US Media Literacy Week will be held November 6 – 10, 2017

Media Literacy Week is designed to bring attention and visibility to media literacy education in the United States. Inspired by Canada’s Media Literacy Week now in its 11th year, the National Association for Media Literacy Education is leading the efforts to create a media literacy week in the United States to showcase the work of amazing media literacy educators and organizations around the country. The mission of Media Literacy Week is to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education today.

Whether you are an individual teacher, an employee at an organization, or a researcher, you can get involved with Media Literacy Week. Between October 31st and November 4th, plan your own Media Literacy Event for your community. It’s up to you to decide what you want to organize, but if you need help planning, feel free to reach out to

Read more at NAMLE.

Image courtesy of NAMLE.


5 social media tips for parents and teachers

5_tips_imageIt’s challenging for parents and teachers to keep up to date with the ever changing world of social media. Inspired by the Children’s Commissoner #Digital5ADay campaign we’ve come up with some easy to follow tips to help…

1. Stick to the legal age limit

Most social media platforms have a legal age limit of 13+. To keep up to date, the NSPCC has a great website called NetAware. You type in the name of the social media platform you are interested in and it will tell you the legal age and details about their service.

So what is the problem with your child being on social media before they are 13 (the legal age limit for most social media)? There are various safety reasons, and it’s also worth thinking about what they will see if they lie?

Consider this…. if an 8 year old child signs up to a social media account, when they’re 13 they will be seeing content and advertising that is for an 18-year-old. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

An alternative safer social media platform such as is a good option for younger children.

2. Keep up to date and stay involved

Social media isn’t going away any time soon! We appreciate that there are still some people who aren’t on social media, but what if your child wants to be?

If you don’t know how social media works, how can you support your children? One parent said she was unaware of the direct messaging functionality on Instagram. So she was missing how her child was communicating with her friends.

Snapchat’s Snapmaps caused concerns for parents, so knowing how to set it to “Ghost Mode” is essential. Many social media platforms have Geolocation functionality. You may want to consider turning this off as well.

Follow this link to set Snapchat to Ghost Mode.

We think knowledge is power, our resources empower parents, teachers and children. They help them to understand the digital world around them. Follow our Facebook page where we share the most up to date content on the changes to social media. We can also answer any questions you might have via our page or by email.

Read more at MediaSmart.

Image courtesy of MediaSmart.

The 100 greatest props in movie history, and the stories behind them

They’re found on dusty warehouse shelves; buried under flea market knick-knacks; Googled, Ebayed, begged for; commissioned from blacksmiths, painters, and model makers for one-time use; and constructed out of whatever $5 can buy at the local craft store. They are sketched out, improvised, or placed in scenes by the fate of logic, existing to serve the performances or action around them. But while iconic movie props make us laugh, gasp, scream, and/or sit in absolute silence, they rarely start iconic; as a property master will tell you, the best on-screen objects go unnoticed, silently winning you over with truth.

Well, call us obsessives, but we couldn’t help but notice. At a time in history when details go painfully overlooked, we slid movie history under a microscope to honor the simple joy of a perfect prop. And knowing every design choice big or small has an origin story, a past that ensured the movie around it would stick around for the future, we tracked down the stories of how they were made, from the people who made them.

Read more at Thrillist.

Image courtesy of Thrillist.


The blind gamer playing ‘Street Fighter 5’ at a pro level

svenSven van Wege, known online as @BlindwarriorSven, went blind at age six.

Still, he’s been playing Street Fighter V at a professional level for the past year. He’s already won games at tournaments in Spain, Italy, and Germany. Though he hasn’t made it past the group phase in any of them, his level of playing is comparable to that of a gamer who can see.

Sven has a big dream: He wants to make a living playing games. To compete in new tournaments, he’s started a crowdfunding campaign. In three months time, he raised almost 440€. It’s enough for a few plane tickets, but not enough for this weekend’s biggest tournament for fighter games: EVO 2017, where 2,600 people will compete and the winner will take home $50,000.

Read more at Motherboard.

