Børns liv og leg med medier

En anmeldelse og anbefaling af Stine Liv Johansens lille bog om børn og digitale medier. Den kom i maj, men jeg har desværre været lidt en sinke til at få læst den og skrevet om den.

Børns liv og leg med medier

Bogen handler mest om førskole- og indskolingsbørn og deres liv og leg med iPads og en advarsel er på sin plads – det er en akademisk bog rettet mod forskere og interesserede pædagoger og lærere. Men vi andre – fx os der “bare” er forældre – kan også tage noget med hjem, hvis vi kan mande os op til at læse sådan en bog. Det ser ikke ud til, at der nogensinde kommer en bog om dette emne beregnet på almindelige læsere. Det synes jeg er ærgerligt – og ikke kun fordi jeg gerne selv ville have skrevet den.

Stine har observeret en børnehave, der fik udleveret et “sæt” i form af en fin kuffert indeholdende en iPad med et par film-apps og lidt andet materiale, samt en flok børn på et fritidshjem, der alle havde fået en iPad. Hun taler meget med børnene og lidt mindre med de voksne, og der kommer en del interessante observationer ud af det. Jeg vil gå let hen over børnehaveobservationerne, da mindre børn  ikke er min kernekompetence, men den vigtigste lære af eksperimentet med kufferten er, at man kan så meget mere med en iPad og en flok rollinger end de fleste pædagoger nogensinde havde forestillet sig.

Et af bogens helt centrale budskaber formulerer forfatteren selv således:

Jeg mener, det er uhensigtsmæssigt, når brugen af teknologi og digitale medier skal “forsvares” ved at sætte et lærings- og udviklingsperspektiv op i forhold hertil.

Hvad er det for en mærkelig idé vi har fået i forhold til digitale medier, at børn med vold og magt skal “lære noget”, hver gang de tager en iPad i hånden? Hvorfor må de ikke bare lege? Vi forlanger jo heller ikke af en pakke LEGO, at den skal have læringspotentiale? Vi ved, at børn lærer af at lege – men det er som om den viden er glemt, så snart legemediet er digitalt.

En af de markante ting, Stine bemærkede i sit studie af børnene i SFO’en var, at intet barn nogensinde sad alene med sin iPad. Børnene sad ofte i par, ofte flere, men aldrig alene. Det har altså ikke noget på sig, når det påstås, at digitale medier har en isolerende virkning på børn.

Bogen kommer med en del gode argumenter for, hvorfor vi voksne skal sætte os ind i, hvad børnene laver og sætte os ind i, hvad de kunne lave, hvis de vidste det. Hun beskriver en episode med en dreng, der flipper fuldstændig ud, da et andet barn i bygningen smadrer hele hans bygningsværk i Minecraft. En pædagog forsøger at hjælpe ham med at finde ud af, hvem det er, men da det ikke lykkes, hjælper pædagogen ham lidt på vej med at bygge nyt og udviser i det hele taget forståelse for, hvorfor drengen bliver så ulykkelig. Forældre og pædagoger der intet aner om, hvad børnene laver på computeren eller iPad’en, kan ikke udvise samme forståelse og vil afvise drengens ulykkelighed som skaberi.

En anden ting, vi voksne går glip af, når vi afviser at interessere os for, hvad børnene laver, er indsigt i vores børns digitale kompetencer og mangel på samme. Vi får ikke rost dem for det, de er dygtige til, og får ikke hjulpet dem videre, når de støder mod forhindringer. Kan vi ikke selv hjælpe, så kender vi nok nogen, der kan! Et andet argument er, at børnene typisk griber det nærmeste – de orienterer sig næsten udelukkende i Top 50 af gratis apps. Det vil sige, at der kan være fantastiske – fx dansk udviklede – apps, der aldrig kommer til børnenes kendskab, fordi de ikke kan læse eller læser dårligt og ikke ved, hvordan de skal søge efter nye apps. Vi som forældre og pædagoger og lærere må holde os orienterede, så vi kan foreslå nye apps/spil til børnene, som de ikke finder af sig selv.

