Tag Archives: mashable

Response #3: Smarter Phones, Smarter Kids

There has been a lot of discussion lately surrounding smart phones and their potential to be used as valuable teaching devices. This is even happening at the highest levels of government. In March of this year, First Lady Michelle Obama endorsed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Apps for Healthy Kids Challenge as part of her Let’s Move campaign. The competition is calling on game developers to create innovative, fun and engaging games that encourage children and teens to eat healthier and be more active.

That same week, Mashable covered the launch of Fisher Price’s new iPhone app for 2-year-olds. The games are designed to teach kids and keep them distracted. By the time April’s Fast Company arrived in my mailbox, I wasn’t at all surprised to see two young twin girls on the cover both holding smart phones with this text: The Real Smart Phone Revolution: How Tech Is Making Kids Smarter Everywhere.

I attended a forum earlier this year at the Kaiser Family Foundation that featured the chairman of the FCC, media executives and child development experts. The discussion surrounded the release of the organization’s national survey of media usage among children and teens. According to the findings, daily media use among young kids and teens is up dramatically from five years ago. The average American child aged 8 to 18 now spends seven hours and 38 minutes each day plugged in. Nearly 20 percent of media consumption occurs on mobile device, including cell phones, iPods or handheld video game players.

Today’s children are a part of a generation that has never known a world without ubiquitous handheld and networked technology. It will be fascinating to see how different our world will become when they  graduate college and enter the workforce. E-mail viewed as “old school” is only the start of it all.


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Response #2: Making Connections With Social Media

The volcanic ash over European air space is putting quite a strain on airline travelers this week. An interactive map on the New York Times website tracks cancellations in real-time. Many travelers are turning to technology and social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter for support, taking advantage of their many offerings in order to share information and build communities.

A couple stranded in London had quite a tale and decided to spread their story through a Facebook group titled When Volcanoes Erupt: A Survival Guide for Stranded Travelers. The group enables stranded passengers to share stories and offer advice. It currently has more than 1,600 members. The most popular hashtags among stranded passengers include #ridesharing, #getmehome and #putmeup.

Major airliners including United Airlines and British Airways are also turning to social media channels in order to reach their customers and keep them up-to-date on the latest information. Customers are very helpful in sharing this information by retweeting, enabling news to spread more rapidly.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg traveled to Washington, DC last week for the Nuclear Summit. According to Mashable, he is still stuck in the nation’s capital. Stoltenberg’s press secretary said he is “running the Norwegian government from the U.S. on his new iPad.”

For a couple stuck in Dubai on the day of their London wedding, modern technology enabled them to carry on with their nuptials while their family observed the event from London via webcam.

From the Haiti and Chinese earthquakes to the Iceland volcanic eruption, we are learning just how valuable social media and innovative technology can truly be.

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Response #1: Facebook Invades South Park

I absolutely adore South Park. The only other show that makes me laugh just as hard is Curb Your Enthusiasm. I always say that if I could spend the day with anyone, I would choose to be in the company of Larry David.

I read a few days ago on Mashable that the South Park creators wrote an episode on Facebook entitled, “You Have 0 Friends.” Naturally, I had to check it out. I just finished watching the episode online and must say it was absolutely brilliant. The writers did a fantastic job mocking the social networking site and shedding a light on just how superficial it truly is. They also ridiculed FarmVille players effectively, featuring a boy complaining that he did not have enough friends to fertilize his crops.

Gawker created a list of the top annoyances of Facebook that the episode covered:

  • The moment your friends annoyingly pressured you into joining
  • The moment your parents join, become obsessed, and take your ignorance of their profiles seriously
  • The moment your significant other starts trolling your profile and realizes that you haven’t changed your relationship status
  • The moment you realize that you have a friend who cares more about FarmVille than life itself
  • The moment people who don’t actually know you in real life think that they do and take online interactions—or a lack of them—personally

I highly encourage you to watch the episode for a good laugh. You can view it here. I’m going to sign in to Facebook now and add Kip, Stan, Kyle and Kenny as friends. I gotta keep my friend count up.

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