Image courtesy of Motherboard.

School librarians teach CRAAP to fight fake news

Read any fake news lately? School librarians have. And now they are teaching students CRAAP to help them evaluate and verify news content to ferret out the false from the real.

CRAAP, an acronym that stands for Currency (timeliness), Relevance (importance), Authority (source), Accuracy (reliability) and Purpose (reason) helps students sort through the overwhelming flood of digital information.

“These are the questions we have to introduce these ideas to kids before they think they know everything,” said Shannon Walters, Burlington High School librarian.

Read more at USA Today.

Image courtesy of USA Today.

fake news

Shannon Walters, Burlington High School librarian, teaches kids how to question what they see on the internet. The end goal: helping them identify fake news.

Is Peppa Pig a bigger threat than ISIS video? Brand-safety crisis exposes a relevance problem

Isis videos may be in the rearview mirror for some advertisers, but what about Peppa Pig?

Brand safety worries have subsided for marketers who’ve moved back to YouTube despite the lack of ironclad guarantees that their ads will never again appear with terrorist or hate videos. But the controversy has exposed a relevance problem that might be even harder to address — with ads showing up on children’s videos, for example, when kids aren’t brands’ target.

A spring of discontent
Big advertisers that have come back to Google’s YouTube after boycotting over horrible ad adjacencies include Johnson & Johnson and Nestle. Executives of some returning companies said they were more worried about getting tarred by the surrounding news coverage, which has subsided, than consumers seeing the unwelcome placements on their own.

Other major players including Walmart and Procter & Gamble continue to avoid YouTube, meanwhile, pending stronger promises that their ads won’t appear with questionable content. (Walmart confirmed that it was still out; P&G declined to comment.)

Read more at Ad Age.

Image courtesy of Ad Age.


Play the literal Trump card: Fake news is now a card game, and a business

license 2 playLicense 2 Play, a wholesale toys distributor, mostly sells kids’ toys. Products like “Beanie Boo’s” and “Betty Spaghetti” cover its site, and it works with brands like Tangled and Play-Doh. But the company recently took a gamble on a new sort of product, a card game called: “Fake News/Real News: The game of Fake News and Alternative Facts,” and so far, it’s been a winning bet, with an ultimately charming product and the potential for follow-up editions.

The rules are simple. Each player gets a turn to read a from a set of quotes that have been uttered by President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Ben Carson, Sean Spicer or Mike Pence. The twist: the quote might also be deceptive “fake news.” Each player guesses who they think said the quote, or if it’s fake news, and if they’re right, win a point. The person who reaches 11 points first wins.

Read more at Forbes.

Image courtesy of Forbes.

Prescription video games may be the future of medicine

“Brain-training” games have been a controversial topic in recent years, especially after a group of scientists and researchers published an open letter in 2014 saying there is “very little evidence” that training your brain in one area or on one task offers improvement in other areas of cognitive function. Shortly afterward, another group of scientists wrote a rebuttal to that, claiming that a “substantial and growing body of evidence shows that certain cognitive-training regimens can significantly improve cognitive function, including in ways that generalize to everyday life.”

Which is what makes the efforts of a company called Akili — along with the University of California, San Fransisco’s Neuroscape lab — so interesting. Akili is a Boston-based tech company that has used Neuroscape’s core technology to develop a mobile game called Project: EVO. The goal is make Project: EVO so powerful, that it could potentially help treat children with ADHD — as a prescription-based video game.

Read more at The Verge.

Image courtesy of The Verge.



Roombas have been busy mapping our homes, and now that data could be up for sale

roombaOver the past couple of years, Roombas haven’t just been picking up dust and chauffeuring cats around, they’ve also been mapping the layout of your home. Now, Colin Angle, the chief executive of Roomba maker iRobot, has said he wants to sell the data from these maps in order to improve the future of smart home technology.

