I remember the first time I used a computer. I was working as the Development Director at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC and it was the mid-eighties. I was writing grant proposals on my beloved yellow pads, and the grants were getting funded. That was, after all, what I had been hired to do. Write proposals and get them funded. So when the VP to whom I reported equipped the office with computers and said he wanted me to use one in my writing, I declined. I told him that I wrote best using a yellow pad. He told me again that he wanted me to try using the computer. Again, I declined. Finally, he explained that he was my boss and he wanted me to use the computer, and, finally, I got it. So I tried, and after a week or so, I couldn't imagine writing any other way. Bye, bye yellow pad.
Well, my computer skills have never been that great, and I am still very nervous about using technology. So, when the Kindle was introduced, I had absolutely no interest in replacing my beloved books with such a thing. In fact, I have only touched one a time or two--it's rather like the tabloid newspapers in the checkout line at the grocery store. I feel OK about reading the headlines while I am waiting, but I never pick one up. It feels like something unpleasant will happen if I do. I know--weird.
So, when my husband asked if I would like a Kindle (or one of its relations) for a holiday gift, I declined. "I must touch a book and turn its pages," I explained. And I knew that many people felt that way--including my kid sister, Susan. (Doesn't matter how old we get, she will still be my kid sister.) She and I share a love of reading, and often are reading the same book at the same time without realizing it. Or she will have just finished one as I start it, and we can share some great conversations about our favorite fictional characters. So, imagine how shocked I was when she told me yesterday that she asked for a Kindle for Christmas. "It will never be the same," I thought. She then started to explain how long the wait is to get books for the Kindle from her library. Apparently, there are an awful lot of people using these things, and she is becoming one of them. Now, I'm wondering....
Kids are so tech-savvy that it is awesome. They seem to find using technology as easy as breathing. One of the things that this level of sophistication can bring, though, is vulnerability to people who don't have the kids' best interests at heart. In response to that challenge, NEA HIN has been offering a wonderful website for parents and educators in order to help them keep kids safer on line. The site is called bNetSavvy and I do commend it to your attention. If you have afew minutes over the holidays, please check it out. I think you will be glad you did.
So, that's it for now. Once again, happy holidays to all. And I'll let you know if I ever change my mind about the Kindle.
Since its inception, bNetS@vvy has been helping tweens better understand the risks and benefits associated with the Internet and educating guardians and educators regarding the power of Internet use. Now bNetS@vvy is proud to announce their new and improved website. This new website features Internet safety articles, access to become a guest blogger, and an “Ask the Expert” section.
Schools and educators need to know how to keep kids smart and safe when they are online. bNetS@vvy is a one-stop shop that offers tools exploring the issues that confront families and educators around topics like cyberbullying, sexting, consumer privacy, and social networking. Because it is written by experts, educators, parents, and kids the information on bNetS@vvy provides multiple perspectives on very important issues.
bNetS@vvy is a program run through NEA HIN and Sprint’s 4NetSafety program. Program Coordinator Jamila Boddie has been working with NEA HIN and its members for over five years, with the last two years focusing solely on online safety. Jamila has experience with the issue of Internet safety from a parental point of view and through her encounters and trainings with educators, parents, and students about the ways they view and use the Internet. Jamila believes that “communication is essential to ensure safe and smart Internet behaviors.”
Get involved with Internet safety in your community, ask questions, share your story, tell us what you think of the new website and above all don’t stop the conversation around Internet safety!
June is Internet Safety Month and in many places, the beginning of summer vacation. For us here at NEA HIN that means a renewed focus on helping kids be safe and smart online. That can be a challenge. I became a parent in the days before the Internet, but my children are digital natives. They have grown up with access to an online world that I could not have imagined 27 years ago. This world allows them and us to reach out to people all over the world. I have used it to build friendships with people five time-zones away.
But this world has its risks and part of our job as educators and parents it to help our children build the skills they need to be successful adults. This includes understanding and following the common sense safety tips that all of us should follow on the Internet, whether we get there by means of a desktop computer or the latest smart phone or tablet.
Over at our BNetS@vvy.org website, Summertime in Cyberspace, provides important tips for helping your child be safe this summer. My top tip is know what your child is doing and where she or he is going online. Have a happy summer.
In partnership with the Be A STAR Anti-bullying Campaign, the National Education Association Health Information Network is proud to introduce a new complimentary teaching resources for educators. The compelling new film, That's What I Am, touches on the problem of bullying in schools and communities. Staring Academy Award-nominated actor Ed Harris, the film presents a moving and thought provoking exploration of the ways that bullying can impact people of all ages. It also shows the courage of students and educators in the face of bullying.
The instructional activities presented in this resource guide help teach middle school students about bullying and cyberbullying, the pillars of good character, and social equality. Through self-reflection about the positive examples of moral character represented in the movie, students can begin to develop the skills and tools to prevent bullying, to not be a bystander. The program features:
- Free downloadable clips from That's What I Am for classroom use
- Free Educational Resource Guide with film synopsis, classroom lessons, and resource section
- Nine cross-references learning themes with instructions activities and student activity sheets
- That's What I Am reflective journal
- Suggested inter-disciplinary anti-bullying framework
- Tied to national education standards in Language Arts, Social Studies, and Health
- Suggested for grades 6-8
To access the Educational Resource Guide visit Be a STAR. To take a stand against bullying visit the NEA's campaign, Bully Free: It Starts With Me. More resource on cyberbullying and digital safety can be found at bNet@vvy.org