Buckingham senior aims to make teens more socially aware – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

So many societal ills are swirling and teens don’t know how to deal or where to turn.

Which is why a Buckingham Charter Magnet High School senior created a safe place to land — her Social Awareness Club at the school.

“I was looking around my school and there were all these clubs, but nothing about what’s happening in the world, in the media, about how women are being treated or how men are being treated,” the 17-year-old said. “The point of my club is to talk about issues.”

Now 20-people strong, a diverse group of 10 young men and 10 young women, the group gets together to talk about all manner of issues facing them in the world today and to fully discuss their feelings in a safe, non-judgmental environment.

Source: Buckingham senior aims to make teens more socially aware

Teen Creates App So Bullied Kids Never Have To Eat Alone : The Salt : NPR

By NPR Staff

You’re at a cafeteria, you’ve got your lunch … and then you just don’t know where to sit. You don’t want to sit alone, but you also don’t know who would be friendly and let you sit with them. Sixteen-year-old Natalie Hampton has been there. She’s an 11th-grader from Sherman Oaks, Calif., and the creator of a new app called Sit With Us.

Hampton recently spoke about the app with All Things Considered host Audie Cornish. A transcript of their conversation follows, edited for clarity.

Source: Teen Creates App So Bullied Kids Never Have To Eat Alone : The Salt : NPR

Schools Taking Various Approaches to Pokemon Go – Education News

By Corwin Mollett

Schools are attempting to find ways to keep the wildly popular mobile app Pokemon Go out of their classrooms. In the new technological age it was already difficult to keep students off their phones and focused on the class, but Pokemon Go has added a new level of distraction for the students.

As Joe Mullins writes for ars Technica UK, France’s education minister is asking Niantic to keep rare Pokemon out of schools. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, education minister of France, is worried that rare Pokemon in schools would be potentially distracting to students.

While France is trying to discourage the game within its schools, some have decided to try and use it to engage with students more. One teacher, in particular, plans to make writing assignments involving the new hit game:

Marissa Grodnick, an English teacher, said “Any time something becomes a big pop culture sensation, as a teacher I     try to just kind of ride the coattails.”

Source: Schools Taking Various Approaches to Pokemon Go

Cultural Literacy in the Age of the Hashtag – Education Next

By Robert Pondiscio

Last month, on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision in Fisher v. University of Texas, the hashtag ‪#‎BeckyWithTheBadGrades began trending on Twitter. If you’re not sure what that phrase means or why it was so hotly discussed on social media, don’t despair. You’re not poorly educated, misinformed, or illiterate. But you’re probably missing a bit of cultural knowledge common among young people, particularly young people of color. The clever hashtag offers a lesson in the value of cultural literacy—often a touchy subject in education—but with a nifty twist: This time, it’s our students who got a cultural reference that left many adults scratching their heads.

Source: Cultural Literacy in the Age of the Hashtag – Education Next : Education Next

County high schoolers learn ABCs of solar energy and careers – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An education program manager for a San Jose-based solar company said the Solar Energy Academy this week at Solano Community College is an opportunity for schools and businesses to collaborate to bring a work-based learning environment that high school students “can’t get in a classroom.”

Renee Solari — who smiled when noting her surname, coincidentally, means “sun” in Italian — said the students, some 40 mostly sophomores to seniors from Solano County school districts, including several from Vacaville Unified, are learning “21st-century skills” at the academy, co-sponsored by her firm, SunPower and the Northern California Career Pathways, a six-county consortium of school districts, community colleges and the Workforce Development Board.

Source: County high schoolers learn ABCs of solar energy and careers

Harnessing the Power of YouTube in the Classroom | Edutopia

By Monica Burns

There are amazing ways to elevate and energize instruction through using technology tools. One resource that’s popular with students of all ages — from the youngest to the oldest — is the video hosting website YouTube. YouTube lets anyone with a free account upload videos. Many organizations post collections of videos on this site, which is organized into channels. In addition to locating content, teachers can create their own YouTube channels to share videos and showcase student work.

YouTube is so much more than music videos and clips of animals doing tricks. It contains engaging, informative content at all levels. This video hosting site gives teachers the opportunity to take students around the world, listen to experts on a topic, or hear an explanation for a new idea. One of the reasons why people of all ages are using YouTube is because it’s a powerful tool for teaching and learning.

Source: Harnessing the Power of YouTube in the Classroom | Edutopia

Rodriguez High gamers roll out role-playing video game – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

With more pride than fanfare, Rodriguez High School students in a video game design class last week rolled out their collaborative, year-end project, “Cosa Nostra.”

At the end of a low-key press conference Thursday, Mike Sagan, in his fourth year as a video game design teacher at the Red Top Road school in Fairfield, said 15 of his students — seven developers, four researchers and four graphic designers — spent four months to create the fully functional, role-playing video game.

“They were crunched on time,” he said in the school library, adding that the students had to design, test and market the game before delivering their final product to him and his colleagues, Jesse Castro and Melissa Vallejo.

“It is ready to market,” said Sagan, a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, adding, “But we’re not going to sell it.”