In 2015, iRobot introduced the Roomba 980, its first Wi-Fi-connected model. This meant that while a Roomba was quietly whirring around your floors, it was also collecting spatial data using visual localization, sensors, and more. This data helps the Roomba figure out how your home is laid out and adjust cleaning patterns on-the-fly to deal with things like moved furniture. But Angle thinks it could be put to use by more devices.

“There’s an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared,” Angle told Reuters. Angle says that this data won’t be sold without permission, but Reuters says he thinks “most would give their consent in order to access the smart home functions.”

Read more at The Verge.

Image courtesy of The Verge.

Amazon Prime is on pace to become more popular than cable TV

amazon jeff

Someday soon, more U.S. households will be subscribers of Amazon Prime than cable or satellite TV, according to recent estimates of Amazon’s popular shipping and entertainment service.

According to estimates from Morningstar, nearly 79 million U.S. households now have an Amazon Prime membership*, up from around 66 million at the end of last year.

That compares to a projected 90 million U.S. households that will pay for cable or satellite TV this year, according to S&P Global.

According to these estimates, more U.S. households may have an Amazon Prime subscription than a pay TV subscription as soon as next year.

The implication here is not that Amazon’s Prime Video service is more popular than TV; the main reason most people subscribe to Amazon Prime is still the fast delivery of products.

But it is an indication that Prime is moving toward becoming a “no-brainer” for more than just wealthy Americans.

Read more at Recode.

Image courtesy of Recode.

Tracey the robot helps passengers through Sea-Tac Airport security

A robot named Tracey is greeting passengers at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, providing tips to get them smoothly through security checkpoints.

The red-and-white human-sized robot carries a large electronic sign and can speak to passengers in six different languages.

Airport officials say the robot isn’t designed to replace human workers, but to allow them to spend more time on critical security work.

Tracey was created by Advanced Robot Solutions. CEO Paul McManus says it is a demonstration model, but future versions could recognize when a traveler is wearing sunglasses or a hat and ask them to take it off before the security checkpoint.

The robot is temporarily on duty at the Seattle airport as it hosts a meeting of airport executives from around the country.

Article courtesy of KOMO News.

Image courtesy of KOMO News.


Wisconsin company to implant microchips in employees

A Wisconsin company is about to become the first in the U.S. to offer microchip implants to its employees.

Yes, you read that right. Microchip implants.

“It’s the next thing that’s inevitably going to happen, and we want to be a part of it,” Three Square Market Chief Executive Officer Todd Westby said.

The company designs software for break room markets that are commonly found in office complexes.

Just as people are able to purchase items at the market using phones, Westby wants to do the same thing using a microchip implanted inside a person’s hand.

Read more at KSTP News.


Google just launched ‘Be Internet Awesome’ to help raise responsible netizens

lessonplan_mockupWith fake news and scams proliferating the internet, Google took it upon themselves to raise a responsible generation of netizens.

Enter “Be Internet Awesome.” It’s an initiative that aims to teach kids the fundamentals of “digital citizenship by involving their parents and teachers as well as a truckload of fun.

Basically, it aims to help children figure out what’s real from fake news, for instance; how to spot out a scam, the basics of privacy and security, and so on.

Check out “The Internet Code of Awesome”

  • Be Internet Smart encourages thoughtful sharing. It tells them when to share what and with whom.
  • Be Internet Alert aims to teach children to think critically. It tells them how not to fall for fake—fake news, fake friends, included!
  • Be internet Strong is where personal privacy and security are highlighted.
  • Be internet kind tells them they can always take the high road, that bullying is definitely uncool, and that the golden rule is golden for a reason.
  • Be Internet Brave is where kids are reminded of the fact that they have parents and teachers. When something bugs them, it’s safe to talk to these adults!

Apart from the program, ‘Be Internet Awesome’ also has an online game — but of course!

Read more at GMA News Online.

Image courtesy of Google.

JAXA lets us get a glimpse of the Space Station through its Internal Ball Camera

If you’ve ever wondered about what it’s like to be inside the International Space Station through the lens of, say, a drone, look no further.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has released images and video from its JEM Internal Ball Camera, known as “Int-Ball,” — a camera drone that can record images and video while moving in space — and the new footage gives us earth-dwellers a sneak peek of the happenings on the space laboratory.