Stine Liv Johansen slutter af på følgende måde:

Det er nødvendigt, at vi som voksne bliver i stand til at følge med børnene ind i medierne, og at vi lader os inspirere af deres måde at anvende dem på, men også at vi er klar til at gå foran dem og vejlede dem, når det er nødvendigt.

Jeg kunne ikke være mere enig!

 

Du kan følge Stine på Twitter.

 

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Apps til børn

Denne serie om børn og deres færden på nettet startede med et kig ind i den nære fremtid.

Mange børn i den vestlige verden vokser nu op med en smartphone og/eller en tablet inden for rækkevidde. Af samme grund produceres der endeløse mængder af apps til børn – fra baby til teen. Hvis man interesserer sig for det, kan man finde steder rundt om på nettet, der tager området seriøst og forsøger at anmelde nye apps til børn – men det er en jungle! Mit råd i forhold til, hvad man skal downloade/købe er at dele opgaven med andre forældre til børn i samme aldersgruppe, så I deler erfaringer med de apps, jeres børn leger med. Men derudover? Ja, så må man ud og lede. Aviserne anmelder kun apps sporadisk – jeg tror fx Politiken anmelder tre apps om ugen – de burde jo anmelde tre apps om dagen!

Som jeg tidligere har nævnt i mine poster om computerspil, så er biblioteket normalt en god ressource. På Københavns Kommunes Bibliotekers hjemmeside findes en folder (pdf) om bl.a. apps. Her er en del gode anbefalinger. Møg ærgerligt er det dog, at den findes i pdf-format på deres side i stedet for et mere fleksibelt format, så det ikke blev forældet på et halvt år! Hvis bibliotek.dk har en underside, der handler om apps, så har jeg ikke kunnet finde den. Og hvor nemt er det så for andre?

Bedre ser det ud hos en anden public service institution, nemlig DR. I denne artikel fortælles om apps til børn, og der henvises til forskellige hjemmesider, der anmelder børneapps. Tak DR!

in-app

I ovennævnte artikel nævnes kort et problem, som mange forældre øjensynligt døjer med – nemlig in-app køb og i det hele taget børnenes køb på Itunes eller i Google Play. Søde forældre, hør nu lige her, mindre børn skal IKKE have adgangskoden til Itunes, og I skal spærre for muligheden for in-app køb i deres spil. Så er det heller ikke sværere! Større børn kan man vælge at vise den tillid, at de har koden til Itunes/Google Play. Så skal der foreligge en krystalklar aftale om, hvad de må downloade og for hvor meget. Og I sørger naturligvis for, at der kommer en mail fra Itunes/Google Play, hver eneste gang, der er købt noget. Ja, ok, det fylder måske lidt op i indbakken, fordi der så også kommer mails hver gang I selv køber noget, men det er et beskedent problem i forhold til ekstraregninger i 10.000 kroners klassen.

Næste afsnit er lidt repetition om sociale medier på telefonen.

 

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Facebook – 3

Vi skal lære vores børn, hvad det er meningsfyldt og i orden at dele på Facebook. Og at skelne mellem, hvad der er personligt og privat. En personlig statusopdatering kan være: “Er i vildt godt humør i dag, vi har fri fra skole i morgen!” eller “Yay, ny cykel!” Det kan også være links til sjove videoer på Youtube – det kan godt være voksne bliver trætte af at se de samme film med de samme halsbrækkende stunts eller de samme nuttede dyr igen og igen, men børn bliver det tilsyneladende ikke. Og der er jo ingen skade sket ved det. I øvrigt viser et studie, at det er gavnligt for produktiviteten at se på billeder af nuttede dyr…

Facebookskilsmisseupdate

Private statusopdateringer derimod er dem, der fortæller ting, som man normalt ikke ville gå og tale om på gaden, ved frokostbordet på arbejde eller når hele klassen hører det. Men heller ikke her kan der opstilles faste regler. Statusopdateringen herover er jo VILDT privat, og det gav et gib i mig, da min søn viste mig den. Men kommentarerne fra barnets venner var utroligt varme og positive og nok lige, hvad vedkommende havde brug for. Til gengæld syntes moren nok ikke særligt godt om den…

