Teaching kids soft skills for digital communication

Teaching Kids Soft Skills for Digital Communication

Episode 60: Teaching Kids Soft Skills for Digital Communication – interview with Lisa Nehring

Lisa Nehring from True North Homeschool Academy and the Soft Skills 101 podcast is the guest on today’s show. She shares with us some of the soft skills for digital communication we need to teach our children.

Learn more about the importance of soft skills in this article by Lisa Nehring.

Some of the topics covered in this episode that you should be talking to your children about are:

1) checking and responding to emails/messages in a reasonable time frame
2) using good grammar in online communication
3) considering tone in emails, and knowing when to speak to a person rather than use digital communication
4) digital communication lasts forever
5) integrity in online communication

Don’t assume your children understand these things. I encourage you to listen to the full episode to hear all the wisdom Lisa shares with us as we discuss this important topic.

For more on this topic, read Lisa’s blog post on teaching effective online communication.

In this episode we highlight show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy’s, Art of Argument online class for teens. In this class they will learn about logical fallacies and pratice writing argumentative essays.

Subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss future episodes.

And be sure to join our Facebook group where we can talk about this together.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook


Thank you to our Sponsor – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Movie!

Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about kindness, love and forgiveness from America’s most beloved neighbor.

Online Personal Finance games and interactive activities

Online Personal Finance Games and Interactive Activities

Episode 59: Online Personal Finance games and interactive activities

Online personal finance games and interactive activities give teens the opportunity to practice their financial literacy skills. Here are the websites mentioned in this episode:

1. Online Insurance Games

Playinsure.com offers 2 games – one for home insurance and one for auto insurance. For both, you play for 30 virtual days and different events happen each day. Your decisions at the start of the game are important – try to make it through a month and have money in the bank at the end.

2. Stockmarket Simulations

How the Market Works is a free game you play as an individual. The Stock Market Game is played as a team against other schools in your area. It has a small fee associated with it. Both utilize the real prices on the stock market and students get a good idea of what it is like to put savings into stocks.

3. Payback game

The Payback game challenges players to attend university an not get into too much debt – or fail their exams. You learn that it isn’t easy to pay for college!. The game seems simple, but it isn’t easy to win.

4. Budget Challenge

The Budget Challenge costs $25 and students play over a number of weeks. Students compete against other students all over the US and have to manage a budget and pay bills on time during the period. At the start, they have to choose the type of bank account etc they want and these choices impact the rest of the game. It’s a good way to let teens understand what “adulting” is like. Parents will have to sign up as the teacher and that gives them access to teaching resources. Students take quizzes throughout the game which earns them points and checks that they understand the concepts.

These online games and simulations are used in sponsor FundaFunda Academy’s Personal Finance class so if you don’t want to go to the hassle of creating your own curriculum or adding these ideas into a curriculum you purchase, then check out their online class!

Subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss future episodes.

And be sure to join our Facebook group where we can talk about this together.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Online Personal Finance Games and Interactive Activities #homeschoolpersonalfinance #personalfinancegames #homeschoolpodcast

How to teach your kids to identify fake news

How To Teach your Children to Identify Fake News

Episode 58: How to teach your kids to identify fake news


In this episode, I suggest a number of ways for you to teach your kids to identify fake news.

To start, it would be useful to listen to this Planet Money episode, Finding the Fake News King, in which they trace a piece of fake news back to the person who created it.

The ideas below are all taught in our sponsor, FundaFunda Academy’s Computer Applications class which covers digital literacy as well as computer skills.

These two articles are both good to read:

Quick Ways to Spot Fake News
How to Spot Fake News and Teach Kids to be Media Savvy

The main points in the articles above are:

1. Look for unusual URLs

2. Does it sound too good to be true?

3. Go to the source of questionable articles and see what else they are publishing. Look at their About Me page

4. Do a reverse image search for images used in the article to see their origin

5. Do they cite sources?

6. Grammar and spelling issues

7. How does it make you feel? If you are feeling extreme emotions, good chance it is fake news

If you think it is fake new – how can you check?


1. Visit these websites and check if the article is mentioned there: Snopes, Politifact, FactCheck

2. See if the website is on this list of fake news sites

Resources to teach your children how to identify fake news

  • Sutori has a quiz your children can take to see if they can identify fake news, and then lots of other resources on the topic too.
  • Factitious is a game where you swipe left or right depending on if you think the article is fake or not. There are different levels which makes it great for the whole family.
  • Newsfeed Defenders is a game from iCivics. Students play the role of editor and must decide which article to select for their newspaper each day. It will really get your children thinking. This is appropriate for middle and high school.

Subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss future episodes.

And be sure to join our Facebook group where we can talk about this together.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

How To Teach your Children to Identify Fake News #digitalliteracy #homeschooling #wiredhomeschool

Teaching kids about copyright and plagiarism

Teaching Kids about Copyright and Plagiarism

Episode 57: Teaching Kids about Copyright and Plagiarism

Are you teaching your kids about copyright and plagiarism? Too many students in my online classes are routinely plagiarising and breaking copyright. I don’t think many realize that what they are doing is wrong.

Copyright

Be sure to explain to your children that unless the project they are doing falls into the “fair use” category, they should never assume they can use any photographs, clipart, music etc they find online.

To find material that they can legally use, the easiest thing is to do a Creative Commons Search and specify how they will use the resource.

Plagiarism

Make sure your children understand that at university there will be automatic plagiarism checkers that will assess their assignments. But even without that, it is very easy for someone grading to notice that the language isn’t what a school student would typically use. And a quick “cut and paste” can confirm it.

Teach your children how to take notes from a source. They need to learn to read a passage and then close the book or move to a new tab on their computer. They should be able to think about what they have read, explain it aloud, and then put down the main idea in writing. Jennifer Gonzalez from Cult of Pedagogy has an excellent podcast episode / blog post that includes a lesson plan to help you teach this.

Citations

Be sure to teach your children how to cite their sources. Easybib is a good tool for that. If they use Google Docs they can do the citations right in their document with the built-in tool for that.

Our sponsor, FundaFunda Academy‘s has an online Computer Applications class for 7th – 12th graders. The class teaches about copyright, plagiarism, how to do citations, how to use many digital tools and much more. Take it in 7th or 8th grade to prepare for high school or as an elective credit in high school.

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Teaching Kids about Copyright and Plagiarism #digitalliteracy #wiredhomeschooler #homeschoolpodcast

How much screentime for your children?

How Much Screen Time for Your Children

Episode 55: How much screentime for your children?

My previous episode on Homeschooling Digital Natives gives context to this episode so if you haven’t listened to it yet, you might it helpful as you consider the question, “How much screentime for your children?”

I suggest you look for balance and to help you, here are some things I think you should consider:

1. Too much time on computer screens isn’t good for any of us. This is particularly true at night as it affects sleep. See this article by Beth Napoli aka Techie Homeschool Mom.

2. Too much time spent sitting and doing things online means children aren’t spending that time being active.

3. Tech addiction is a real problem for some children

4. The current generation is the most anxious generation that we know about. This is not only due to tech use, but social media, in particular, can have negative effects on mental health.

5. On the flip side, online gaming can be social time if friends and family are playing together.

6. Children need to learn tech skills to operate in the world.

7. Technology is how your teens will connect with their peers and make plans to do things offline. It is always a way to connect with family members who don’t live in the same area.

8. Technology opens up a huge world for your children. It helps them understand others better as they can learn about people all over the world. They can also find resources to teach them anything they want to learn.

What are your options on how to limit screen time?

Here are some ideas:

  • Put limits on devices
  • Have specific times children can be online, or times they must be offline.
  • Allow them online only after they have finished schoolwork and chores
  • Allow unlimited computer time but only if they are being productive online. This is an idea I read about from Beth Napoli. Read her whole blog post and see what you think.

Whatever you decide to do, talk to your kids about it and explain your reasoning.

I would also suggest you make sure your children are involved in enough activities like 4-H, scouts, sports and community service that they don’t have too much time to be in front of a screen.

Listen to the whole episode as I further develop the ideas I mention above.

Subscribe to the podcast as we will be covering more topics like this in the near future. And be sure to join our Facebook group where we can talk about this together.

Visit our sponsor FundaFunda Academy and take a look at their web-based unit studies.

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

How Much Screen Time for Your Children #homeschoolpodcast #screentime #homeschooltechnology

Homeschooling Digital Natives

Homeschooling Digital Natives

Episode 54: Homeschooling Digital Natives

Most of you are digital immigrants homeschooling digital natives.