The device itself is a tiny little ball (that looks like a Star Wars character, tbh) that can move autonomously in space, and take photos and video under remote control by the JAXA Tsukaba Space Center.

Read more at Mashable.

Image courtesy of Mashable.


It’s so cute!

Deadline approaching to submit films for Fresh Film Northwest

maxresdefault.jpg2Fresh Film Northwest is a juried survey of work by up-and-coming teen filmmakers living in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and British Columbia, hosted by the Northwest Film Center.

Now in its 41st year, the Festival recognizes individual talent, showcases model examples of how film arts can be taught in schools, and engages all of us in helping to build the Northwest regional youth media community of 13- to 19-year-olds.

Each year, a jury of media professionals and community advocates select a group of films to be shown in November on the big screen at the Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, located inside of the Portland Art Museum. Selections and Honorable Mentions will also be presented at select tour stops in the Pacific Northwest as part of the Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival Best of Tour, and available to view online on our Vimeo channel. Most recently, films from the 2016 Best of Tour screened at the Diva Art Center (Drain, OR) and the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts (Langley, WA).

The 2017 festival takes place on Saturday, November 4th from 11am to 1pm in the Whitsell Auditorium, located in the lower level of the Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave. The event is free and open to the public.

Teachers and Organizers: Would you like a Fresh Film Northwest poster to display in your classroom, school, or facility? Email our Education Programs Manager Mia Ferm ( with your mailing address and any questions.

Teen filmmakers: If you’re a teen filmmaker residing in the Pacific Northwest and want to submit your work, visit the Fresh Film Northwest submission page.

The deadline to submit is Friday, August 18th, 2017.

Submit your film today!

To test your fake news judgment, play this game

Fake news has been on Maggie Farley’s mind further back than 2016 when President Trump brought the term into the vernacular.

Farley, a veteran journalist, says we’ve had fake news forever and that “people have always been trying to manipulate information for their own ends,” but she calls what we’re seeing now “Fake news with a capital F.” In other words, extreme in its ambition for financial gain or political power.

“Before, the biggest concern was, ‘Are people being confused by opinion; are people being tricked by spin?’ ” Now, Farley says, the stakes are much higher.

So one day she says an idea came to her: build a game to test users’ ability to detect fake news from real.

Voilà, Factitious. Give it a shot. (And take it from us, it’s not as easy as you might think!)

Read more at NPR.

Image courtesy of NPR.

Nest founder: “I wake up in cold sweats thinking, what did we bring to the world?”

fadellTony Fadell’s wife likes to remind him when their three children’s eyes are glued to their screens that it’s at least partly his fault.

Hard to argue. Fadell, who founded the smart thermostat company Nest in 2010 and who was instrumental in the creation of both the iPod and later the iPhone as a senior vice president at Apple, has done more to shape digital technology than many of his peers. But in a recent conversation at the Design Museum in London, Fadell spoke with a mix of pride and regret about his role in mobile technology’s rise to omnipresence.

“I wake up in cold sweats every so often thinking, what did we bring to the world?” he says. “Did we really bring a nuclear bomb with information that can–like we see with fake news–blow up people’s brains and reprogram them? Or did we bring light to people who never had information, who can now be empowered?”

Read more at Fast Co. Design.

Image courtesy of Fast Co. Design.

Why you will one day have a chip in your brain

Bryan JohnsonImplanting a microchip inside the brain to augment its mental powers has long been a science fiction trope. Now, the brain computer interface is suddenly the hot new thing in tech. This spring, Elon Musk started a new company, Neuralink, to do it. Facebook, at its F8 developer’s conference, showed a video of an ALS patient typing with her brain. But earlier to the game was Bryan Johnson, an entrepreneur who in 2013 made a bundle by selling his company, Braintree, to Paypal for $800 million. Last year, he used $100 million of that to start Kernel, a company that is exploring how to build and implant chips into the skulls of those with some form of neurological disease and dysfunction, to reprogram their neural networks to restore some of their lost abilities.