Facebook bliver mere og mere kommercielt, og flere og flere virksomheder har Facebook som en central del af deres marketingstrategi. Børn er ofte lette ofre for disse strategier, så også her må vi holde lidt snor i, hvad og hvor meget de liker. Der er masser af legitime konkurrencer og sjove koncepter på Facebook, men også her er det vigtigt at lære børnene at kende forskel. Hvis vi allerede har forsøgt at indgyde dem kritisk sans over for tv- og biografreklamer, bliver det lidt nemmere, men grænsen er nogle gange hårfin. Værst er naturligvis de konkurrencer og like-opfordringer, der slet ikke holder, hvad de lover. Kig dem lidt efter i sømmene, og rapportér dem til Facebook, hvis de forekommer dig lige lovlig smarte.

Applikationer (apps)

Mange børn abonnerer på svimlende mængder af applikationer i Facebook. Ofte ved de ikke engang, at de gør det. Men hver gang de deltager i en quiz eller et spil i Facebook-regi, kræver det, at de downloader en applikation. Og når de gør det, giver de applikationen adgang til mange informationer.

De fleste applikationer bliver hurtigt glemt og henstår ubrugte, men de indsamler stadig information! Så gør dine børn en tjeneste ved at lære dem at rydde op i applikationer eller gør det sammen med dem. Du kan også lære dem, hvordan de slukker for andres opdateringer i applikationer eller for deres opdateringer i det hele taget. Lær dig selv det på fem minutter og glæd dit barn ved at lære det videre.

flovsmileyMind dem ved samme lejlighed om, at ALLE, de er venner med på Facebook, kan se, hvilke quizzer de deltager i. Jeg hørte fx om en stor teenage-dreng, der deltog i en sexquiz på Facebook uden at tænke på, at hans mormor nu kunne sidde og se hans score.

Mobning på Facebook og hvad man stiller op med det, tager jeg op senere i denne serie, når jeg når til net-mobning som fænomen.

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Elektronista

I know I’m not supposed to brag. But I’m going to do it anyway. I’ve been made “Electronista of the Week” by Danish online magazine Elektronista, focusing on the cross-section between women and technology. With the honour comes an interview where I got the unique chance to tell about my favourite gadgets and web-thingies. Here’s the interview in Danish. Below a version in English. *I’m that proud of it*

She’s more connected than her sons and has many more years of media experience than most of her more than 1000 followers on Twitter. We bow to copy-writer and social media consultant Néné La Beet and eat up her digital tips and tricks.

What’s your favourite gadget right now? That would have to be my IPad2. The loveliest toy and also very practical at times. I use the IPad at the breakfast table to read the paper and check Twitter, on the train to continue with the paper, in the sofa for Twitter, reading, silly stuff, Monopoly with my son. Sometimes also in bed for more of the same. I’m looking forward to the holidays where I’ll try it out with games, travel books and novels.

I also have a Flip camera, which makes uploading and editing a piece of cake. I use it for different things, but mostly to help my ten-year-old son make skater-films and fingerboard films and upload them to YouTube. I won’t even mention my Iphone 4 which has become a part of me. I think I might be addicted…

What do you wish for? I’m a very lucky woman who recently got a new Imac, Iphone and IPad, so I don’t really have a long wish list. What I would like though, was for somebody to sync all my devices so we could share music and films and deal with all of it from one computer. I just don’t have the patience to figure it out myself.


What do you consider the most interesting digital tendencies right now? What has caught my attention the most, lately, are all the new social media that address a narrower group than “everybody”. I’m in love with Pinterest, where you share pictures of stuff with each other. A piece of special jewelery, a dress you’ve seen in the street, a marvellous book shelf, etc.