In 2001 Mark Prensky coined the terms “digital natives” and “digital immigrants”. ‘Digital Native’ is used to describe someone born in the digital era. ‘Digital Immigrant’ is used to describe someone born before the digital era.

This comic created by Adam Ellis shows how digital immigrants can have a skewed view of digital natives.

As digital immigrants, we tend to divide our activities between “online” and “offline” whereas for digital natives the online world is just part of their reality – not something separate.

How does this affect you as a homeschool parent?

1. Literacy must now include Digital Literacy

You need to cover topics like fake news, digital communication skills, digital footprints, online research, copyright, and plagiarism with your children.

2. Tools you teach your children to operate must include digital tools

It’s not enough that your children know how to use a knife, a pair of scissors, the vacuum cleaner, and the microwave. Now they need to know how to create digital graphics, share a document with others, produce videos and make websites.

Listening to this podcast (check out past episodes too) will help you learn how to teach your children many of these skills. In addition, take a look at our sponsor, FundaFunda Academy‘s Computer Applications class which teaches 7th – 12th graders both digital literacy and how to use many digital tools.

3. Teaching Reading, Writing and Math, is not enough

You need to add coding as a basic literacy skill as it will be necessary to understand it, if not use it, in most jobs in the future. Some of our previous episodes cover this topic:

4. Safety must now include online safety

We all know we need to teach our children how to be safe as they move about our physical neighborhoods. But we must also make sure to address online “stranger danger”, how to create strong passwords, and how to identify phishing scams.

5. Mental and Emotional Health as relates to online interactions must be addressed

This means teaching your children not to be a cyberbully and how to deal with cyberbullies. It also means teaching our children not just about alcohol and drug addiction but also about tech addiction. And it means you and your spouse need to think through how much screentime your children should be allowed.

Subscribe to the podcast as we will be covering most of these topics in future episodes.

And be sure to join our Facebook group where we can talk about this together.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Homeschooling Digital Natives $homeschoolpodcast #homeschooling #homeschooltech

Why Homeschool Moms Need to be Tech-Savvy

Why Homeschool Moms Need to be Tech-Savvy

Episode 53: Why homeschool moms need to be tech-savvy with Felice Gerwitz

It’s our one year birthday!! Before we talk about “Why Homeschool Moms Need to be Tech-Savvy” let’s talk about birthday gifts!

If you find this podcast useful, the best gift you can give us is a rating and review on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. OR you can share about the podcast on your Facebook page, a Facebook group you are in or an online forum.

If you do any of these things, email me a screenshot of the review (meryl@mediaangels.com) and tell me which of FundaFunda Academy‘s web-based unit studies you would like free! Our gift to you!

Felice Gerwitz and her husband Jeff have raised and homeschooled five kids. She is a self-taught techie.
Starting a publishing company in 1994 with no knowledge but an arsenal of word documents and
publishing tools on her computer seven of her books have been noted in Cathy Duffy’s 100 and 101 Top
Homeschool Picks. She started the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network in 2013 and the Ultimate
Christian Podcast Network in 2017. Her podcast is Vintage Homeschool Moms.

How has the internet changed homeschooling over the years?

1. Homeschool journey began in 1986 and ended in 2018 and as you can imagine technology has
changed incredibly in this time!
2. The biggest difference has been in the Internet and cell phone use! We used books not online
resources until the end of my homeschool journey. People were afraid to buy things online
because they didn’t trust that their information was safe. Can you imagine that today? Social
media was just beginning – just to give you a perspective, I began homeschooling in 1986 –and
FB began in 2004!! And – I didn’t even join right away because I am a private person and wasn’t
sure I wanted my “life” out there.

Techie advice for parents in a technological world

1. Stay one step ahead of your kids – there are many tutorials on YouTube – there is no reason
you can’t learn
2. Set up a password on your kids’ phones when they are younger to limit internet searches.
3. Set up an iTunes account for your family so you can see all apps and purchases

How to keep from getting overwhelmed

1. Do it in the minutes you have now – don’t put things off.
2. Set up deadlines – or goals, daily – weekly, that helps.

My favorite techie tools

1. LastPass.com – we keep all of our online passwords protected.
2. Google Suite – all online tools, I used Google Docs when homeschooling so that my kids could
submit papers – I could edit them, and they could see my edits or comments.
3. Use Google Calendar – have the app on your phone as well as your laptop. Then print a hard copy of “A month at a glance”. You can even set up different calendars for specific things, like meetings/ events

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Why Homeschool Moms Need to be Tech-Savvy #homeschoolpodcast #homeschoolingwithtechnology #wiredhomeschooling

Using Technology to Eat Healthy

technology to eat healthy

Episode 52: Using Technology to Eat Healthy with Debbie Hanyon

In this episode, Debbie Hanyon from Homeschooling Dietitian Mom, joins us to share how she uses technology to eat healthy. Debbie is a homeschool mom and she has a number of resources on her website other homeschool moms will find helpful. Take a special look at her Meal Planning for Kids Curriculum.

