Can You Tell Me How to Get to the Sesame Street App?

Over the last few days, my son has rediscovered his Tickle Me Elmo doll.  That got me thinking about Sesame Street and how the iconic brand has done a masterful job of maintaining offline dominance while transitioning online with such aplomb.

As of last year, Sesame had 150 e-books available in four different formats with 15 book-based apps for sale.  But as much as formats change, core elements remain constant.  For example, one of my favorite books as a young child was The Monster at the End of This Book, which was originally published in 1971.  Now, I can share that experience with my kids but in the revamped digital version in which Grover now speaks directly to the children, who can decide whether or not to participate in the activities designed to help the blue monster overcome his fears about what lurks at the end of the book.

Sesame Street’s philosophy is that they want to be on any device that becomes a destination for the parent of a young child to ensure that parents find ways to interact with their kids.

Mission accomplished.


School Daze

Had my first faculty meeting at Boston University tonight.  Interesting take from my new colleagues on not encouraging students to bring electronic devices into the classroom.

As a professor, I feel like a major goal is to prepare my students for the real world.  And in the real world, we have access to our gadgets!  In meetings, at our desks, etc. etc.  My plan is to ask the students to turn their devices…ON!  We’ll see how it works out.

Hopefully by the time my kids reach college, having iPads and other gadgets in the classroom will be the norm, not the exception.

iPad Abuse

My iPad has been dropped, stepped on, left on top of the hood of our car while driving (true story – we actually turned around after realizing it was up there after 10 minutes and FOUND IT in the middle of the road at a traffic light), had apple juice and milk spilled on it, used as a cookie crumb catcher, etc. etc. etc.

I’m sure this isn’t out of the ordinary for any parent who lets their young’ins use the ubiquitous device.  I just wish there was something out there that would do a better job protecting it from my kids.

Wait, there is?  Thank you, New York Times.

Parents Digg Social Media

According to a new national survey by Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO, most parents have a positive view of social media’s impact on their children’s lives.

Of course, parents of younger children (ages 1-12) expressed more reservations about the dangers of social media than parents of older children (13-19).

My 5 1/2 year-old daughter has seen me perusing Facebook and has shown only a feigning interest.  Who knows when that will change?  When she starts Kindergarten in a few weeks?  Only time will tell and as of right now, I have no idea how I will answer the inevitable questions, “Dad, can I have a Facebook page?”

FreeCause I Said So

Today I heard about FreeCause, a Boston-based marketing and technology firm that is teaching its employees to code.  Kudos to management or whomever instituted this mandatory practice. The ability to code will be an invaluable skill for these men and women, surely giving them an advantage over competition whether they stay at FreeCause or move on to another job. I hope that someone in elementary education sees this and continues to champion the cause of teaching coding to kids in school.

Phone Home?

I am planning on upgrading to the new iPhone once it is (allegedly) available next month.  So the question arises, “Do I give the old iPhone to our 5 1/2 year-old daughter?”

According to this NY Times article and a respected pediatrician in Seattle, the answer is no.  The doctor suggests there is a growing consensus that the 11- to 13-year-old range is an acceptable time to equip a child with a phone.  A 2009 survey showed that the majority of children who have a cellphone get one by the time they turn 13.

I’m of two minds on this one.  My daughter can navigate the phone’s apps and functions with ease.  Also, it’s not like the actual phone or text functions will be operational.  However, think about how addicted grown men and women can be when it comes to their phones and consider how much more powerful that urge can be with a child.   Studies have shown that children’s brains are not developed enough to always exercise self-restraint.

What do you think?


A Beautiful Mindset

Today I stumbled across the Beloit College Mindset List, a nonscientific compilation meant to remind teachers that college freshman, born mostly in 1994, see the world in a much different way.

Released earlier this week, the List has evolved into a sort-of national phenomenon. This year’s theme is how wired the incoming college class is. Makes sense.

I found it interesting that some teens were insulted by the insinuation that they had no knowledge of events that happened before they were born. Yeah, how dare they!  That’s what Google and YouTube is for 🙂