And there’s Goodreads, where we share books we read, the great international network for knitters and crocheters, Ravelry. More work related is “Facebook for business”, Podio, developed in Denmark.

Can you name something that somebody should invent? I think that printers are lagging behind the general technological development. Why must it be so hard to connect to a printer wirelessly? And printer drivers, honestly, why haven’t they been phased out years ago? And, I’d like somebody to invent something that would allow us to roam abroad without getting ruined and without adding to the phone companies’ already padded wallets.

When are gadgets and technology really really cool? I love when gadgets communicate seamlessly with each other. I do not understand how it can be considered a competitive advantage that your device can’t work with other devices.

What website would you like to recommend to others? Zite is an app for IPad, which aggregates news in an incredibly intuitive way. You can see on Twitter who opens Zite first in the morning. They are always first with the news! Other than that it’ll have to be the above mentioned Pinterest. But it eats up my time, I swoon over all the lovely stuff out there!

What are your favourite mobile apps right now? My favourite apps are all those that aid me when I’m mobile. I use IMailG to check mail, InstaGram for posting pictures to Twitter and Facebook, various transport apps that show times, delays, etc. We use Viber to speak with each other for free, particularly smart when you’re abroad. And of course the Wikipedia app, which answers all our questions while we’re out and about. Last, something very basic, the Shopper-app, which is just a digital shopping list. Its advantage is that it’s always in my pocket, never at home on the kitchen table.

Can you recommend some people or pages to follow? On Facebook I’m happy following Slate, TED, Huffington Post and Vanity Fair, as I tend to forget to check these marvellous American news- and trrend media if it’s not fed to me. On Twitter it’s too hard to recommend anyone special, I follow so many intelligent, interesting, funny and helpful people. Check my followers and who I talk to!

Do you have a technology tip for others? I take pictures of stuff I want to remember. It’s low-tech perhaps, but it works. I note stuff in Evernote, so I can always have it with me. I save links with Instapaper and have ALL my files, photographs and music in the cloud on Dropbox. That way I don’t need to remember anything (except the cable to connect my laptop to the projector when I give workshops. I forget that every other time!)

Typical of the incredibly fast development in the digital world, this interview was made on Sunday night. On Monday night, just after it was published, Apple came with the news of the ICloud. So now, very soon, I’ll have what I wished for!

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*OMMMM*

I market myself as a kind of social media strategist. Anyone who knows about these things also knows that all good things come to an end. And one day there won’t be a need for services like mine. This article is about my next career move ;-)

In my last post I wrote about the Arizona shooting. Since then I’ve read this incredibly interesting analysis on Politico. It’s about twisting words till they are devoid of meaning and getting away with it. It says for instance:

in the past week, the question of whether a carefully planned assassination attempt on a member of the United States Congress might have had anything to do with politics has been mocked into oblivion. Well, let’s see. The dominant theme of Loughner’s ravings was suspicion of the government. He apparently didn’t believe in paper money and thought only gold has value. He believed the government was responsible for Sept. 11. And so on. This is not a random collection of nutty opinions. There is a theme to it, and it is not simply that the guy was crazy.

It’s a bit like the discussions about political correctness. Once an opinion has been successfully deemed politically correct by the right, it can’t be uttered in the public debate anymore. I often wonder why the liberals don’t reclaim the term. I mean, at the moment it seems that the most politically correct statements are that “we must cut public spending to get the country back on its feet” or “we need to cut taxes so we can get the wheels spinning again”.

Sometimes the kind Internet will direct you to sources you’d normally never think of consulting. And just as we think that we here in Denmark have brilliant minds who deserve to be heard outside our small country, regional papers in e.g. the US also have brilliant writers, who are rarely heard outside their own territory. This article is from a Chicagoan paper, it’s about blogging, expectations and “what’s in it for me”. Very good and true. Posted on twitter by @KrisWager.

Here’s another news source that you wouldn’t normally come across, The Boston Globe. When we travelled the US, this was a paper that I learned to like and respect. Now I’m just happy that people on the web sometimes remind me of that. Here’s a very thorough article about the consequences of the legalisation of drug possession in Portugal. Well researched and unbiased.