But helping to restore a damaged brain is only an entry point for Kernel. Johnson, a 39-year-old from Utah, is looking forward—with almost unseemly enthusiasm—to the day that healthy people can get neural augmentation. He has emerged as one of the most eloquent evangelists of reinventing the human brain. Needless to say, this effort raises lots of questions—the very questions I raised to him in a conversation recently. (It’s been edited for clarity and brevity.) Will his answers make you sign up for a brain computer interface? (Warning: it’s kind of invasive, but Johnson hopes that we might figure out how to do it without major noggin demolition.) Read it and make your own decision—albeit with your obsolete, unmodified brain.

Read more in Wired.

Image courtesy of Wired.

Twitter may introduce feature to let users flag ‘fake news’

Twitter is considering a feature that would let users flag tweets that are false or inaccurate, in an attempt to combat the spread of disinformation on the platform.

The new feature, reported by the Washington Post, would allow Twitter users to report a post as misleading, in the same way they can currently report individual tweets as spam, or abusive or harmful.

The move would follow Facebook, which introduced a way for users to report “fake news” in December last year. That tool allows US users of the site to report “purposefully fake or deceitful news” to the site’s moderators. In the UK, however, the same option only allows users to block or message the poster, offering no way to bring the posts to the attention of the administrators.

Read more at The Guardian.

Image courtesy of The Guardian.

Google partners with ISTE and others to create digital citizenship game

With a growing number of digital tools entering the classroom, it is now more important than ever to make sure kids know how to navigate the internet. This is likely why two of the biggest champions of ed tech — Google and ISTE — have teamed up to create a new way to teach digital citizenship.

Be Internet Awesome, a program developed in concert with the Family Online Safety Institute, the Internet Keep Safe Coalition and ConnectSafely, educates kids about digital citizenship in interactive ways, including an online game.

“To help kids learn these lessons in a way that’s fun and immersive, we created an interactive, online game called ‘Interland‘,” writes Google’s Vice President of Engineering for Kids and Families Pavni Diwanji in a blog post. “In this imaginary world of four lands, kids combat hackers, phishers, oversharers and bullies, practicing skills they need to be good digital citizens.”

Read more at Ed Tech Magazine.

Video courtesy of Ed Tech Magazine.

Can a MediaWise campaign help kids see through the advertising world?

Saying that your eight-year-old knows more about technology than you do is one of those humblebrags that’s rarely true – but it at least reflects the reality that children are growing up in a media-saturated world. And while they have no cash, they have something nearly as valuable – pester power – which is why they’ve been in the crosshairs of marketing budgets for decades.

The Irish Heart Foundation pulls no punches in its current “Stop Junk Brands Targeting Kids” campaign, saying that brands “use underhand and unregulated marketing tactics. Their influence has spread into children’s homes, digital devices and even their schools.”

It urges visitors to its site – where cleverly engaging content explains how advertisers sell to children – to sign a petition. The campaign, set against a backdrop of one-in-four Irish children being overweight or obese, is hoping to get 30,000 sign-ups to back its call for Government intervention to protect children’s health through strict controls on digital marketing.

“It is really worrying that seven- to 16-year-olds are spending about three hours a day online, vulnerable to slick marketing that’s pushing foods and drinks that are causing obesity,” said the Irish Heart Foundation’s head of advocacy Chris Macey.

Read more at The Irish Times.

Image courtesy of The Irish Times.

China’s Tencent to limit play time of top-grossing game for children

Tencent Holdings, China’s biggest gaming and social media firm by revenue, said it will limit play time for some young users of “Honour of Kings”, responding to complaints that children were getting addicted to the popular mobile game.

Parents and teachers have complained that children were becoming addicted to the multiplayer online battle game, which, according to the company, has more than 200 million users, mostly in China, and is the top-grossing mobile game in the world.

From Tuesday, users below 12 years of age will be limited to one hour of play time each day, while those aged between 12 years and 18 years will be limited to two hours a day, Tencent said. Tencent did not say whether the limits will be imposed only in China or elsewhere too.

