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IBM Recruiting for “New Collar” Jobs

A critical skills gap in the tech industry has prompted IBM to develop digital badge portfolios, add apprenticeship programs and strengthen partnerships with community colleges to fill "new-collar" jobs in cloud computing, cybersecurity and other areas where college degrees aren't required. In an interview for Inside Higher Ed, Kelli Jordan, director of IBM career and skills, says it's important that tech companies focus on hiring people with valuable skills, not just people with college degrees.


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.


Apps Used in Schools Cause Some Debate

School use of technology and applications that track student data, such as electronic hall passes and education software, has been raising privacy concerns from parents and other education experts . While privacy has been improving in some of these programs and applications, anonymous information may still be sold. Heather Kelly, counsel and director of privacy review at Common Sense Media in The Washington Post says that it is important parents are aware of the policies that deal with their childrens’ data.


LEGOS Empower Students to Try STEM

Many teachers use Legos in the classroom for hands-on STEM exercises, particularly as an enticement to get students who are less confident about their engineering aptitude to give it a try. Middle-school robotics teacher Ian Chow-Miller says he likes using Legos -- from the basic blocks to the higher-end robotics kits -- because his students learn something from every possible outcome. A Marketplace story from National Public Radio highlights some of the projects the class has tried, including videos.


Schools Join Into The TikTok Craze with Clubs

TikTok, a social media app where users post short funny videos, is enjoying a surge in popularity among teenagers around the world and has been downloaded 1.4 billion times, according to SensorTower. Now high schools are joining the TikTok trend with clubs to dance, sing and perform skits for the app — essentially drama clubs for the digital age, but with the potential to reach huge audiences. And unlike other social media networks, TikTok is winning over some educators, like Michael Callahan, a teacher and drama club advisor at West Orange High School in New Jersey, who had never heard of TikTok before his students told him about it. He loves how the app brings students from different friend groups together. “You see a lot more teamwork and camaraderie,” he said, “and less — I don’t want to say bullying — but focus on individuals.”


Asking The Vendors Your School Uses About Student Privacy

Do you know what kind of student data management system your child’s school uses or what evaluations took place to select it? Securing student data should be a leading consideration of any school or district adopting a student data management system, as with almost every week comes another data breach story. What kinds of questions should you as a parent be asking about data privacy? Edscoop recently covered some best practices of education technology polices, which provides some good insight for parents or educators who want to evaluate the technologies their school has in place.


Can Social And Emotional Learning Help Curb Cyberbullying?

Integrating a social-emotional learning in school curricula could help to encourage digital civility and curb cyberbullying, according to Mandy Manning, who was National Teacher of the Year in 2018. Now back in the classroom, Manning says she is focused in part on helping students make human connections and learn to have positive, healthy relationships -- online and in real life.


Some Schools Are Using AI To Grade Student’s Work – What You Should Know

Did you know that some schools are using artificial intelligence to grade student essays? An article in Vox reports that schools across the country are using algorithms to grade essays by making predictions about how a teacher would grade them. Experts say, however, that the technology can get those predictions wrong and it's possible a particular data set could be biased about certain speech and language patterns. One of the other flaws that is noted is that the grading system rewards those who use big words, yet easily be fooled by nonsensical gibberish of sophisticated words strung together.


Quick List of Digital Resources for Bullying Prevention and Cybersecurity

Looking for parent, teacher or school resources on bullying prevention and cybersecurity? Take a look at this list from Tech & Learning online. The resources includes links on how to obtain posters, tip sheets and brochures about bullying for your school, information on Cyber Security Careers, and even a short guide to cryptology that helps students understand the importance of a strong password.


Closing the STEM Gender Gap

Educators and parents can help to close the gender gap in STEM by examining possible gender biases that are integrated into their language. Meagan Pollock, executive director of the nonprofit Design Connect Create, also asserts that girls typically tend to go into helping careers, so showing how STEM makes a positive difference in people's lives could be beneficial in exposing them to other options, she writes.