Debbie’s favorite apps and websites for healthy eating are:

  1. My Fitness Pal
  2. Spark People calorie tracker
  3. Is My Food Safe app only available for Apple products. This app helps you determine how long to keep food before you toss it, what internal temperature different meats need to reach when cooked and other useful things.
  4. Eat Right website by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND)
  5. Choose My Plate
  6. Food & Nutrition Magazine App which is available on Android and iPhone and is put out by AND.

Listen to the episode to hear the specific aspects of each of these apps and websites that Debbie likes so you can determine which ones will help your family eat more healthy.

Show sponsor FundaFunda Academy has an online health class that includes a number of modules on healthy eating and uses at least one of these resources Debbie recommends..

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Technology to eat healthy - Apps and websites for healthy eating #healthyeating #homeschoolpodcast #homeschoolfamily

Free Website Creation Tools

Free Website Creation Tools

Episode 51: Free Website Creation Tools

Why is it a good idea to teach students to create websites?

  1. Useful skill
  2. Can be used for community service- 4-H group, Lego League Team, homeschool support group
  3. If they start a business they will need one
  4. Digital portfolios
  5. As a way to share what they are learning instead of producing a written report

Here are 5 free website creation tools I have used:

1. Weebly

Weebly has unlimited bandwidth even on the free plan, you can add a PayPal button and it is easy to use. The free version does, however, only allow a limited number of pages, and as with most of these free tools, has ads on the page.

2. Strikingly

I love Strikingly because it is really fast to create a website using it and the websites are very modern looking.

3. Google sites

Google sites is completely free and has no ads. It has very limited style options and you can’t sell anything on your website. It does integrate completely with all Google drive apps.

4.Wix

Wix has the most limited bandwidth of the free sites. Personally, I don’t like using it, but many do so I wanted to include it here.

5.WordPress.com

WordPress.com is easy to use but ads will show in random places. You also can’t have any affiliate links on it. It is nice to use for a blog.

Show sponsor FundaFunda Academy teaches website creation using some of these tools in their Computer Applications class but using the help on each website or looking for Youtube tutorials is another way to get started.

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Free Website Creation Tools

How to Create Online Choose Your Own Adventure Games

How to Create Online Choose Your Own Adventure Games

Episode 50: How to Create Online Choose Your Own Adventure Games

Here are 3 different resources students can use to create online choose-your-own-adventure games.

1. Text Adventures

Text Adventures actually has 3 different options to create choose-your-own-adventure games. There is the option to download software, but I have always used the online version.

Initially, you are asked to select between Quest and Squiffy. Select Quest (Squiffy is a little more complicated and only text).

Then you can start creating a Quest game. Now select ‘Gamebook’ in the drop-down option rather than text adventure. The latter allows you to create rooms with objects that can be manipulated. If your children enjoy the easier option, they could progress to this one. And this video explains how to get started.

But I suggest they start with a Gamebook type. In this version, they create choices for whoever is playing and the player simply clicks on their choice to continue down a specific path. This version allows them to add in graphics, audio, and video.

In my online US History class students research a Native American tribe pre-1492 and then turn their research into a game which the other students can play. Here are some you and your children and try.

Cherokee Tribe Game
Igloos and Ice-Fishing
A Day with the Seneca Indians
Shoshone Adventure

2. Google Slides

Hyperlink Google Slides to other Google Slides to create a choose-your-own-adventure. See the show notes for the episode I did on Google slides for a video explaining how to do it.

3. Twine

For a real challenge, students can use Twine which allows them to create more complex text adventures and even incorporate some coding if they choose to.

Visit show sponsor FundaFunda Academy for teaching resources you can use in your home or in co-op classes.

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

How to Create Online Choose Your Own Adventure Games #wiredhomeschool #homeschoolpodcast #homeschooltech