Source: Rodriguez High gamers roll out role-playing video game

Youth Summit to discuss stereotypes, gender roles and the media – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

A group of Vacaville teens are in the midst of a revolution and they’re hoping to recruit other youths to the cause.

The goal — youth empowerment.

The method — the 2016 Operation Representation Youth Summit, bearing the theme “Stereotypes, Gender Roles & the Media and How it Affects You.”

The event, set for 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. April 30 at Ulatis Cultural Center in Vacaville, is all about bringing awareness to issues facing youths and how to deal with them.


via:  The Reporter

What Special Ed Teachers and Parents Need To Know About Social Media : NPR Ed

By Byrd Pinkerton

“Discuss, monitor, and educate.”

That’s Kortney Peagram’s advice to parents and teachers who want to help special needs teens lead an online life. She wrote up some of her experiences as a psychologist working to reduce cyberbullying in Chicago for our friends at NPR’s All Tech Considered.

Students can definitely benefit from social media, Peagram says. For kids who can’t be touched, or who can’t look people in the eye, digital networks are a chance to share pictures and interests, and an opportunity to have a social life.

But the internet can be a dangerous place, especially for kids who may struggle with communication.

Source: What Special Ed Teachers and Parents Need To Know About Social Media : NPR Ed : NPR

‘Mystery Skyping’ Connecting Classrooms Worldwide – Education News

By Ina Krasteva

When current adults attended primary school, it was unthinkable to communicate with a peer from New Zealand during a geography class — Skype, Facebook, and Google Hangouts were yet to be developed. But now thanks to Mystery Skype, an entire class can participate in a call with another class virtually anywhere in the world.

The video conversations are a critical thinking challenge aimed at broadening students’ knowledge of geography, world history and cultures. The goal of Mystery Skype is to guess the other’s school location by asking different questions. Invented by teachers, it is suitable for all age groups.

As Katrina Keene of eSchoolNews writes, Mystery Skyping is an innovative, fun way to knock down the walls of the traditional K-12 classroom and bring new experiences to both students and teachers.

Source: ‘Mystery Skyping’ Connecting Classrooms Worldwide

How Has Google Affected The Way Students Learn? | MindShift

By Zhai Yun Tan

Take a look at this question: How do modern novels represent the characteristics of humanity?

If you were tasked with answering it, what would your first step be? Would you scribble down your thoughts — or would you Google it?

Terry Heick, a former English teacher in Kentucky, had a surprising revelation when his eighth- and ninth-grade students quickly turned to Google.

“What they would do is they would start Googling the question, ‘How does a novel represent humanity?’ ” Heick says. “That was a real eye-opener to me.”

via How Has Google Affected The Way Students Learn? | MindShift | KQED News.

Study Suggests That Anti-Bullying Legislation Pays Off – Education News

By Kristin DeCarr

A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that certain state laws have aided in the reduction of bullying and cyber-bullying among teenagers.

A 2013 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saw around 20% of high school students report being the victim of bullying while on school grounds within the last 12 months. In a separate question, 15% of those surveyed said they had been cyberbullied within the past year.

Over the past 10 years, many states have implemented prevention policies as a result of an increase in public awareness concerning the health effects of childhood bullying, including anxiety, depression, feelings of isolation, substance abuse, and suicide attempts, reports Ashley Welch for CBS News.

via Study Suggests That Anti-Bullying Legislation Pays Off.

YouTube Tweaks Kids App for Safer, Easier Experience – Education News

By Polymnia Hadjipanayiotou

YouTube has released new updates for its Kids App that offer better parental control of the video content children watch online, as well including video streaming via Apple TV, Chromecast and gaming consoles.

The Google service had come under fire after watchdog organizations revealed that inappropriate content could be reached by children using the app.

When first launched, the YouTube Kids App was warmly welcomed by parents who appreciated content tailored to the younger audience. The Kids App offers curated, children-friendly, educational and entertaining content that families found useful.

However, parent complaints and criticism from consumer watchdog organizations revealed that inappropriate content was slipping through the filters and reaching children, with content including alcohol use, drug, sex and violence.

via YouTube Tweaks Kids App for Safer, Easier Experience.

Making the Case for Social Media in Schools | Edutopia

By Jim Asher

“Do you have a Twitter account? Do you use Instagram?” I ask those questions of all teacher applicants at Jackson P. Burley Middle School, and Im surprised by how many people answer, “No.” Or, “Well, I set up an account a while ago, but I dont really use it.”

I dont expect every person to be a tech expert with every type of social media. I doubt, for example, that most regular users of Microsoft Word know how many features that program actually has. However, social media is integrated throughout my school. I want all of the teachers at my school to know at least the basics of social media — ideally, theyre more than proficient.

When I started at Burley four years ago, the school had a Twitter account for informational purposes, and few teachers had accounts. I then opened an Instagram account for the school and went “paperless” for school and administrative communications. I started a Blackboard account for faculty and staff, and began using that for weekly communications, faculty meetings, staff professional development, and more.

via Making the Case for Social Media in Schools | Edutopia.