The firm also plans to ban users under 12 years from logging in after 9 p.m. (1300 GMT) and will impose further restrictions on how much money younger users spend on the game, it added.

Read more at Reuters.

Image courtesy of Reuters.

Sony will start making vinyl records again in Japan, after a nearly 30-year hiatus

Sony Music is preparing to make its own vinyl records again in Japan, in another sign that albums are back from the brink of being obsolete. The company says it’s installing record-cutting equipment and enlisting the help of older engineers who know how to reproduce the best sound.

Vinyl sales have seen a resurgence since around 2008. And while records are still a small part of the market, the fact that in 2016, “a format nearly a century old generated 3.6 percent of total global revenues is remarkable,” as NPR’s Andrew Flanagan has reported.

Years of double-digit growth in record sales have left vinyl press plants in the U.S., Japan and elsewhere struggling to meet demand. Sony’s plan reportedly includes the possibility that it will press records on contract.

Read more at NPR.

Image courtesy of NPR.

Full transcript: Defense Secretary James Mattis’ interview with The Islander

In a great show of initiative and student journalism, a local high school newspaper, The Islander, published by Mercer Island High School, managed to get an interview with the U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Read the full feature below:

After obtaining his contact information through its accidental exposure by the Washington Post, The MIHS Islander contacted Secretary of Defense James Mattis for an interview. Two companion pieces to this article, a description and reflection on the experience of getting and conducting the interview as well as a feature on the connection between education and radicalization according to Mattis, have been published online.

Mattis is a retired four-star Marine Corps general who additionally spent time as the NATO Supreme Allied Commander of Transformation and commander of the United States Central Command responsible for operations in the Middle East, Northeast Africa, and Central Asia, from 2010 to 2013.

TEDDY: What subject areas do you think students should be studying in high school and beyond to better prepare themselves to be politically active and aware adults?

MATTIS: Actually, I’ve thought a lot about that question. I would tell you that no matter what you’re going to go into, whether it be business or politics or international relations or domestic politics, I don’t think you can go wrong if you maintain an avid interest in history. The reason I say that is you’ll find that really, there’s nothing new under the sun, other than some of the technology we use.

The human condition, the aspirations, the dreams, the problems that are associated with being social animals, not being a hermit and living alone, but having to interact with others, whether it be your local school district, your community, your state, your county, your national, your international relations, history will show you not all the answers, but it’ll tell you a lot of the questions to ask and furthermore, it will show you how other people have dealt successfully or unsuccessfully with similar type issues. I wish now looking back on it, if I’d known what waited for me in life, I would have put a lot more attention into history.

Read more at The Islander.

Image courtesy of The Islander.


They built the first phone you loved. Where in the world is Nokia now?

Nokia has arguably been in the communications technology business for a century and a half. “Arguably” because, for that to be true, one needs to consider the company’s original product, paper pulp, a communications technology. Also, one has to know that Nokia Corp. is still in business.

To those who think nostalgically of mobile phones when they hear Nokia, that may not be obvious. For 14 years the tech giant reigned as the world’s biggest handset maker and, while it was at it, a primary engine of Finland’s economy. The company’s fall, however, was swift. In 2012 it lost $4 billion. In 2013 it agreed to sell off its phone business, which employed 32,000, to Microsoft Corp. “It’s evident Nokia doesn’t have the resources to fund the required acceleration across mobile phones and smart devices,” said the company’s chairman, Risto Siilasmaa, in announcing the sale.

But while Nokia has gotten smaller, it remains a big company, with net sales of $26.1 billion last year. It’s a very different company, though, than it was in the heyday of its simple, durable, adorably chunky phones. By and large, it no longer makes things consumers can buy. Today, its familiar all-caps logo is mostly found on network processors, routers, base station radio access units, and other components of the largely invisible infrastructure that undergirds the mobile internet.

Read more at Bloomberg Businessweek.

Image courtesy of Bloomberg Businessweek.