Tablets, babies and reading — Oh my!: Does video signal end of printed material?

The one-year-old reader in the video embedded below appears to show a baby who can’t understand why a print magazine doesn’t have all the digital functionality of an iPad app. (Via How a Modern Baby Thinks About Reading — GalleyCat)


While I am an advocate for the importance of understanding how new technologies, such as the iPad, may affect or enhance learning among “digital natives” like this baby, I’m not as convinced this video signals the end of printed material as the video’s creator seems to be:

“Technology codes our minds, changes our OS. Apple products have done this extensively. The video shows how magazines are now useless and impossible to understand, for digital natives. It shows real life clip of a 1-year old, growing among touch screens and print. And how the latter becomes irrelevant. Medium is message. Humble tribute to Steve Jobs, by the most important person : a baby.” (From the video’s YouTube description.)

I do believe touch-screen technology is instinctive for babies, and I do believe a baby is going to think a device with things moving on a bright screen is a lot more fun to play with than looking at static images on a page. I’m not convinced this baby has yet drawn any lasting conclusions about reading. She’s making the same touching, grasping motions on the magazine pages that babies everywhere have made for generations when exploring the world around them — those very motions are what make touch screen devices so instinctive and rewarding for babies.

I don’t think magazines or books are impossible to understand for young children as the video’s author claims … but they may become so if parents don’t take the time to teach their children about the differences in mediums and the importance of reading.



Fun Friday: Senior citizens go online

A recent viral video has been causing a bit of commotion around the Internet for its simplicity: Two senior citizens are trying to figure out how to use their new laptop’s webcam. Little do they know, they’ve already figured it out!

I personally like this video for two reasons:

1) It shows people interacting with technology!


2) It shows that even though people of “advanced age” might have some trouble with new technology, they still know how to have some fun!

Debate: Social media and 9/11

I’m certainly not the only one who has mulled over the idea of social media and 9/11. Chicago Magazine blogger Whet Moser has taken on Washington Post publisher Katherine Weymouth, who wrote of being grateful that we did not have social media technology on that day 10 years ago. She is quoted: “Can you imagine how horrifying it would have been if we had tweets from the victims on the planes or in the offices, or if they had posted to their Facebook pages?” Moser disagrees, saying such technology may have aided in communication amid the chaos, and/or contributed to the historical record. You can read his entire post here.

Granted, all this debate is neither here nor there, because the fact remains that social media as we know it today did not exist 10 years ago. There’s probably no concrete way to prove this hypothesis, but still I wonder if in some subconscious way that feeling of helplessness on that September day led to developments in social media, as a way to stay connected. What do you think? Would social media have developed anyway/at the same time? Or did times of crisis such as 9/11 spur it on?

More takes on issues surrounding social media, news coverage and 9/11:

9/11 on 24/7: Youth, social media and the modern news cycle, Annie Hammock for the Journal & Courier (Lafayette, Ind.)

“The dilemma for news organizations is where to find the fine line between the graphic and the gratuitous, the essential and the egregious. And they must ask if it matters when social media and citizen journalism are constantly shifting that line. The pictures so carefully filtered on 9/11 can now easily be found on the Internet. Images of the experience are so ubiquitous, it is perhaps understandable that young adults lack any perception of the attacks as something remarkable in the history of terrorism or the practice of journalism.”

9/11 in a social media world: How the times have changed, Peter Stringer for (Boston)

“Social media’s real-time sharing is a different story altogether. Messages are much shorter and carry far less detail, but they circulate with blinding speed. Still, as soon as you can share something on Facebook, your missive is bumped down the News Feed by something else. So what would your News Feed have looked like on 9/11? Presumably, it would be overwhelmed with posts of mourning, sadness, horror and anger. People who rarely post would likely feel compelled to suddenly weigh in, caught up in the heat of the moment. But how much phone or in-person contact would you actually have with your friends and family in the aftermath?”

How 9/11 changed social media, Rabbi Jason Miller shares a letter from Meetup founder Scott Heiferman for The Jewish Week (New York)

“A lot of people were thinking that maybe 9/11 could bring people together in a lasting way. So the idea for Meetup was born: Could we use the internet to get off the internet — and grow local communities?”

