownloaded Also watch adshttp://www.commonsensemedia.org/videos/smash-it-adhttp://www.commonsensemedia.org/videos/why-bother-adhttp://www.commonsensemedia.org/videos/standoff-adhttp://www.commonsensemedia.org/videos/kiss-head-adhttp://www.commonsensemedia.org/videos/so-awkward-ad
  • Show the home page. This site is worthy of your time – here is an introductory video .Commonsense video is 4minutes 40seconds, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXgrV5ALCIIDownloaded Also watch adshttp://www.commonsensemedia.org/videos/smash-it-adhttp://www.commonsensemedia.org/videos/why-bother-adhttp://www.commonsensemedia.org/videos/standoff-adhttp://www.commonsensemedia.org/videos/kiss-head-adhttp://www.commonsensemedia.org/videos/so-awkward-ad
  • This list of tips is a valuable item to include in a parent e-mail, that could come from any teacher, or particularly the tech coordinator. The slide is available on the online handout, at nesacenter.orgBeyond this list, CommonSenseMedia.org have just published guides for schools switching to a 1:1 laptop or BYOD program. This group is really on the ball!
  • British site, excellent quality, and it is multi-lingual.Their handy alliterative tip is easy to remember: be mindful of the 3 C’s, Content, Contact, and Commercialism
  • Australian government site, very trendy and cute, with an Australian accent.
  • What do we do at ourSchool? Of course we have an Acceptable Use Policy document that is comprehensive but fairly traditional, a part of our registration packet. It of course includes damage done on school grounds with school property; but we are now discussing what guidelines students have regarding school-related online bboards or chatrooms (cyberbullying); what guidelines regarding staff “friending” students, or just staff corresponding with students? By the way, My personal guideline is not to friend current students, and not to correspond after dark. Attention Restoration Theory reflects some research that confirms common sense: a walk in the park really does calm our minds and help us with later problem-solving; even onscreen photographs of natural beauty helps a bit! (from Stephen Kaplan of U.Mich., 1989 and 1995) the idea is that Directed Attention Fatigue is relieved by effortless attention outdoors. This can certainly justify teacher requests for tree plantings and flowers!
  • Remember the advice of commonsense.org – keep them accountable. Of course, punishments are not the same nowadays, either. The time-out corner, for example [next slide]
  • “Time-Out” Cartoon from The New Yorker Magazine 08April2013Oh! The harsh inconvenience of the Time-Out.
  • Some more specific guidelines for parents– this is a helpful list: be ready when parents ask for advice about children’s over-use of technology, and particularly when children show signs of lack of sleep.For example, we had to tell our son to turn off devices after a certain hour in order to reduce the stimulation, and wind down in order to get a good night’s sleep. This may simply reflect our parenting philosophy -- we made the rule clear, and enforced it less gradually with age. The rule remained an agreeable goal, one for us to model as well – I should say, one that is difficult for us to model as well!Although the original meaning of the term “screen” represented the very fine wire mesh in the glass that serves as a target for the streaming electrons in a CathodeRayTube (CRT), let’s remember the metaphor as it applies to our home windows and screens that keep out pests.
  • Technology is here to stay, but… nothing replaces the need for human interaction, particularly during development – until age 24!As recent neurological development research has demonstrated, the younger human brain is truly different from ours. All brains change physically when learning, or not-learning. Our bodies evolved to move and learn in physical space, to move and learn in a social space with people around us – technology is a poor substitute for those general principles. And, as Sherry Turkle points out – the human voice is a marvel of communication ability. Why do we suppress it in favor of text or messaging?Students, when assigned a research presentation, often beg me to allow them to video themselves giving the presentation – rarely do I consent, because we are building human skills, and conversations, seminars, not just one-way soliloquies.Our role as teachers is particularly to guide our charges in those human areas of development – technology can provide factual content, so we do not need to provide all the facts any more. We still need to scaffold the information, assess their progress, and most importantly mentor and motivate students to make better judgements about their own direction and ability to learn. In closing, the 21st century technology tsunami is upon us – not since the printing press has there been such a sea change in the flow of information. I hope I have given us some tools to help us stay afloat, and use this in ways that improve all our lives.
