Posts tagged with "knowledge"

Digital Divide illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Digitally Disconnected

DIGITALLY DISCONNECTED

13 TIPS FOR HELPING BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE FOR CHILDREN DURING COVID-19

While social, racial, and economic disparities have always existed within the educational system, the COVID-19 pandemic is exasperating these inequities and widening gaps between students at a drastic rate. For families who can’t afford home computers, laptops, or high-speed internet access, remote learning is nearly impossible, and for students who already found themselves struggling before the pandemic, the prospect of more than a year of lost classroom time is a devastating blow. However, there are steps parents can take to shrink this digital divide, and there are resources available via schools, non-profits, and government initiatives that can help children access the technological tools they need to succeed. Indeed, Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, President and Founder of Children and Screens, notes that “the inclusion of 17.2 billion dollars for closing the ‘homework gap’ in the recently passed American Rescue Plan is a watershed moment for digital equity.”   
 
Several of the leading figures in the fields of public health, education, psychology, and parenting have weighed in with their suggestions on the best ways to combat the digital divide, and many will participate in an interdisciplinary conversation and Q&A hosted by Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development on Wednesday, March 24, at 12pm ET via Zoom. Moderated by the Director of Internet and Technology Research at the Pew Research Center Lee Rainie, the panel will engage in an in-depth discussion about the digital divide and actionable steps we can all take to bridge the gap. RSVP here.
 
1. DON’T WAIT, ADVOCATE 

While schools across the country are doing everything they can to make sure that children have access to the technology and connectivity they need for remote learning, the unfortunate reality is that many families still lack adequate resources. If your family is among them, says author and MIT Assistant Professor of Digital Media Justin Reich, know that you’re not alone and that there are steps you can take to advocate for what your children need. “Start with your school staff,” Reich recommends. “They’re often overwhelmed during this challenging time but be polite and persistent. If you run into a dead-end with your school system, consider reaching out to school libraries and youth organizations like The Boys and Girls Club or the YMCA to see what kind of support they might be able to offer.”
 
2. SCALE DOWN 

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Professor Dr. Wayne Journell agrees, pointing out that sometimes, despite their best efforts, teachers and administrators may not always know which students are struggling with connectivity issues. “Let teachers know if you have slow internet at home,” says Journell. “Sometimes detailed graphics and animations that look cute but have little relevance to the actual lessons being delivered can cause problems for students with unreliable internet. If teachers are aware, then they can scale down the ‘frilly’ stuff and still get the important content across.”
 
3. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF  

While it’s important for parents to speak up on behalf of their children, RAND Senior Policy Researcher Julia Kaufman, Ph.D., highlights the importance of encouraging children to express their needs, as well. “If your child does not have access to technology at home and is falling behind, make sure your child’s teacher knows the obstacles they’re facing and ask what accommodations will make it easier for your child to do assignments offline,” says Rand. “At the same time, help your child feel comfortable expressing any technology concerns or confusion to their teachers, including cases where they have the technology but cannot use it well.”
 
4. CHECK YOUR ASSUMPTIONS 

One critical step that educators and policymakers can take in addressing the digital divide is to check their assumptions. They cannot – and should not – assume that students do or do not have access based solely on demographics such as family income level. “In addition, they cannot assume that providing access alone creates equity,” adds Dr. Beth Holland, a Partner at The Learning Accelerator (TLA) and Digital Equity Advisor to the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN). “This is a complex and nuanced challenge that needs both a technical and a human solution to ensure that students not only have access to sufficient high-speed internet and devices but also accessible systems and structures to support their learning.”

5. SURVEY AND MODIFY  

For teachers who are on the ground and in the classroom, checking your assumptions can be as simple as asking a few basic questions at the start of the term. “Survey students to determine the percentage of your population that doesn’t have home Internet access,” recommends former AAP President Dr. Colleen A. Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP. “Once you know the divide, you can address it,” adding, “When planning 1:1 projects and choosing devices, for example, you can consider a device’s capacity for offline use. For those without Wi-Fi, a public library in the child’s neighborhood can also be an excellent resource.”

