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Learning in a Digital World 

What does learning about the digital world look like in your class?  In your school?

Why does it matter?

This past week, there have been many articles shared that advocate for, and explain the reasons behind, taking time to rethink the importance of how we prepare our students for the digital world.

In many jurisdictions, student mental health and well-being is a priority.  But do we have a clear understanding of the connections between life online and mental health?  And what is the plan to ensure our children lead healthy lives in times when they meet friends online more than in person?

From the Atlantic article, "Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?" we read statements like "Social-networking sites like Facebook promise to connect us to friends. But the portrait of iGen teens emerging from the data is one of a lonely, dislocated generation. Teens who visit social-networking sites every day but see their friends in person less frequently are the most likely to agree with the statements “A lot of times I feel lonely,” “I often feel left out of things,” and “I often wish I had more good friends.” Teens’ feelings of loneliness spiked in 2013 and have remained high since."  Correlations between rising rates of depression and screen time are shared in the article.

So why don't we just tell kids to get off their phones?  

Actually, we do, all the time, but it's much more complex than that.  Tech companies use manipulative tricks to hold our attention and keep us on our phone. This has been well-documented by Tristan Harris in his TED talk, released this week, and in his interview with Wired Magazine.  I've added a summary and further resources here.

But it isn't just social media.  AI and automation are transforming our economy, and women are most at risk of displacement.

Coding lessons once a year might make us feel better, but there is so much more to be done in this rapidly changing economy.  Understanding Digital Life Skills needs to be a priority for our children and educators.

Resource of Note - This week, Pasi Sahlberg shared a link to the Alberta Teachers' Association Magazine that is full of quality content around assessment.  Check it out here.  

Focus on Twitter: Who Should I Follow?

Twitter Account of the Week:
Full of back-to-school tips, resources for parents, teachers and students, ONTSpecialNeeds
is a very useful account to follow on Twitter.

Education Bloggers generously share their professional practice openly with others so that we can all learn from their reflections, creating a rich source of learning.

What blogs are you reading regularly?

Educational Blog of the Week:

Deb Donsky on Medium
August is often when education leaders get back into talking about how the school improvement process will roll out this year. Deb introduces wonderful thinking into the process by honouring community and valuing storytelling over "just data". Read it here
Videos tell stories that help us reimagine what's possible.

Recommended Video:
I have a friend who is deeply worried that the school system in its present form, filters out genius, and the next Einstein will never reach his or her potential. Since real genius is so rare, and we have so many 

It reminds me of the story of  Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui, the "Genetic Genius" who isolated and identified the gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis. His life story is a series of coincidences that allowed him to bypass the school filters that were holding him back because he couldn't write tests.

But perhaps we do have a young genius physicist who will change our understanding of science.  

Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski: Her story here.

Learning Podcasts
Educators are producing wonderful audio content that you can access 24/7 for professional learning.

This week, consider VoicEd Internet Radio. - created by Stephen Hurley, is 24/7 live and on demand.  Conversations from around the world can be heard live, or by podcast.  Explore the site to see what might interest you. 

Ksenia Makagonova

CC-BY-NC-SA-4.0 2017 Learning About Learning, Some rights reserved.

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