September 12: The 9/12 Project, Barbara Bresnahan and Tim Jensen for the Enfield (Conn.) Patch

“Few things remind us to stop and think so profoundly as the anniversary of 9/11. … It has been said that on the day after, 9/12, Americans stood together as one, like never before, putting aside their political ideas, skin colors and religious views. In an effort to keep that feeling of togetherness alive, The 9/12 Project was formed. … Promoted as a volunteer-based, non-partisan movement, the group’s aim is focused on building and uniting communities back to the place we were on 9/12/2001.”


10 great media resources for educators

In today’s world of rapidly evolving gadgets and changing media, for it’s easy for educators — tasked with equipping the next generation with the skills they’ll need to succeed as adults — to feel daunted by the prospect of keeping up with technology. Here are 10 great resources for teachers with help for everything from staying informed to crafting lesson plans.

1. eSchoolNews (


eSchoolNews tracks technology news that impacts educators.

eSchoolNews tracks research and news about technology as it impacts educations. The site also links to resources and funding opportunities.

2. PBS Teachers (

PBS Teachers

PBS' teachers portal offers resources for use in the classroom.

PBS Teachers is a trove of teaching resources and program information for PreK-12 educators. Teachers can also take advantage of PBS’ online professional development opportunities and discuss with other teachers in the site’s forums.

3. ARSU Curriculum Resources (

ARSU Curriculum Resources

ARSU Curriculum Resources has something for everyone.

This collaborative site collects links to everything from resources for grade levels K-12, to information about SMART Boards and iPhone apps, to free software downloads. Of special interest is a page devoted to “Web 2.0 for All,” which includes a list, links and descriptions of various Web 2.0 technologies that can be useful in the classroom.

4. Tech Toolkit (

Tech Toolkit

Tech Toolkit lives up to its name.

This site was developed by an instructional technology coach for a Georgia school system to share tools and tips with educators and parents alike. The site draws attention to curriculum resources, IWB resources and Web 2.0 tools.

5. High School Journalism Initiative (

The High School Journalism initiative.

The High School Journalism Initiative aims to be “the go-to scholastic journalism site on the Web for students, their teachers and advisers, guidance counselors and professional journalists.” The site offers everything from news literacy kits and resources to assess source credibility, to free web hosting solutions for student journalists.

6. CED in the History of Media Technology (

CED Media History

The site provides a pictorial timeline of advancements in technology.

This project is a pictorial timeline of changing media — particularly video — technologies. Pictures, descriptions and links to more information about the technology are provided.

7. Internet Archive WayBack Machine (

WayBack Machine

The WayBack Machine crawls websites to show what they looked like in earlier years.

The WayBack Machine can be a fun illustrative tool to demonstrate the history of the Internet for students. Enter a site’s URL and select from the dates the WayBack Machine turns up. The picture above shows the New York Times’ home page for Nov. 12, 1996, the first available date WayBack has for the Times.

8. PBS’ MediaShift (

PBS MediaShift

MediaShift tracks the digital media revolution.

Another PBS project, MediaShift, examines the digital media revolution in terms of the impact on various aspects of society. The section devoted to digital media and education addresses issues affecting educators from PreK to higher ed. An article dated April 21, 2011, 5 Great Media Literacy Programs and How to Assess Their Impact, addresses and provides links for various media literacy and citizenship initiatives.

9. Common Sense Media (

Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media provides information for families and educators about media.

Common Sense Media attempts to approach media with a dash of sensibility. The non-profit’s mission is to improve “the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.” The site includes reviews of music, games, websites, TV shows, movies and books, as well as sections for parent advice and educators. The educators’ section includes a new Digital Literacy and Citizenship curriculum.

10. Don’t Touch that Dial! (

This intriguing article from Slate’s Vaughan Bell addresses a “history of media technology scares, from the printing press to Facebook.” It’s a fascinating perspective that may serve for personal research or class illustration.