Facebook reminds us of technology’s purpose

Facebook has just released a video that elevates their advertising platform to the ultimate goal of technology: to connect us, give us a sense of belonging, and make us more human. What is the price we pay for this desire to find a tribe?

For years now, my first class has been a discussion on the definition of technology. We use this word everyday but many of us can only give examples, not  a concise explanation. Technology is:

An object or invention created conciously by animal or human, changing the nature of something to make work more efficient or simplify life.

– 6th grade class in 2010

 Technology is the use of new knowledge to improve our lives by solving problems or making us more productive.

 – 5th grade class in 2011

Though my students have different answers year-to-year, we always focus on technology as a means of productivity, creativity, communication and identity.

Technology with intention in the classroom for optimal learning

We then jump immediately into the unintended consequences of technology – a conversation that illuminates our increased reliance on energy, on technology, and our loss of privacy.

This new ad is a great stepping off point for middle- and high-school conversations about both technology’s goals and its impact.

The 5 best digital identity resources

Digital identity & citizenship is an essential part of a relevant education, and of a connected life, in the 21st century. Here are the 5 best resources for learning about digital identity. These websites/documents are useful to parents and teachers interested in learning more about digital ethics, cyberbullying and netiquette:

  1. Net Cetera is a U.S. government produced community outreach toolkit that defines and discusses the impact of common social media platforms with a focus on cyber-safety.
  2. Meeting of Minds: Cross-Generational Dialogue of the Ethics of Digital Life is a 2009 synthesis of conversations between kids and adults that highlights the similarities and differences of each generation’s thoughts on digital media and ethics.
  3. CommonSenseMedia provides curriculum, advice, policy and reviews for parents and teachers to understand the media available today and its potential to influence our behavior and/or beliefs. Their recent research study, Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America, is an enlightening survey and analysis of U.S. parents (published October 2011).
  4.  Edutopia.org’s Digital Citizenship Resource Roundup is a collection of articles related to netiquette and online safety. Their free publication, A Parent’s Guide to 21st Century Learning, documents excellent examples of appropriate technology-influenced classroom experiences.
  5. Digital ID: 21st Century Citizenship is “a toolkit of reliable information, resources, and guidelines to help teachers/parents/students learn how to be upstanding digital citizens.” This resource is a collaboration managed by Natalie Bernasconi & Gail Desler.

I recommend these resources to all schools, and we used some of these as platforms for parent education last year at one of the schools I work with. To understand what a classroom looks like when the information in these resources is put into practice, spend 5 minutes with Linda Yollis‘ fabulous 3rd grade classroom.

For an enthralling (and fictitious) account of a world in which we don’t address the need to live ethically online, spend 5 minutes watching Tom Scott’s “Flash Mob Gone Wrong” at Ignite London:

35% of teens respond to cyberbullies face-to-face

Mashable just published an infographic with some fascinating statisics on cyberbullying, based on new data by McAfee.

Some trends are not surprising, such as 92% of teen respondents saying that bullying happens on Facebook.

Other trends are encouraging: 40% of respondents have asked bullies to stop and 20% have told an adult. Hoping that educators can continue to highlight this connection between real-world and virtual identities through explicit and implicit conversations.

TheirSpace: Educating Digitally Ethical Teens

Last week I was lucky enough to travel to SxSWedu, a vibrant collective of educators, administrators and edtech entrepreneurs in Austin, TX.

I gave a presentation called TheirSpace: Educating Digitally Ethical Teens, which was a reflection on 5 years of talking with middle schoolers about the intersection of media, identity and adolescence.

Slides from the hour-long experience are displayed below (rss/email viewers may need to visit the site to view):

Attendees were an enthusiastic group of educators who were interested in the topic. Several questions were posed throughout the session, and teachers used Twitter to share their own experiences and insights using the #theirspace hashtag. This information, along with resources for further learning (more…)

Digital Identity and Adolescence Webinar

Rushton Hurley of NextVista.org hosted a webinar today on “Digital Identity and Adolescence.” I presented with Ted Kalmus, Head of School at Billings Middle School.

Digital Identity and Adolescence presentation slides from the event are available for viewing and the entire event was recorded and is available online. Please visit LearnCentral for the Young Adult and Digital Identity audio and video recording.


Creative Commons License
Digital Identity and Adolescence by Ted Kalmus (Billings Middle School) and Jac de Haan (TechnologyWithIntention.com) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.