Education, News

Media literacy in Massachusetts

mmlMASS Media Literacy (MLL) is doing great work in the media literacy field. Check out their website to see what they’ve been up to.

 

Their website says:

Our mission is to ensure that all Massachusetts students are taught the critical thinking skills needed to engage with media as active and informed participants in the 21st century.

Our vision: through education, research, advocacy and networking, we bring comprehensive Media Literacy education to Massachusetts’ schools and communities.

Learn more about them at their website http://www.massmedialiteracy.org.

Advertising, News, Technology

It’s surprisingly easy for anyone to buy ads that track location and app usage, study says

app usageResearchers at the University of Washington have found a way to track a person’s location and app use through serving ads on mobile apps. The result opens the door for significant privacy invasions through the app-based advertising system.

The researchers obtained the information by purchasing a series of ads targeted to specific locations and apps, then checking which mobile subscribers fit the targeting. In experiments conducted on Android devices, the team was able to pinpoint a person’s location within eight meters through a targeted ad. They tested ads on 10 different apps, including Grindr, Imgur, Words with Friends, and Talkatone, all using widely available ad networks.

By serving ad content to a user’s apps, the ad buyers could learn what apps the user has installed. That information could be sensitive, revealing a user’s sexual orientation or religious affiliation. For instance, ads served on Grindr will tell the ad buyer that the user has Grindr installed.

Read more at The Verge.

Image courtesy of The Verge.

News, Politics, Technology

Success! Mattel announced that they were canceling the release of Aristotle

From Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood:

On October 4, Mattel announced that they were canceling the release of Aristotle. Thank you to the thousands of parents, caregivers, and experts who spoke out in support of kids’ privacy and well-being! We commend Mattel for doing the right thing and putting kids first. 

From The New York Times:

Mattel announced on Wednesday that it was canceling plans to bring to market a smart device called Aristotle, which was aimed at children from infancy to adolescence and was set to hit stores in 2018. The decision came after child advocacy groups, lawmakers and parents raised concerns about the impact the artificial intelligence device could have had on children’s privacy, development and well-being.

A petition asking Mattel not to release Aristotle, started in May by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Story of Stuff Project, garnered more than 15,000 signatures and argued that babies and older children shouldn’t be encouraged to form bonds with data-collecting devices.

Read more at The New York Times.

News, Resources, Technology

Great educator activity: Video mash-ups with Google Slides

Mash-Ups are a fun and popular way to express creativity whether you are combining different styles of music, or art, or memes, or such. Mash-ups can also be educational when the creator uses the two items to explain or express an idea, or for one of the items to complement or expand on the other.

One fun way to students to try this out is by using Google Slides to mash-up videos. Google Slides makes it easy to insert videos from either YouTube or Google Drive. Slides allows you to adjust your video options so that your videos automatically play when the slideshow runs. The end results is a presentation with two videos that play at the same time.

This could be used in several creative projects such as:

  • Adding music or popular songs to famous historical speeches, or science videos, or scenes from story.
  • Or having one video explain a concept, while the other shows examples or demonstrations of that idea.
  • Or the videos could be used to show contrast, by playing two videos that demonstrate different processes or ideas or time periods or such.

See below for directions on how students can do this activity, along with a free template they can copy and use, as well as an example mash-up to show what a final product might look like.

Read more at Control Alt Achieve.

Advertising, News, Technology

Oprah’s head, Ann-Margaret’s body: A brief history of pre-Photoshop fakery

Aug1989-OprahIn 1989, TV Guide put television’s celebrity-du-jour, Oprah Winfrey, on its cover, perching her upon a pile of money. The picture was exactly the kind of thing that tends to sell magazines on newsstands and in supermarket check-out lines: It was friendly, it was saucy, it was sparkly. The only problem was that it wasn’t, actually, Oprah. TV Guide had taken a picture of the talk show host’s face … and grafted it onto the body of ’60s star Ann-Margaret. The magazine had asked the permission of neither woman before it published its odd bit of Frankensteinery.

Photoshop was invented in 1987 and widely distributed, for the first time, in 1990; the TV Guide debacle would mark one of the last times that art editors had to physically splice images to create new manipulations. But a lack of Photoshop, while the software ushered in our present age of doctored photography, did nothing to stop would-be fakers from their, er, fauxtography.

Read more at The Atlantic.

Image courtesy of The Atlantic.

News, Social Media, Technology

AOL says farewell to AIM, its popular instant messenger service, after 20 years

1006-aim-coming-to-an-end-aol-instant-messenger-twitter-4AOL has posted their final away message in what could be considered the end of an era.

The tech company announced Friday it would be discontinuing its pioneering Instant Messenger chat platform after 20 years of service.

AOL’s website posted the statement saying AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) would be shutting down on Dec. 15. AOL said it was ending the service to better focus on “building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products.”

