April 5, 2012

Very Worthy Reads

Category: Equity
man filming students working on ipads

In a new report from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, “Youth and Digital Media: From Credibility to Information Quality,” the authors set out to “map and explore what we know about the ways in which young users of age 18 and under search for information online, how they evaluate information, and how their related practices of content creation, levels of new literacies, general digital media usage, and social patterns affect these activities.” Their key findings:

1. Search shapes the quality of information that youth experience online.
2. Youth use cues and heuristics to evaluate quality, especially visual and interactive elements.
3. Content creation and dissemination foster digital fluencies that can feed back into search and evaluation behaviors.
4. Information skills acquired through personal and social activities can benefit learning in the academic context.

How Big Telecom Used Smartphones to Create a New Digital Divide (article)

An article in Colorlines argues that internet access on smartphones is giving rise to social injustice because of net neutrality laws and internet censorship. The article states that people of color, especially blacks and Latinos, are more likely to surf the internet on their phones, which is supported by a Pew Hispanic report we mentioned a few months ago that found Latinos more likely than whites to access the internet from their cellphones instead of through home connections. Thus, how people of color are accessing the internet is putting them at a disadvantage because “two internets” are emerging in the U.S.: the loosely regulated broadband computer access internet and the unregulated mobile internet, the latter including more people of color and low-income users.” In addition to discussing the important issue of the digital divide, the article looks at the larger picture of big media’s influence and makes a strong case for the urgent need to change our nation’s broadband infrastructure so that it does not disadvantage people of color. It’s important that the youth we work with have this information along with different perspectives on the issue so  they can be part of advocating for policies and regulations that will benefit their communities. (This Colorlines infographic accompanies the article above and provides visuals about how Big Telecom has created a new digital divide that contributes to racial inequity).

25 TED Talks Perfect for the Classroom (videos)

Jeff Dunn at Edudemic curated a list of TED talks that would be beneficial to share with students. They range from healthy eating, to the importance of non-violence, to importance of pollination and much more. Most of all the talks highlight that much can be acquired from non-traditional learning spaces and encourage people to become curious about the world around them.

ThinkB4U: Google and Common Sense Team Up (web site)

ThinkB4U is a new collaboration addressing online safety education amongst Google and safety partners Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely, and the National Consumers League. Their goal is to address one of “the biggest learning curves thrown at the average user in a fun and interactive way” and “achieve high levels of digital literacy for everyone.” The site is a “choose your own adventure” style interactive learning site designed to get everyone — from parents to students to teachers — thinking about how to use the internet safely and responsibly. You’ll find select K-12 lessons from Common Sense Media as resources for educators on each of the topics and section along with videos, games, and relevant information customized for students, educators and parents.

What We’ve Learned About Games and Learning: An Interview with Kurt Squire (interview)

This three part interview by Henry Jenkins with Kurt Squire, author of Video Games and Learning: Teaching and Participatory Culture in the Digital Age, is a fantastic overview of the history of games for learning (Did you know, for example, that the first educational video game, Oregon Trail, was first made in 1971 and was all text?) The course of Kurt’s career has placed him in the center of so many significant developments in the recent history of games-based learning, providing him with a unique perspective to write his latest book. Henry asks Kurt to address topics crucial to understand for anyone interested in using games for learning, such as: “The logic of the book follows the shift in the field of games-based learning from designing games for use in school (or bringing existing games into the classroom, as you have done with the Civilization series) to developing games-based literacies which encourage kids to think of themselves as designers. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of each approach? Can you explain some of the factors which led to this shift in emphasis?” Grab something to drink, schedule a twenty-minute break, and dig in. Afterwards, scroll through or print out this amazing infographic on the history of gamifying education (even though we might differ on their definition of the term).

NMC Horizon Report – Higher Education Edition for 2012 (report)

The latest NMC Horizon Report has just been published, and can be found and downloaded from iTunes U. The annual report identifies and describes, as always, emerging technologies likely to have an impact over the coming years in education around the globe, all collected in one short, easy to read package. This time around, technologies in the one year or less time frame of adoption include Mobile Apps and Tablet Computing. Game-Based Learning and Learning Analytics are in the two- to three-year adoption timeframe. Other technologies to be adopted in the four- to five-year period include the Gesture-Based Computing and the Internet of Things. More information about all these technologies, their impact on education, and the methodology for the findings can all be found in the project wiki.

Global Kids does a great job each month pointing us to helpful resources; Joliz Cedeno, Daria Ng and Juan Rubio contributed to this month’s list. Please share what you’re reading and watching, too! Global Kids’ NYC-based programs address the need for young people to possess leadership skills and an understanding of complex global issues to succeed in the 21st century workplace and participate in the democratic process.

Banner image credit: Global Kids http://www.flickr.com/photos/holymeatballs/6838529720/in/photostream/