I’ve tidied up my Twitter favourites and found a few gems that I’d forgotten about, re. my last post about reading lots and forgetting most. This article is a very well researched piece on why women are needed in tech companies. I’m sure that @Elektronista will agree with the article’s author and with me.

Never a blog post without at least one thing about Twitter. This is a column from The Guardian by Margaret Atwood. She’s not a young woman anymore, but she’s still managed to fall in love with Twitter, head over heals. Read about it here and follow her on Twitter @margaretatwood.

Twitter isn’t all gooey and lovely. It’s also used to spread completely unfounded rumours by people who forget to think before they write. Let this collection of tweets serve as a warning. Verify, verify, verify! Note that some of the tweets have been removed. Some very embarrassed people have deleted their tweets.

Sometimes you need to jump off the grid for a while and pretend to have a life. @sheamus has written a short, humorous post about it.

From Gizmodo

Now for some gadget news. Must haves, nice to haves. Here’s a lovely charger for all your stuff, smart and practical.

And what about this one – a sun charger for the Iphone. One that works. Apparently.

We’ve been talking for ages about using our phones to pay for stuff. And already we can buy bus/train tickets with them. Which is great. Next up is lattes at Starbucks.

Guardian is trying the free/paid option that Danish paper Politiken is also trying. Free news online, but paid app. So far I feel uninspired to buy the Politiken app (especially since I subscribe to the paper version, but haven’t been offered the app for free, grump), but the Guardian app seems to be great value, 4£ for a YEAR, that’s one pence per day.

On BBC News I’ve read this suggestion to Facebook: That they mimic Apple and vet the applications that we allow access via Facebook. This is a really good idea. I’m slightly paranoid when it comes to Facebook applications and have allowed almost none. But especially young people don’t understand what they are doing when they allow various games apps access to their Facebook accounts.

Not a gadget, not even an app, but did you know that bit.ly doesn’t only help you shorten URLs but also helps you create quick lists of links? Very practical for a birthday wish list or a shared reading list.

Do you sometimes need some Zen-time to focus on something you’re writing? But you’re constantly disturbed by incoming mails or tweets or Facebook posts and are too weak-minded to turn the whole thing off (like someone I know)? Ommwriter is for you then. Great little programme you download and write in. When you open it, everything else on you desktop magically disappears and some lovely yoga-style music is added to the blank-but-not-white screen. Peace.

I was recently given Patti Smith’s autobiography and was in fact going to exchange it for something else, as I’m neither a a big fan of biographies, nor a huge fan of Patti’s. Strangely, a few days later, with the book on my desk beside me, somebody posted this interview with Patti Smith. After watching only a bit of it, I grabbed the book and started reading. Am halfway through it now. She’s a gifted writer (why do some people get all the talent?) as well as musician and the intertwined stories of her own and Robert Mapplethorpe’s lives are gripping. Warmly recommended.

The rest of the links today are on the silly side. This is a video of an in-air proposal. Awww. And here’s a young man who seriously doesn’t want to be disturbed while reading his book.

This has been a week of loads and loads of math homework for Dane. I’m not exactly a math wizard and the family wizard (David) is not around most days. One day I had to post a photograph of Dane’s assignment on Twitter for help. Help was around five minutes away.

The same day, and possibly as a comment to this, someone posted the quote below on Twitter. When son gets around to equations (am bracing myself for the day), he will wholeheartedly agree.

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My favourite Apps

If you don’t have an Iphone and don’t have any plans to buy one, you’ll loathe this post. So I suggest you don’t read it. If you still read it, you know, just to allow yourself to get annoyed, then consider this:

“Yes it was a shocking thing to say, and I knew it was a shocking thing to say.
But no one has the right to live without being shocked.
No one has the right to spend their lives without being offended.
Nobody has to read this book.
Nobody has to pick it up.
Nobody has to open it.