Survey: Social Media Offers Valuable Support for Parents – Education News

By Grace Smith

A survey published by the Pew Research Center discovered that parents have smaller Facebook friends networks, but a higher percentage of them were “actual” friends than among non-parents. Of the parents involved in the survey, 75% use social media, which is higher than the 66% of adults in general who use social networking sites, reports Elizabeth Weise of USA Today.

“Mothers are particularly likely to use social media as a place where they both give and receive support, said Maeve Duggan, co-author on the report. “”In terms of the social support, this is sort of a new approach for parents.”

In the past, parents had a community of neighbors, friends, and family. Now, according to the survey, 45% of moms said they “strongly agreed” that they get support from social media, and 22% of dads say the same.Dads do use social media, but they are less likely to ask parenting questions, research parenting information, and receive emotional support. Most parents agreed that this practice is just an extension of everyday life.

via Survey: Social Media Offers Valuable Support for Parents.

Social Media Can Be Your Ally | Edutopia

By Nicholas Provenzano

There are still many questions about the role of social media in the classroom. Some teachers and administrators are concerned about how or if educators should be interacting with students outside of the traditional classroom. I was hesitant when it came to social media and my students, but I learned how certain tools could help expand the learning outside of my classroom. For me, social media is about alternative ways to communicate. There are so many great tools that allow us to connect. Here are some that Ive used as a teacher for connecting with my students when the school day is done.


Remind is a great tool that allows teachers to connect to students through their mobile device. Teachers create a group on Remind that students join with their phone number. The teacher can send text messages to groups of students without anyone having access to anyone elses numbers. Its one-way communication, not a potentially annoying group text message.

via Social Media Can Be Your Ally | Edutopia.

Social Media at School: Teaching Safety on the Virtual Playground | Edutopia

By Mary Beth Hertz

These days, social media gets a pretty bad rap. It seems like every other day there is a celebrity apology or a story about a teen who commits suicide due to cyberbullying. It’s true, social media can breed some pretty awful stuff. And that awful stuff is great material for the digital citizenship unit that all of my school’s incoming freshmen are expected to complete.

Acceptable Use

Our school is unique in Philadelphia in that it’s one of the few public schools with a 1:1 program that allows students to take devices home. We give our students access to the world, and with that access comes a lot of responsibility. As such, it’s vital that, from the beginning, we prepare students to use caution and be thoughtful when using their laptops.

via Social Media at School: Teaching Safety on the Virtual Playground | Edutopia.

Using Multimedia Technology for Teaching Social and Life Skills | Edutopia

By Maurice Elias

Take a good story, make it into an illustrated book, develop a curriculum, shoot videos of kids in action, add a website, create an app, ground it all in rigorous research and this may be the formula for the next wave of social and life-skills-related instruction.

The story is inspired by the situation faced by so many children who lead lives of considerable physical and psychological challenge and trauma but persist and become resilient finding greatness in their lives. In the book that anchors this program, Born for Greatness: Me, You, and the Dalai Lama, By Bouncy the People Trainer, readers are introduced at the end to Bonnie St. John, a woman who overcame abuse and physical handicap to learn to ski, attend college, win a Paralympics medal, and meet the Dalai Lama.

via Using Multimedia Technology for Teaching Social and Life Skills | Edutopia.

Beyond Twitter and Google+: Staying Focused on Real Connection | Edutopia

By Andrew Marcinek

One of my favorite movie trilogies of all time is Back to the Future. (Sorry, Edutopia, Star Wars is a close second.) However, rather than elaborating on why one is better than the other, I’m going to single out one scene. It happens in the Back to the Future sequel and shows a confused Marty McFly walking around an alternate Hill Valley in which Biff Tannen rules everything, and nothing is quite the way it should be. This scene reminds me a lot of how I currently feel about Twitter and education.

The Good Ol’ Days

I have been using Twitter since 2007, thanks to the suggestion of Springfield Township High School librarian, Joyce Valenza. This medium has connected me to so many great educators and people whom I now consider great friends. It has helped me through down times in my career and allowed me to share the proud moments. I’ve participated in many “chats” driven by hashtags and even crowdsourced comments about my grandmother’s hand-painted Easter egg a few years ago. She couldn’t believe that anyone would care or comment on such a thing, but was genuinely awestruck by all the attention.

via Beyond Twitter and Google+: Staying Focused on Real Connection | Edutopia.

What Do Schools Risk By Going ‘Full Google’? | MindShift

By: Anya Kamenetz

Kaitlin Morgan says, this year, her school district is going “full Google.”

Morgan teaches U.S. and world history and advises the yearbook at Woodlake Union High School in California’s Central Valley. At Woodlake, “full Google” means a plan to have one Google Chromebook for every two students by the spring, running Google Apps.

The Chromebook is a relatively cheap, stripped-down laptop. It’s become popular in the education world, with 85 percent of its U.S. sales last year going to the ed market.

And the Chromebook is just the beginning. Already, Google Apps for Education claims 30 million active users around the world. The free, Web-based software works on any device and allows teachers and students to use Gmail with their own .edu address.

It’s the beginning of what Google calls the “paperless classroom” — moving assignments, class discussions, feedback, tests and quizzes online.

via What Do Schools Risk By Going ‘Full Google’? | MindShift.