6. VOTE FOR CHANGE 

That parents and teachers need to worry about the digital divide at all is a failure on the part of our elected leaders, says Bates College Associate Professor of Education Mara Casey Tieken. “Contact your elected officials—local, state, and federal—and complain,” she suggests. “Write letters, call their offices, attend their legislative sessions, and make your voice heard. Join with other families whose children are impacted by this divide to amplify your message and use your vote to support lawmakers who understand the impacts of this divide, have a clear plan to address it and are willing to take action.”
 
7. MAKE BROADBAND A UTILITY  

Reich agrees, reminding those families who already have their needs met that they share in the responsibility to advocate for the less fortunate. “It’s our job as citizens to demand that we as a society give families and children the tools and resources that they need for remote learning now and in the future,” says Reich. “We need to advocate for a society where broadband is treated as a utility rather than a luxury good, and young people enrolled in schools and educational programs have access to computers for learning.”

8. CONCRETE INITIATIVES  

Angela Siefer, Executive Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, advocates four concrete initiatives. “Establish a permanent broadband benefit, increase access to affordable computers, digital literacy and technical support, improve broadband mapping (including residential cost data), and support local and state digital inclusion planning.” By implementing these changes, Siefer says, policymakers can start to mitigate the digital divide. 

9. USE TECH FOR GOOD 

There are many reasons to consider equitable solutions along a “digital continuum” rather than the “digital divide;” a binary description leaves less room for nuanced and customized interventions. It may be imperative to fortify existing institutions, implement new governance structures and promulgate policies to confront disparities regarding working families. Antwuan Wallace, Managing Director at National Innovation Service, suggests that legislators consider a Safety and Thriving framework to increase family efficacy to support children with protective factors against the “homework gap” by utilizing technology to train critical skills for executive functioning, including planning, working memory, and prioritization. 
 
10. LEVEL THE FIELD 

Emma Garcia of the Economic Policy Institute emphasizes that guided technology education will be of great value after the pandemic. She says, “it will need be instituted as part of a very broad agenda that uses well-designed diagnostic tests to know where children are and what they need (in terms of knowledge, socioemotional development, and wellbeing), ensures the right number of highly credentialed professionals to teach and support students, and offers an array of targeted investments that will address the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on children’s learning and development, especially for those who were most hit by the pandemic.”
 
11. APPLY FOR LIFELINE 

Research also shows that the digital divide disproportionately affects Latino, Black, and Native American students, with the expensive price of internet access serving as one of the main obstacles to families in these communities. “Eligible parents can apply for the Lifeline Program, which is a federal program that can reduce their monthly phone and internet cost,” suggests Greenlining Institute fellow Gissela Moya. “Parents can also ask their child’s school to support them by providing hotspots and computer devices to ensure their child has the tools they need to succeed.”
 
12. GET INVOLVED 

Learning remotely can be difficult for kids, even if they have access to all the technological tools they need. Research shows that parental encouragement is also an important aspect of learning for children, notes London School of Economics professor and author Sonia Livingstone. “Perhaps sit with them, and gently explain what’s required or work it out together.” She adds that working together is a great way that parents with fewer economic or digital resources can support their children. “And if you don’t know much about computers, your child can probably teach you something too!”
 
13. NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL 

When it comes to encouraging your children, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. “Reflect on the more nuanced ways your children learn and leverage accessible resources (digital and non-digital) to inspire their continued curiosity,” says University of Redlands Assistant Professor Nicol Howard. Leaning into your child’s strengths and interests will help them make the most of this challenging time.
 
While the move to remote learning may seem like an insurmountable obstacle for families that can’t afford reliable internet or dedicated devices for their kids, there are a variety of ways that parents can help connect their children with the tools they need. For those privileged enough to already have access to the necessary physical resources, it’s important to remember that emotional support is also an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to children’s educational success, especially during days as challenging as these. Lastly, it falls on all of us to use our time, energy, and voices to work towards a more just world where the educational playing field is level and all children have the same opportunity to thrive and succeed, regardless of their social, racial, or financial background.
 
About Children and Screens
Since its inception in 2013, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, has become one of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing and supporting interdisciplinary scientific research, enhancing human capital in the field, informing and educating the public, and advocating for sound public policy for child health and wellness. For more information, visit Children and Screens website or contact by email here.
 
The views and opinions that are expressed in this article belong to the experts to whom they are attributed, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, or its staff. 

earth illustration for use by 360 Magazine

LEARNING + TRAVEL: THE SECRETS TO LONG LIFE?

