11 Stories about #DigitalParenting 11/12/13

Keeping track of a number of stories relating to ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age‘ in the news:

  • Breaking News ScreenDo children need pencils or tablets?: The results of a new survey by an online guide to nurseries,, show that parents should protect their young ones from what has been termed as “technology creep” which sees devices such as tablets being used in nursery schools.
  • Children own 6 digital devices by 13: That’s the findings of a new survey by IT firm Logicalis, which also reveals that 84% of children polled own a smartphone, 78% own a laptop, and 51% own a tablet device.
  • Family Time: Moms champion traditional toys even in a digital age: While there is no denying the benefits of digital devices and it is becoming commonplace for parents to pass their tablets to Junior, research shows many want to limit the time their kids spend on screens, large and small. Parents also actively encourage their kids to play with toys that may help them reach critical developmental milestones. So how have traditional toys stood the test of time?
  • Making Good Digital Stuff for Kids Is Magic: For kids being digital is like breathing oxygen — it’s just something that you do. For the makers of quality kids digital media it’s like being a grand puppeteer. You’re best if you’re unnoticed. You want kids to believe in the magic that you create for them.
  • How Technology Is Warping Your Memory: Technology changes the way we live our daily lives, the way we learn, and the way we use our faculties of attention — and a growing body of research has suggested that it may have profound effects on our memories (particularly the short-term, or working, memory), altering and in some cases impairing its function.
  • A growing need for teaching digital citizenship to younger children: A recent report from Common Sense Media indicates that it is increasingly more common for kids under the age of nine to frequently use iPods, iPads or tablets, and mobile phones. In our schools we are witnessing these changes. It is becoming more common for younger students to have a Smartphone in their backpacks to be able to communicate with their parents and friends.

and opportunities for children to learn computer programming, contacting Santa, and an app that uses neuroscience to improve children’s maths scores.


Turn it on to turn them off or turn it off to keep their attention (@adamrsc) #JISC have just participated in this very useful webinar on the use of mobile technology in the classroom with @adamrsc, and am even more keen to interview American Studies at the University of Winchester as they have been experimenting with encouraging the use of mobile devices in the classroom, and the feedback is generally positive. Below are my live notes from the session:

Mobile phones have no place in a learning space because all students do is misuse them to update their social media spaces?

  • Yes, lots do this, but this is more to do with how we engage students with their mobile devices.
  • 100% Senior Management found that they were useful oso it was how they use the devices.

Mobile phones disrupt classroom behaviour?

  • Isolated knowledge/skills with students – rather than addressing corporate change, and the need to address student behaviours.  Cultural change – if don’t address all those areas, nothing moves forward.
  • You manage how students use pen and paper in the classroom, and in the same way it can be a disruptive device (as mobile phones)

Mobile phones have not been shown to have any benefit for learning?

  • Graph demonstrates that there are significant effects on learning – National colleges – Fig 17/18 with/without mobile devices.
  • All research demonstrates that it can enhance learning if used well.

Equal access: are you advantaging the many or disadvantaging the  few?

  • Provide materials via mobile devices that enhance  the other materials (rather than only via mobile devices), in the same way that you would change your teaching style to meet different learning needs.

Who pays for the PAYG devices?

  • Use own devices/learning devices. Offer wireless network for student use.

Can this improvement be attributed to mobile devices?

  • Run with control groups, but not ‘overly scientific’ – but the weight of evidence rather than scientific rigour, that is useful.

Staff Development: Takes too long to learn how to use the technology effectively?

  • Can take time from scratch, and may not be time-efficient for institutions from scratch, but the best CPD would be to purchase one yourself, and it becomes an everyday device as pen and paper.

Manage safeguarding, where a student is showing the latest violent movie, etc.?

  • Ties in with safeguarding policies, same as windows/stairs, etc…
  • Need clear induction policies in which the ways these tools are used is outlined.

It costs a lot of money to invest in new trends – what makes mobile devices different?

  • More to do with the behavior of people, and how they use it.
  • If we’re talking about using resources effectively, the mobile phone is one of the most resource-efficient devices you can use – most more powerful than PCs … which brings in overhead fees for IT maintenance – if we had strategies for students using own devices in classrooms effectively – then the cost issue disappears.

Financial advantages, but what about security implications, if tied into an institutional network?

  • No security issues by using Google docs, etc. Revision notes in e.g. StudyStacks.
  • Can use if wifi networks are kept security free and separate from other networks.

How can we train staff to use these devices when they’re still not using VLES/PowerPoint well?

  • These are not the people who are going to use these devices well initially, have to take responsibility with own devices – preferably provided by institution – if use as part of daily life – as become familiar, can start to see how can use in the classroom.

Students often do not want their tutors using their social media/texts? How get past that barrier?

  • Lots of (anecdotal) evidence of this, but there is increasing evidence that there is positive engagement via this if using a ‘professional Facebook site’.  Good idea from one student tends to get picked up by other students.

A good space to get educational apps?

  • No generic site that lists good educational resources … Twitter does it fairly well in an ad hoc way. Android Marketplace – search.

Who drives the choice of devices?

  • Has to be driven by the students, can’t specify a particular device, so would need as an institution a platform independent approach.

Is there a danger that courses will be distorted to provide content that suits the mobile phone?

  • This tends to be to the tutors advantage. Benefits came from courses that were outside based courses, so courses changed in a positive way.

How teachers be supported to learn about different types of mobile devices?

  • Workshops within the organization (could be nice to introduce new staff within a Faculty), or attend JISC webinars, etc. Helps provide case studies.
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