Digital Citizenship

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Time to Ditch Algebra?

When was the last time you divided a polynomial? If you were asked to do so today, would you remember how? Stanford University professor Jo Boaler and University of Chicago professor Steven Levitt say that instead of learning algebra, high-school students should be taught how to analyze data to boost critical-thinking skills and provide them with practical tools for grappling with real-world problems. Such a change would enable students to use math to analyze real-world issues such as the environment, social media or space travel, they insist. Boaler and Levitt point out that the closest most people get to Algebra in their daily lives is working with basic analytical software like Microsoft Excel, so why not teach them how to really use it for something that is relevant to their own lives.

What Does It Mean To Be a Digital Citizen?

What does it mean to be a good online citizen? Marialice Curran, founder of the Digital Citizenship Institute, proposes that it is less about a list of do’s and don’ts, and more about treating one another with humanity, compassion and respect. She believes the term “digital citizenship” is not the best way to get people’s attention. For her, digital citizenship is human connections. It is bringing back the humanity into interactions online and not using the online world to harass, bully and intimidate others.

 

Internet Fuels Essay for Hire Industry

People living in developing countries are writing essays and completing other schoolwork for college students in the US, UK and Australia -- a cheating method made easier with the Internet. The essay-for-hire industry has grown with the increases in numbers of English speakers worldwide and the availability of high-speed Internet, The New York Times reports.

Schools in Australia Test Using Emojis as Part of Classroom Communication

High-school students in Australia are sharing how they are feeling with their teachers using a library of emojis. Students have been using an emoji-based software tool as part of a pilot program aimed at curbing anxiety among students. Since implementing the program, teachers and staff feel the software has helped with gauging how students are coping at school and at home.

Google Feature Now Checks for Plagiarism

Google for Education has introduced a feature called Originality Reports that allows teachers and students to scan their work for plagiarism. As the feature scans work for commonalities among billions of webpages and millions of books, it highlights text that may need additional sourcing. Check it out here.

Kids Find New Ways to Use Tech to Cheat

USA Today is reporting that students are finding new, and increasingly advanced, ways to plagiarize assignments and to cheat on exams using technology. Among the newer trends is the use of auto-summarize features in Word, the use of Apple Watches to send answers to others, and the use of other programs that generate essays to be passed off as students' own work.

How are schools combating these issues? Some teachers are giving shorter exams, instead of one of two big tests, so students feel less pressure to cheat. Howard Gardner, a research professor of cognition and education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, says that instead of getting into a technological arm's race with students, instructors and parents should help students understand "why one shouldn't cheat and why it’s destructive to them. It’s easy to say that and be completely ignored, but otherwise, it’s a (game of) cops and robbers." 

New Digital Safety Materials Released

Recently, Common Sense Education, which focuses on teaching students to critically analyze what they see and how they interact online as they navigate that space, released a new curriculum that includes lessons on media literacy. The curriculum is for Kindergarten to 12th grade classrooms and is free to parents, educators and schools. 

Tech Tools For Promoting Social and Emotional Learning in Youth Programs

Is your child’s school looking for a different and meaningful way to use technology, but also build empathy and a sense of community spirit as well? A report entitled “Reclaiming Digital Futures” aims to help community-based and school organizations incorporate digital tools into their programs that help nurture social and emotional learning skills. Tools, including esports programs and digital maker projects, are good ways to teach collaboration, relationship-building and empathy, says Rafi Santo, a researcher for the report reviewed in Edutopia. Also referenced are some practical case studies on the topic.

How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform What It Means To Be Human

Are you curious about artificial intelligence (AI)? It is likely to become a big part of our children’s lives. Once artificial intelligence becomes virtually universal, human interactions, work and even morality will look different, says Alex Bates in an article from CIO. He even goes so far as to say “..we might not even have to speak anymore, instead exchanging thoughts and precepts with other humans or AI agents directly, using via neurotechnology like brain-computer interfaces.”

 

Influencers: Time to Be Realistic About Body Image on Social Media

Social media is skewing the way children view life, according to Damian Hinds, United Kingdom Secretary of State for Education, in an article in the Metro (UK). Hinds makes this statement following the Mental Health Foundation’s finding that 40 percent of teenagers reported being worried about their body image due to comments by friends. He is calling on influencers and others to help support body positivity, in part by being more transparent about how photos they post online are edited.

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