The fall is a great time of year to try out new tools and routines to improve our effectivenss. This is no different for our children/students. My next series of posts will be dedicated making your ( and your child's) life easier using some of my favorite tools.
The Google Docs suite is with out a doubt is probably one of the most used tools in my digital toolbox. There have been several great commercials lately demonstrating the sharing capability of Google docs. Two important highlights of Google Docs are that is cloud based, and that you can share any document with anyone or make it public Basically you have all your documents if you have an internet connection, and because the documents can be shared, group work and teacher feedback is a breeze.
As a teacher I have used Google docs in my Computer and English classes with great success. I had my students have a Gmail account as part of their supplies for the beginning of the school year. Once a Gmail account is established the user has access to email, Docs, Spreadsheets (think Excel), Presentations (think PowerPoint) and Calendar among a suite of other applications.
No longer is there the issue of printer problems or Word not working correctly with Google Docs kids can simply share a document with their teachers. Some of my students became so adept at Google Docs that they were using their phones to do their homework and write essays. Commenting and editing is easy for the teacher, plus Google also automatically saves each document so there is no losing work.
Best of all, it is free. There are many Google Docs tutorials on youtube and it is very easy to learn. As always feel free to contact me with any questions.
A crucial point I hope to pass on in my blog is that all teens (and adults at times) will make impulsive decisions that can impact the rest of their lives. Digital media and the Internet further compound this problem by indelibly branding mistakes on the Internet, which can later compromise reputations, college admissions, job possibilities and drive some to suicide.
There are endless stories available on the Web where a Facebook post, tweet or picture has caused the demise of jobs, friendships or even lives. All of this usually occurs without the teen’s parents being aware of any issues.
The same can be said for the parents of teens that are purely victims of bad online behavior. Jessie Logan was an eighteen year old girl with a bright future. She committed suicide after a sexted picture of her made its way through her high school and then college. Her mother found out about the picture after it began circulating, and because Jesse was eighteen and not a minor, there was little that could be done legally.
Ryan Halligan was a thirteen year old boy who, unbeknownst to his parents, was being severely bullied online and in person. Ryan was set up to be mocked online by a girl he liked, and as a result, killed himself. Megan Meier and Phoebe Prince are also victims of what has been dubbed “bullycide”.
The common thread in all of these instances is the parents were unaware of their child’s online activities. There are many tools available to parents today that can aid in what I call “digital parenting.” These tools help parents stay one step ahead of their children, in spite of their children’s best efforts to hide their activities. For example, 32 percent of teens clear the browser history to hide what they do online from their parents. (Harris Interactive-McAfee, 2008)
What can you do?
Invest in monitoring software: www.Bsecure.com
There is now software available that will allow parents to see all of their children’s activity online and on their phone. One piece of software that I would like to recommend to my readers is Bsecure Online (6.1). Bsecure has been highly reviewed by industry media# and I believe it is the most comprehensive service for concerned parents.
Bsecure will monitor all computers (PC and Mac) , phones and other mobile devices. Bsecure notifies parents of your their child’s social media interactions, content of downloads, sets time limits for mobile devices (automatic shut off at bedtime), and filters content on home and mobile browsers.
This is truly one-stop shopping for the digital parent. There is far more than I am mentioning in this post.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with questions.
I am a technology leader, professional developer, teacher, parent and proud owner of an IEP. Let's talk about some fabulous learning experiences.