Zero to Eight Annotated Infographic: How Much Screen Time Do They Need?

CommonSense Media just put the results of its study around the digital lives of young children, called Zero to Eight. I need time to digest it all, but the results are startling for the rise of devices we are putting into the hands of our smallest citizens and the shifts in the ways kids are using those devices (see the spike in gaming, for instance). I am still not sure if that is good or bad, but I think it clearly is a fundamental shift in the way we introduce screens into the lives of our children.

One question is what this screen time is doing to the brains of us and what role schools have in focusing the use of technology for meaning. This study is not designed to answer that questions (although I suspect there are plenty of studies underway right now). Another question sparked by the findings here remains around access to technology for everyone, and how that lack of access for some of our most neediest students will play out over time around economics and job opportunities, and the role that schools have in providing access.

It’s worth some of your time perusing the report’s findings here at this infographic or over at the CommonSense site, where the full report and the findings are available. I would also suggest viewing the response by CommonSense CEO Jim Steyer, who puts some of the findings in thematic perspective.

I created this annotated infographic in ThingLink, and I invite you to add your thoughts and links, too.


Peace (in the data),

What’s Cool Now Won’t be Cool Tomorrow

I hate to say this but I do remember when all my students (sixth graders) were talking up MySpace as the place to be. Today, it’s Instragram. In between, it was Facebook. Is Twitter next? I don’t even know. But this chart from the Piper Jaffray company’s survey data, as found in a post over at Slate , is certainly an interesting look at the trends of social networking spaces over the last few years.

Where all the kids going next? I suspect that “other” category is where many of my kids would put their video gaming worlds (Minecraft, etc.) as places to connect socially with others.

Peace (in the data),

A MishMash of Story (featuring animated crayons)

Tapestry, which is a neat online and app tool that allows you to create “tap-able” stories, just released a new tool called HieroGlyphy yesterday that me intrigued. You can now embed animated .gifs into the story itself. I adapted a #25wordstory of mine that I posted on Twitter earlier this week and used the new tool to create this story (so, it combines Twitter, animated .gifs and Tapestry — thus, the mishmash). I’m still tinkering with the tool (and note to teachers: the .gifs in the Tapestry library may not be appropriate for kids). I don’t know if you can upload your own .gifs (I don’t think so).

And this morning, after Washington reached their 11th hour agreement, I wrote this one:

Peace (in the mishmash),


From Educator Innovator: Learning Aloud Geekouts

This could be very interesting … a new venture from the Educator Innovator network is offering a series of “unhangout” sessions this fall entitled Learning Aloud Geekouts. It’s looking like they are taking the concept of the “unconference” and moving it online with a new Google Hangout adaption that allows folks to move into different “rooms” for activities. (I helped test the hangout idea over the summer and thought it worked quite well.)

The overview blurb states:

…this series will kick off with a special September 30th “unHangout” event where educators in the maker movement will facilitate large and small group introductions to a range of favorite making topics, including Arduino, Scratch, Wearable Tech, 3D Printing, Minecraft, and more. Then, on Thursday afternoons throughout October, the Geekout series will begin in which a teen host will lead a “make” with three other teens alongside formal and informal educators and mentors. – from

The first event is this Monday (1:30pm PDT / 4:30pm EDT) and the link to get more information and register is here. What’s going to happen? Well, some interesting things. Folks are going to share thinking and making around Scratch, Webmaker tools, Minecraft, Arduino and more.

Here is the list of folks who are leading the sessions so far:

I hope I can make it. I need to check our busy calendar.

Peace (in the making and collaborating),


AF (After Facebook)

Commonsense Media had an interesting item in its newsletter, connecting the downward trend of young people on Facebook and wondering where kids will go. The piece begins by reminding of the rage of MySpace (I do remember) and how teens realized that once their parents were there, it wasn’t the place to be anymore. Commonsense then suggests a list of 11 sites that young people are moving (or may be moving) towards in digital lives “after Facebook.”

Here’s what they have as social spaces and apps where kids are shifting to:

Kik Messenger

So, I know about half of them and other half, I was like … Oovoo? What the heck? Which is the point, right? But we (as parents, as teachers) need to be aware of these possibilities.

Where else do you see your kids/students migrating?

Peace (in the space),


Turn This Thing Up: A Fake Twitter Post

Twitter Twister Spoor Rickenbacker

Here is a potentially fun site. Twister (part of the suite of interesting activities) is a Twitter spoof site, in which you find someone from history and “create” a fake Twitter site and tweet. I did this one for Adolf Rickenbacker, one of the founders of the electric guitar. The Twister site gives you a few boxes for information (username, real name, tweet and date) and then creates a single page that looks like this one.

There is even a bank of exemplars, and I wonder if this might be a nice extensive activity for students doing research on a historical figure. I didn’t think it would so well with fictional characters but then I tried one with Percy Jackson, and it seemed to work just fine.
Percy J Twitter

What’s interesting is coming up with a Twitter username (here, you might teach theme) and what kind of short text/tweet they might send out to the world. It shouldn’t be just random and yet it shouldn’t sound like a historic document either, so you are crafting a page that has personality. That’s an intriguing project for a student, don’t you think?

Peace (in the twist),


Slice of Life: Connecting and Conversations

(Note: This is a Slice of Life post. You can join in with your own slice, too. Head over to Two Writing Teachers to get more information about the writing activity that takes place online every Tuesday.)
MountainMoonTalk 2013

We’ve just started school but we had the pleasure yesterday of connecting our classroom in Western Massachusetts with a class out in Arizona to talk about a book that both classes have read: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. This book was our entire school’s summer read but the students in Arizona are using it as a read-aloud. They’ve done a whole lot more work that we have and they shared out a lot of great ideas about the book, asked questions and considered a few different angles of the rich storyline of a character who heads off on an adventure in China to bring good luck to her village and family.

This is the first time my students have connected with another classroom, and they were pretty focused and jazzed up about it, even though we had some trouble hearing and they had some trouble hearing us. I realize I need to have a better system of students being closer to the computer for sharing — a little chair or something — and because we are at the start of the year, I didn’t feel quite as prepared as I would have liked for my own students sharing.

But my teaching friends in Arizona — Michael Buist (whom I met during our Making Learning Connected MOOC) and Jennifer Nusbaum — were great to work with, and I love extending the classroom beyond our walls, reaching out to make my students feel connected to something larger than themselves. It was a great first step at the start of the year.

Peace (in the discussion),

PS — here is the whole hangout:



Online Animated Gif Creator

(Bart Gets Jiggy with It)
The other day, I wrote about a struggle to create an animated GIF from a video file. Yesterday, another member of #ds106 graciously shared out a website that does the work for you. The site — called GifSoup — allows you to input a YouTube video file, tell it where in the video you want to convert, and then creates the GIF. The site then pops out code and links for sharing, and allows you the option of downloading. The free version is limited (no more than 10 second clips) and comes with a company watermark.
I had some trouble with a few clips last night, where the end result was a smooshed, flattened GIF. But I think it was a glitch that fixed itself, and this morning, the site worked fine for me. Give it a try. The assignment at #ds106 was to find a scene that represented a movie you liked or did not like, and create an animated GIF of it.
This is from the movie, Bird:

And another one for fun from Futurama:

(Bender goes on a Bender)
Peace (in the frame),