After Dec. 15., AIM users won’t be able to sign into their accounts.

The statement also paid homage to its success in the late 1990s, including being referenced in HBO’s “Sex and the City” and the 1998 film, “You’ve Got Mail.”

Read more at Fox News.

Image courtesy of Fox News.

Education, News, Places

Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2017, Oct 25 – Nov 1

UNESCO is hosting its sixth annual Global Media and Information Literacy Week October 25 through November 1. Activities and the feature conference are important opportunities for stakeholders globally to celebrate the progress achieved towards the process of “MIL for all”. Global MIL Week also enables connections and sharing of creative projects, the latest research, new ideas, and information across countries and stakeholders involved in MIL, and in print, screen-based and digital media.

The Global MIL Week 2017 highlights include local and regional activities around the world as well as its feature event, namely the Seventh Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue (MILID) Conference. The feature conference will be hosted by the University of the West Indies, and will take place from 24 to 27 October, 2017 in Kingston, Jamaica.

Learn more at the UNESCO MIL website.

Image courtesy of UNESCO.

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Education, News, Resources

Invitation to free Symposium and Training on Online Student Safety, Nov. 2 at ESD 105 in Yakima, WA

Educational Service District 105, in Yakima, WA, will be hosting a free symposium and training on online student safety. It will also feature national cyber safety partners including Common Sense Media and Gaggle.

The Symposium on Student Safety, a free symposium for school and district administrators, cabinet members and other educators responsible for student online safety, will deal with bullying, harassment, suicide, child pornography and violence and other online issues.

The event is Thursday, November 2 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch will be provided. Seats are limited so register soon.

To register for the event, click here.

For more information about the symposium visit www.studentsafetysymposium.com.

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Education, Fake News, News

Fake news, fake data

Some people have called 2016 the year of fake news. False articles with gripping headlines about everything from the demise of Taco Bell to Hillary Clinton’s selling weapons to ISIS took social media by storm. Millions of people clicked, read, and shared these stories that had no basis in fact.

But it’s not just the articles that can be false. Many fake news sites use bad data or misleading graphs. Even mainstream media outlets are guilty of creating graphs that exaggerate or understate results. Bad graphs and inaccurate data can cause readers to draw the wrong conclusions.

These invented stories supported by bad data are part of a new trend. Fake news websites—many with official-sounding names and professional-looking designs—are multiplying. Experts warn that fake news sites are weakening the public’s ability to distinguish between fact and fiction.

Read more at Scholastic.

Image courtesy of Scholastic.

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Fake News, News, Places

Fake news fills information void in Las Vegas shooting

As law enforcement and news organizations raced to piece together what happened during the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history Sunday night in Las Vegas, web denizens less wedded to the truth rushed in to provide details of their own—which quickly went viral.

Links to the 4chan website that falsely identified the shooter and called him a leftist and Democratic supporter were showing up on the top of Google search results, according to tweets by Buzzfeed News reporter Ryan Broderick.

Read more at Ad Age.

Image courtesy of Ad Age.

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Education, News, Places

Google extends digital literacy training to teachers

Digital citizenship has stepped into the forefront of a modern-day education. Experts indicate that as schools roll out tech, they also need to be rolling out digital citizenship education.

Tech giant Google heeded that call and partnered with experts to launch Be Internet Awesome, an interactive campaign that educates students on how best to act on the internet.

One part of this Google campaign is Interland, a game that has students travel an imaginary world where they need to fight hackers, phishers, oversharers and bullies with digital citizenship skills. While game-based learning can be effective, educators also need to be armed with skills to teach their students to be citizens of the web.

This month, Google extended its Be Internet Awesome program to include a free online training course to help educators establish foundational skills needed to teach their students to have a safe and positive experience online.

Read more at Ed Tech.

 

News, Social Media

My week without Instagram

gram logoInstagram was my go-to app. It was the first thing I checked in the morning, and the last thing I scrolled through before bed. When I opened my phone, I immediately opened Instagram. It was my “compulsion loop,” as Bill Davidow writes in “Exploiting the Neuroscience of Internet Addiction.” And I wanted to quit—or at least change these behaviors.

I’m a high school teacher, and recently, as part of a media literacy unit specifically geared toward examining our use of (addiction to) social media, I asked my 75 sophomores to give up their self-defined most-used app. For my students, this meant primarily giving up Snapchat or YouTube; for me, it meant I had to delete Instagram.

Read more at The Huffington Post.

Education, News

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 medialiteracyweek@namle.net.

Read more at NAMLE.

Image courtesy of NAMLE.

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News

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 https://bubble.school/ 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.

News

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.

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News

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.

News

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.

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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.
Advertising, 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.

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News

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.

Entertainment, Health, News, Technology

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.

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Advertising, News, Technology

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.

Entertainment, News

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.

News, Places, Technology

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.

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