Digital Citizenship

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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.

Google Adding a Media Literacy Component

TechCrunch reports Google is adding a media-literacy component to its digital citizenship and safety curriculum for children, called "Be Internet Awesome." The updated program will include six activities designed to help young Internet users identify fake URLs, interpret clickbait headlines and evaluate sources. Not a bad thing for parents to brush up on either!

A New Alliance of Media Giants to Fight Misinformation and Hate Speech

A new coalition, Global Alliance for Responsible Media, has been formed to address brand safety issues and combat online hate speech and fake content. The coalition includes numerous industry heavyweights and social media standouts such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Unilever, General Mills, Procter & Gamble and Adidas, plus various marketing agencies and other industry associations. “When industry challenges spill into society, creating division and putting our children at risk, it’s on all of us to act,” writes Luis Di Como, EVP of global media at the giant consumer brands company Unilever, in an article on the Reuters site. “Founding this alliance is a great step toward rebuilding trust in our industry and society.”

“Contract Cheating” Becoming a Serious Challenge

“Contract cheating,” the process by which students solicit and compensate others to do their work or take tests for them, is a serious threat to high school and college education, says University Business magazine online. Many schools have invested in content-tracking services, such as Turnitin, that can spot and prevent plagiarism in high school and college. Its tools reveal cheating by comparing one student’s writing with somebody else’s work. The company’s more recently released “Authorship Investigate” platform was also specially designed to identify contract cheating. Experts warn that increasing class sizes and going to more online personalized learning modules can make it difficult for teachers to find the time to give students the level of attention that counteracts academic dishonesty.

Chimpstagram?

A video of a chimpanzee scrolling through an Instagram feed on a smartphone has attracted more than 1.6 million views, but has also drawn criticism from animal welfare experts. Primatologist Jane Goodall said she was "very disappointed to see the inappropriate portrayal of a juvenile chimpanzee," and commented that such viral videos encourage illegal chimpanzee trading.

Six Steps to Promote Digital Citizenship

Strategies to help students be better digital citizens offered by Chief Technology Officer Dr. Audrey Hovannesian of the Victor Valley Union High School District in California include focusing on digital etiquette, respect and safety, and preparing students to leave digital footprints they can be proud of. She also reminds districts that you can’t put a price on the value of educating a student to be a good digital citizen. Safety needs to be the number one priority for all stakeholders – from parents and kids to teachers and administrators - in every district.

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