New Survey Reveals Belief that Travel Plus a Passion for Learning are Key

We’ve all heard the theories that exercise, healthy diet and challenging mind games can help a person live longer with greater mental acuity, but it seems that travel (particularly travel with an educational focus) should be added to that list as well. Road Scholar, the nation’s non-profit leader in educational travel for Boomers and beyond, conducted an online national survey of more than 1,000 men and women, age 55 and older, and found that an overwhelming 85 percent of them believe travel actually can help extend their life. As for the main reason for travel, 43 percent said they travel to learn about other cultures and places. In fact, 26 percent described themselves as lifelong learners. In addition, a full 74 percent of respondents said travel was “important” or “very important” as a way to maintain mental acuity. Road Scholar was built on the belief that learning is the key to a longer and more fulfilled life, and a large number of their survey respondents seem to agree.

“We hear over and over how important learning, coupled with a travel component, is in the lives of Road Scholar participants, but it was fascinating to discover that so many of the people surveyed view travel and learning as synergistic, and the best way to learn about the world,” stated Road Scholar’s President and CEO, Jim Moses. “Road Scholar has always focused on learning, and our educational adventures combine the best of both education and travel.”

Of course, the findings also reflect a shift in current thinking about the role of learning in our lives, particularly as we age, noted Moses. “The concept of learning as an age-based activity for children and young adults is being replaced by a philosophy of the benefits of lifelong learning – an approach to learning that is not just school-based, but experiential, social and intellectual and continuing throughout the course of a person’s life. For many, travel is an ideal way to continue learning new things no matter their age,” he said.

“I definitely think that travel enhances and may contribute to longer life,” said Debbie S., a 65-year-old avid traveler who divides her time between Arlington TX and Presque Isle, WI. “It keeps your brain working. It’s also been proven that if you have passions that you tend to live longer.”

Maxine T., a 73-year-old woman from Walnut Creek, CA, agrees in the power of travel, saying “Each trip leaves us hungry for the next adventure so, I guess we’ll have to live a very long time. There sure is a lot of world to see!”

In addition to longevity, the survey asked respondents to list all the ways they keep their brains active and engaged and gave them a list of methods that included reading/book club, crossword puzzles, continuing education classes, travel, museum visits and attending lectures.

Travel was cited more frequently than any other category, by 69 percent of respondents. Reading and book clubs were a close second at 66 percent, followed by crossword puzzles at 49 percent and museum visits at 42 percent.  Continuing education and attending lectures were checked by 36 percent and 31 percent, respectively.

About Road Scholar

Road Scholar is the nation’s largest not-for-profit educational travel organization for adults – a true university of the world. It offers 5,500 programs in 150 countries and 50 states and financial aid for those who otherwise could not participate in its programs. Road Scholar educational adventures are created by Elderhostel, the world leader in educational travel since 1975. Learn more at roadscholar.org

Survey Methodology Details

This survey was conducted by Survata, an independent research firm in San Francisco. Survata interviewed 1000 online respondents between April 22, 2019 and April 28, 2019. Respondents were reached across the Survata publisher network, where they take a survey to unlock premium content, like articles and ebooks. Respondents received no cash compensation for their participation. More information on Survata’s methodology can be found at survata.com/methodology.

Top Global Teachers × Redesign Curricula 

Employers complain that graduates are not ready for work. Stanford University studies indicate students are overloaded and under-prepared. So exactly what should we teach young people in an age where Dr. Google has an answer for everything; humans are living longer; the traditional professions disappear while new ones are created; international mobility is drastically increasing population diversity; terrorism, environmental threats and inequality need our collective attention; and robots and gene editing are coming, requiring us to re-examine the very core of what it means to be human?

The Global Teacher Bloggers are pioneers and innovators in fields such as technology integration, mathematics coaching, special needs education, science instruction, and gender equity. C.M. Rubin Founder of CMRubinWorld asked them to reflect on these questions: Do you believe curriculum needs to be more relevant for a 21st century world? If you had the power to change the school curriculum, what would you change?