“Grandkids on Demand”

A number of tech startup companies are using social media to foster face-to-face connections and combat loneliness and social isolation among seniors. One example is Papa, a Miami-based health care firm that connects aging seniors with college students through a mobile app and other digital tools. Papa has partnered with health insurers such as Aetna, Alignment Healthcare and Priority Health to offer its "grandkids on demand" service to some Medicare Advantage members. “Papa Pals,” as the 3,500 college, nursing and pre-med students who have become part of the program are called, pair up with older adults who need assistance with transportation, house chores, technology lessons, and other services. Papa Pals have to submit to a stringent background check, a personality test, a virtual interview, a motor vehicle inspection and even a test of the tonality of their voice to ensure they have the kind of personality the service is looking for with a Papa Pal. With the strict guidelines, only 15% of applicants actually make it into the program.


What Country Has the Most Tech Addicted Teens?

About half of teenagers and parents in Mexico say they believe they are addicted to their cellphones -- the highest of any nation surveyed by Common Sense Media. In the US, 39% of teenagers report feeling addicted to their mobile devices, which happens to be fewer than both the United Kingdom and Japan.


Consumers Lack Digital Media Literacy

A recent Pew Research Center study of US adults revealed that consumers generally lack social media literacy regarding issues such who owns what apps, how social platforms make money, familiarity with private browsing, and how cookies work. The survey did find that younger tech users were savvier about terms and issues, but even that was not universal. What was clear is that consumers need to be better informed about the more technical aspects of their digital presence – it will only become more important over time.  


There’s A New Tablet for Kids

Amazon now has a version of its Kindle e-reader designed specifically for kids. The device includes educational tools such as a built-in dictionary for defining complex words, achievement badges for meeting reading goals, enhanced search features, and a vocabulary builder with flash cards.


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.



FTC Sets Sights Set On Updating Children’s Online Privacy

Following its $170 million settlement with YouTube for Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) violations, the Federal Trade Commission has its sights set on updating the law meant to safeguard children’s online privacy. A recently hosted public workshop explored necessary revisions, and Isaac Mamaysky of the Potomac Law Group writes that educational technology companies and parents will need to pay close attention to changes. Parents should also read the public service announcement issued by the FBI regarding the risks of kids’ personal data being improperly or insecurely stored by companies that develop and host apps for children.


Helping Your Kids Manage Digital Distractions

Digital tools that kids use for learning also can provide some of their biggest distractions. In a recent article on the EdSurge site, author Ana Homayoun shares how to help kids manage these digital distractions by supporting their intrinsic motivation to make better decisions, both online and in the real world. A key takeaway from the article: “When working with kids, I start from a place of compassion, empathy and understanding, rather than fear, anger and frustration. I recognize and admit how challenging it is for all of us to navigate this relatively new world of technology and its related distractions. Kids are receptive to this approach. They become excited to try new ways to manage and block distractions as I encourage them to realize they have a choice in how they spend their time and that they are competent to make choices that promote their social and emotional well-being.”


Hat Not Hate

If you’ve got a crafty side and want to speak out against bullying, there is a way to contribute to the cause and show your “anti-cyberbullying” outlook. Lion Brand Yarns has partnered with BeStrong, a global antibullying organization, to rally consumers to knit or crochet blue hats and share them on social media with #HatNotHate to build awareness and support the efforts to stop bullying. Why blue hats? Blue represents awareness and solidarity, and is the color to wear in support of bullying prevention.


TikTok Safety Tips

TikTok, the app for short form videos that tweens are flocking to, has had some issues parents should be aware of, including leaky privacy settings and inappropriate comments. If your tween is active on the app you may want to take at look at these TikTok safety tips that appear on the Common Sense Media site. One thing to especially be aware of - unlike other apps, TikTok requires a special code to delete the app so don’t think it is gone until you check.


Addressing Cyberbullying – What Works and What Doesn’t

According to Today, one-off programs such as guest speakers and school assemblies are ineffective at addressing the complexities of bullying. Schools may think they have checked off their responsibility to combat bullying by holding these kinds of programs, but they rarely have much effect.  Some schools are making progress through research-backed programs that adopt anti-bullying classes and establish a framework for what to do when bullying situations arise. This includes setting goals and procedures that are properly communicated to the staff, students, parents and the community. Experts agree that any anti-bullying program is only as strong as a school's commitment to it, and to get results, students, teachers and administrators have to put in the time.