PLAYBACK: The Line Between Right Amount and Too Much Technology is Blurred


2.12.12 | The Lure of the TV Screen isn’t As Bright: New numbers from Nielsen show that TV-watching time is down among U.S. viewers age 12-34, though online and mobile viewing is up.

The report, which compared viewing habits between 2010 and 2011, shows a small but meaningful shift. Brian Stelter of The New York Times sums up what these numbers may signal:

It has long been predicted that these new media would challenge traditional television viewing, but this is the first significant evidence to emerge in research data. If the trends hold, the long-term implications for the media industry are huge, possibly causing billions of dollars in annual advertising spending to shift away from old-fashioned TV.

Gary Carr, a senior vice president for TargetCast TCM, which buys ad time for companies, said that while the dip was “not cause for panic,” it merited concern and careful monitoring. “Young people are always the first group to be doing other things, trying other things,” Mr. Carr said.

Echoing those sentiments, executives at several major media companies said their proprietary research affirmed that there had been a dip in overall youth viewership in recent months, though they said it had not yet led to a meaningful effect on the ratings for individual channels.

Continue reading.

Helping Kids Self-Regulate: Adults have enough trouble avoiding online distractions, but for kids, staying on task can be even trickier. Writing at Mind/Shift, Yalda T. Uhis addresses how to help kids develop self-regulation strategies so they’re not dependent on adult intervention.

“A good self-regulator will pay attention to tasks, persist when it becomes difficult, demonstrate flexibility, and be confident that more effort will lead to positive outcomes,” writes Uhis. “As educators move towards using digital media to teach, and we rely more on children’s independent initiative and motivation, it’s important to develop kids’ learning strategies so they stay on topic while they use these tools.”

Turning Blackboards into Whiteboards and More in Classroom Design: Technology is influencing all areas of our lives, including building construction and room design, and schools are at the forefront of these changes. Jane Parkins, a writer for Interior Design Source (Australia), notes that technology-advanced schools are “teaching with the aid of iPads and computers, virtually eliminating the need for the traditional desk and chair educational facility fitout.”

“However, while this extends the design possibilities (and earning capacity) for our industry, it may not offer to have the best impact on learning and productivity,” continues Parkins. She notes that even with the best technology, kids still need a “learning foundation that is tactile and physical,” and great teachers to lead them. 

Plus: Michael Wesch, the popular associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University who has received enthusiastic responses to his talks on using technology and social media in the classroom, is reconsidering some of his own advice.

“Mr. Wesch is not swearing off technology—he still believes you can teach well with YouTube and Twitter,” writes Jeffrey Young at The Chronicle of Higher Education. “But at a time when using more interactive tools to replace the lecture appears to be gaining widespread acceptance, he has a new message. It doesn’t matter what method you use if you do not first focus on one intangible factor: the bond between professor and student.”

Teen Book Finder, created by the Young Adult Library Services Association

Reading Suggestions? There’s an App for That: Some of the best books written each year are aimed at teens. But when you’re no longer in that demographic, it’s harder to stay up on what’s new and recommended. At least, that used to be the case.

Enter the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), which is expected to launch an app this month called Teen Book Finder. The app will provide “teens, parents, librarians and library staff, and anyone who loves YA lit access to the past three years’ of YALSA’s awards and lists on their smartphone.”

The homepage will refresh each day with three titles generated from the database. Users can search for books by author or title, as well as genre, year and award/list.

Teen Book Finder will be available on the iPhone first, with an Android version planned for a later 2012 release. The app is funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and created in partnership with Ora Interactive, a Chicago-based web development firm.

Plus: The American Library Association (ALA) recognized four library programs on Jan. 23 for innovative technologies. One of the winners was New Canaan (Conn.) High School Library.

The high school library’s Participatory Platforms for Learning portal, according to the ALA, includes “deploying the full complement of Google applications; advocating a culture of intellectual freedom; using Twitter for current events research; and using Facebook groups for students to record their research process and provide feedback to others in the group. The program enmeshes learning and the ‘real world’ to teach students digital citizenship by encouraging them to become responsible information consumers, creators and contributors in the public domain.”

New Canaan’s win shouldn’t be much of a surprise considering its previous achievements, writes Laura B. Weiss at School Library Journal.

Schools and Social Media: The Big Picture: This infographic on social media in higher education showed up on a number of sites last week (click for a larger image). It’s the creation of, which used half-a-dozen sources, from Mashable to a UMASS Dartmouth study, to portray how colleges and universities are using social media to connect with students. Nearly every school uses Facebook, while LinkedIn has recently shown the largest growth.

It’s an interesting snapshot, but the label is misleading: “The Pros and Cons of Social Media in Education” this is not.

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