“We need to develop a generation of critical thinkers, collaborators, communicators, environmentalists and ethical IT users,” writes Rashmi Kathuria in India. “The content of the news in the last few months, and indeed years, provides clear and loud evidence for the fact that our education system is failing,” notes Miriam Mason-Sesay, who believes “division, hatred and bigoted fearfulness are fostered seemingly unchallenged, and our education system has not prepared our youngsters to evaluate the veracity of so many claims.” Craig Kemp in Singapore wants “more emphasis on lifelong learning skills than on curriculum content,” and Elisa Guerra Cruz’s curriculum would be focused on “passion projects, aimed at gaining knowledge and abilities, but also at discovering whatever fires a student’s heart,” 

Read the full article here

The Global Teacher Bloggers have founded schools, written curricula, and led classrooms in 16 different countries that stretch across every populated continent on earth. CMRubinWorld’s Top Global Teachers are: Rashmi Kathuria, Jim Tuscano, Craig Kemp, Jasper Rijpma, Elisa Guerra, Pauline Hawkins, Maarit Rossi, Vicki Davis, Miriam Mason-Sesay, Shaelynn Fransworth, Carl Hooker, Adam Steiner, Warren Sparrow, Nadia Lopez, Richard Wells, Joe Fatheree, Kazuya Takahashi, and Abeer Qunaibi

CMRubinWorld launched in 2010 to explore what kind of education would prepare students to succeed in a rapidly changing globalized world. Its award-winning series, The Global Search for Education, is a highly regarded trailblazer in the renaissance of 21st century education, and occupies a widely respected place in the pulse of key issues facing every nation and the collective future of all children. It connects today’s top thought leaders with a diverse global audience of parents, students and educators. Its highly readable platform allows for discourse concerning our highest ideals and the sustainable solutions we must engineer to achieve them. C. M. Rubin has produced hundreds of interviews and articles discussing an extensive array of topics under a singular vision: when it comes to the world of children, there is always more work to be done.

For more information on CMRubinWorld

HIP HOP + HEALTH

SMART RHYMES

VeganSmart uses music to entertain and educate on benefits of a Vegan lifestyle

In the Hip-Hop industry “beefs” among industry heavy weights are quite common and usually addressed in the studio with a diss track. The brand that has successfully built a bridge between hip-hop and health, VeganSmart, is addressing their “beef” with…well…beef and other factors that lead to diet related illness such as diabetes, hyper tension and heart disease with in a new track titled “Wise Words.”

The single features John Lewis, better known as The Bad Ass Vegan, who drops his dope rhymes, combined with his knowledge, on living a plant-based lifestyle. Lyrics such as “No, it’s not your fault/there’s education out that nobody taught from the time you were born. They got you ready for GMO pork, as a kid when they introduced you to a spork. Man, they’ll put anything together because they know you’ll eat anything they tell ya,” are used not to shame or judge, but encourage people to pay attention to what they are putting in their bodies. Hip-Hop influencers Styles P, DJ Envy, Angela Yee, Lil Cease and even Moby make appearances in the video that accompanies the track.

VeganSmart is focused on addressing nutrition-related chronic diseases in underserved communities through education and by offering plant-based solutions to satisfy hunger and improve overall health. Their efforts to spread this message have been successful thanks to a partnership with rapper Styles P and his chain of Juices for Life juice bars. The team has also garnered support in bringing health education to underserved communities from Kappa Alpha Psi® Fraternity Inc.

Link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCaeNxES_pE
“Wise Words” is available for purchase on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Music.

Claude Tellis and Kareem Cook, VeganSmart co-founders and college friends, have always sought to educate and provide consumers with healthy food choices that would prevent them from diet related illness and poor health. They were responsible for having the state of California ban junk food from vending machines in every Los Angeles public high school and middle school. While banning junk foods in schools across LA is a tremendous accomplishment the men were unsatisfied. They wanted a larger platform to help Americans prevent common illnesses that plague the United States. Both Kareem and Claude’s families and many Americans across the country suffer from hypertension and diabetes, diseases that can be prevented or managed primarily based on diet. This passion lead them to launch of VeganSmart, a line of all-in-one, nutritional shakes. Co-developed with Health and Wellness Expert and Partner, John Lewis, the brand continues to motivate other health and wellness advocates.

With no artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, preservatives, dairy, eggs, gluten or soy, VeganSmart shakes go beyond classic flavors like chocolate and vanilla, with delicious varieties including Wild Berries, Chai, and their newest line, Love is Love that includes flavors like Cookies N’ Cream and Chocolate Raspberry.