And if they open it and read it, they don’t have to like it.
And if you read it and dislike it, you don’t have to remain silent about it.
You can write to me.
You can complain about it.
You can write to the publishers, to the papers,
You can write your own book.
You can do all those things.

But there your rights stop.
No one has the right to stop me writing this book.
No one has the right to stop it being published, sold, or bought, or read.
And that’s all I have to say on that subject.”

This quote is by the brave and wonderful Philip Pullman, in reply to a person who chastised him for criticising the Christian faith in his new book. It’s about much more important things than whether you can be worked up about other people loving their Iphones, but it really does apply everywhere. Thank you to Richard Whitelock for opening up his new blog with this lovely quote. It was brought to my attention by @rhodri, who never replies to tweets, but who often tweets good stuff.

The Iphone apps are what makes your phone truly yours. Look at a person’s apps and you’ll know a lot about them. Thanks to Twitter I only rarely “hunt” for apps, they sort of present themselves when people tweet ecstatically about them. My other sources are the tech blogs and Wired Magazine. And people, of course. When you get together with other Iphone-lovers, they’ll tell you if they’ve found a new app that they love.

I have two Twitter apps, Tweetdeck and Tweetie (they can do slightly different things) and the Facebook and LinkedIn apps. I think I tweet as much from my phone as I do from my computer. Typically because tweeting is something you sneak in between other things you do and when I’m at the computer I’m usually supposed to be working… Facebook and LinkedIn mostly on the computer I think, but wouldn’t be without either on the phone.

I have a shopping list app which I’ve taken to more than I thought I would. I never write a pen-and-paper shopping list anymore. I’ve had to personalise it a lot to accommodate for this family’s apparently special shopping needs and deleted lots of items that I never ever buy, but now it works just great. Great advantage is that I always have it with me, both when I remember something that I want to add to it and when I go shopping. A similar type of app is a to-do-list app, which I’ve only just got. Usually, I find that to-do-list “systems” never work for me, but this one could. It’s still “on trial”. Many good features.

An app that has really and truly improved my life is the sleepcycle app. I first heard of this technology years ago and have coveted it ever since. Your sleep is monitored (originally by a bracelet) and, having set a time where you have to be up, it will wake you at the best possible time before that, which is when your sleep is lightest. It is brilliant! Has also shown me how my sleep pattern changes drastically from day to day and goes a long way in explaining why I sometimes feel dazed even if I have slept 7+ hours and at other times totally perky after <6 hours.

The Iphone also functions as a portable reference library, which is incredibly practical when you have a memory like a sieve and a child that asks at least 25 questions a day, some of which rather tricky. I have the lovely Wikipedia and Wikitap apps (for discussion of the use of Wikipedia, look here), Dictionary, Ordbogen (Danish – English), RedDelicious (all my bookmarks readily available), Iformulas and Reader (all my RSS feeds imported from Netvibes).

As most people I also have a number of news apps from my favourite news sources and also some aggregated news. Almost every paper and online news source have their own app, so it can be tailored very specifically to your needs and wants.

Then there are a number of practical apps that you can’t really claim to “need”, but which are all very handy. I have the Flickr app so I can upload pictures from my phone directly to Flickr with comments, tags and everything. I use that a lot. I’m very pleased with the Flixster app, which shows me what’s on in my local cinemas and with the Urbanspoon app, which guides me to restaurants in London while I’m there. I’ve used that more than once and been very pleased with it. Also I have a few recipe generators for when I’m completely out of ideas. Some funny dishes have come to the table thanks to YumYum, BigOven, among others.

A handful of apps cater to my intellectual and artistic needs, among them Stanza, which lets me read classics for free as well as a number of high quality magazines. I re-read The Great Gatsby on a flight to Copenhagen not long ago, that was very pleasant! Another app in that vein is the new app from the National Gallery, called LoveArt. Take a look at it, it’s really fabulous!

To entertain my son when we’re in the car, on a train or he’s bored in a restaurant I have a whole page of games. Very handy indeed!

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