  • Handouts: survey paper, Online: C:\\Users\\jthomas\\Documents\\Presentation\\2013NESAiChildJThandout.pptxThat includes weblink to the survey, and this resources list


  • 1. Raisingthe I-ChildSwimming through the 21st centuryTechnology Tsunami
  • 2. Raising the I-Child in 2013:Swimming through the 21st centuryTechnology Tsunami Presentation 8 April 2013 NESA Spring Educators Conference Bangkok, Thailand Presenter: Jeffrey Thomas ICT Site Coordinator and classroom teacherat ISG-Jubail School, Saudi Arabia6/24/20132
  • 3. The Great Wave of Technologyhttp://www.gelaskins.com/images/skins/86-TheGreatWave/110_KatsushikaHokusai_TheGreatWave_500-white.jpg6/24/20133
  • 4. Young People Today! "The world is passing through troublingtimes. The young people of today thinkof nothing but themselves. They haveno reverence for parents or old age.They are impatient of all restraint. Theytalk as if they knew everything, andwhat passes for wisdom with us isfoolishness with them. As for the girls,they are forward, immodest andunladylike in speech, behavior anddress.” ~ Peter the Hermit, A.D. 1274.6/24/20134
  • 5. Traditional WorriesEvery era worries about the fasterpace of society and its effect onchildrensocial interaction with peers andwith elderslearning: oral → written → googleconcentration vs. distractionworldviewadherence to traditionlanguage development6/24/20135
  • 6. Ourlong-termgoals forourchildren 6/24/20136
  • 7. 6/24/20137
  • 8. Worries about Technology???????6/24/20138
  • 9. Worries about TechnologyMedia?Pedagogy?Parenting?Age-appropriate?ContentContactCommercialism6/24/20139
  • 10. 6/24/201310
  • 11. 6/24/201311
  • 12. 6/24/201312
  • 13. What shall we do?Distractions6/24/201313
  • 14. Can we Ride the Wave?6/24/201314
  • 15. Adults often have anxieties about new media…is justnormalEverythingthat isalreadyin the worldwhen youare born:6/24/201315
  • 16. Young People Today!Digital NativesSocializingCommunicatingCreatingPlayingExploringLearningImagesfromfosi.org6/24/201316
  • 17. Who’s the Adult? We are Life Natives6/24/201317
  • 18. Technology TsunamiOverwhelmingwaves ofInformationAnd Distraction6/24/201318
  • 19. Alone Together6/24/201319
  • 20. Alone Together Book by Prof. Sherry Turkle, longtimeresearcher of technology and culture Author of The Second Self: Computersand the Human Spirit (1984) Author of Life on the Screen: Identity inthe Age of the Internet (1995) Editor of The Inner History of Devices(2008)6/24/201320
  • 21. Alone TogetherSherryTurkleIntroduction6/24/201321
  • 22. Family Online Safety InstituteFosi.orgaplatformforgood.orgTechnology and safetyRules and guidelines?Identity theft and privacy?Stranger danger?6/24/201322
  • 23. Research Survey ResultsU.S. Teenagers and parentsGaps:what kids think parents have said ordone vs. what parents say they havedone, particularly Twitter or FacebookBothperceive same about gaming, textingfeel generally safe online6/24/201323
  • 24. 6/24/201324
  • 25. Common Sense MediaCommonsense.orgVideo rules of theroad for parents inthe digital age6/24/201325
  • 26. Common Sense MediaCommonsense.orgVideo rules of theroad for parents inthe digital age6/24/201326
  • 27. Common Sense MediaTips for Parents1.Model good behavior2.Pay Attention3.Share our values4.Establish limits5.Keep a balance6.Make them accountable7.Find ways to say “Yes”6/24/201327http://www.commonsensemedia.org/
  • 28. Childnet.comU.K. based websiteTip: be mindful of thethree C’sContentContactCommercialismKnowITall video series6/24/201328
  • 29. Cybersmart.gov.auZippep’s Astro Circusgame for young childrenages 5-7Cybersmart Quiz forages 8-11For teenagers: theCloud: Dream On6/24/201329
  • 30. Implications for SchoolAcceptable Use Policy thatincorporates socialnetworkingICT classes and digitalcitizenshipTeachers modeling goodbehaviorAttention Restoration Theory6/24/201330
  • 31. Parents and TeachersClarify yourguidelinesAllow children toteach you – sharetheir onlineexperiences, learnwhat they do6/24/201331
  • 32.  Facebook“Time-Out”CartoonfromTheNewYorkerMagazine08April20136/24/2013
  • 33. Parents and Screen TimeGuidelines for use ofelectronic devices:Simple physical rules areeasiest:No devices after X hourNo devices in certainrooms / bedroom6/24/201333
  • 34. RecommendationsHuman interactionAdults as guidesLearn the toolsGuidelinesAccountabilityBalance Screentime andLifetime6/24/201334
  • 35. Resources, Works Cited Commonsensemedia.org Fosi.org Cybersmart.gov.au Childnet.com Alone Together (2012) by Sherry Turkle Networked: The new social operatingsystem (2012), by Rainie & Wellman The Shallows: what the internet is doing toour brains (2011) by Nicholas Carr6/24/201335