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  • Jason Berry

    "we are embarking on the painstaking process of choosing the best school for him."

    Isn't it a bit sad that choosing the best school doesn't mean sending kids to their local public school?

  • margaret.sequeira

    I think your ideas are great ways and make the point that technology can expand and deepen our in-person interactions. Definitely relevant not just to schools but faith communities, neighborhoods etc.

    I do have to take issue with maybe just one word in your article "we sensibly ruled out homeschooling." We are a homeschooling family. We chose to start homeschooling our child for middle school and will likely continue with high school. We are not religious conservatives..we are a 2 mom family, religious and political liberals. We just found school not to be working for our daughter or us as her parents. Homeschooling is not the choice for everyone but it is a viable option and the very technology you are talking about an even more viable one.

    Also all parents are educators - we are our children's first teachers and often we are the ones who know our children best. We often know what interests them, the best ways they learn - not because we know all the educational jargon and can apply all the right labels but because we are the ones that have watched them learn to crawl, walk, talk, grab things etc.

    So keep up the great ideas - I know some homeschooling families that would love them too!

  • Alicia Westberry

    Sorry, but this is a terrible, terrible idea, Children, especially young children, need to learn how to have face-to-face conversations and interactions. Society begins to break down the more people forget how to interact without the aid of technology. Who wants a deaf mute society?

  • Jane Goz

    I think it is a good idea, maybe for security reasons you can change some of the plan. what if it was an art class for parents & kids...and they could simply join the group in a chat? That way it is not through personal accounts and the parents are responsible for making sure kids are safe. Think of a virtual art class?

  • Gertu Rogers

    hello please if you can tell me how to upload photo in new post ?

  • msmorgan

    I don't know about doing this for kids but I was part of an online neighborhood Moms Group in Boston and I loved it!!! They divided the large group into smaller groups based on when your kids were born. They also had an advice area and a craigslist type forum for buying/donating/selling items. We moved away and I miss it a lot. I think it was genius and should be used in neighborhoods,churches, schools, etc. It did require a mediator to see over everything and does only reach those who have easy internet access. The hard part is getting the word out there and competing with everything else out there.

  • Dave Purple

    As a 'social media marketing' proffesional, don't you see an issue with publishing your childs home neighbourhood, school, after school group and family friends names in a public space? Combined with knowledge of your family name, that seems like an odd surfiet of information unrequired for your story.

  • elise.b.egan

    I think these are good ideas, with one BIG hole: what about students and families who can't afford internet access at home? There is a very large gap in digital literacy in our country, so I think that's something that you should also encourage efforts towards. I know at least one program (I do some work with it, so I'm admittedly biased) from Comcast called Internet Essentials which brings broadband to families with at least one student in the Free NSLP program (free/reduced lunch) at only $9.95/month.

    Just my two cents.

  • Steven Clift

    Great topic. I have a Kindergartner and First Grader so this matter. Last night my Dad's drinking group, oops did I say drinking ... powered by a Facebook Group had its month meeting. We formed off of our local online neighborhood forum - - which has lots of parent-oriented exchange. As local kids go to all sorts of schools, connecting online is one way to connect neighboring families despite different school choices. Speaking of parent forums, don't forget the Park Slope YahooGroup or these in Seattle that we documented for Neighbors Online seminar that we hosted. My key comment - if local communities aren't inclusive connected online - - then most of the stuff you mention won't have a decent launch pad audience. Also, if parents isolate themselves in parent-only spaces, their energy will be lost to the broader community.

  • seanthesavage

    Um, your kids are in preschool? This all seems a little over the top.

    It's great that your lifestyle permits this level of involvement, but I don't think most people could do all or even some of this and still hold down a job. Just having kids is hard enough, and most people send their kids to preschool so that someone else can do the educating and special projects.

    Also, I think technology is great for making our lives more efficient (I'm a web developer), but kids that young don't need efficiency. They need to learn how to be a normal, functioning human being. If the next generation of kids is only able to make friends with people they've previously vetted via social media, it will hamper their real life social skills and drastically alter the human race.

    None of today's adults grew up with the level of technology we have today, we've learned as adults, so I don't think it's necessary to immerse children with technology that deeply or that early. Those of us who grew up without technology have pre-tech skills to fall back on, and I would want my children to have these skills as well so that they're not permanently dependent on it.

    • mrs.merkin

      Share your thoughts or insights…I agree with you, SeanThe Savage...IMO, this all just seems ridiculous...I have a first grader, and we definitely don't have "iPhone in hand" when we go to the zoo, nor will we be creating a "lifebrary". I feel sorry that the author finds It so "difficult to organize after-school activities and take advantage of the diversity in the community". Maybe he should quit spending so much time on the technology and intereact with real-life, his child and and other people face-to-face. Really, wouldn't the four boys in the article have had a lot more fun going to the zoo as a group, rather than getting together a "few weeks later"? Obviously they did get together, so why not make one fun trip together, to the zoo the first time with NO screen time and not comparing those screens at pizza time?

      My "moms group" has been together since we met at "Baby & Me" group at the hospital where we all gave birth, most of us are still doing just fine with each other even though we are spread all over the area now, while we use social media and astoundingly enough, our telephones, we do not need our kids to interact through technology, then there's our preschool group, our friends and families, our native american cultural activities and now our "school" circle of people. If I suggested any of the above ideas to any of my "groups", I would be laughed out of the room. Nothing replaces human interaction, especially for children. I don't want my kid to sitting in front of screen, when she can be outdoors or interacting with real life. And yes, she does have "screen time" both at school and at home, but we limit it and she is certainly not addicted to it. And yes, it can be a great educational tool, but we don't take it with us.

      You can be the techiest anti-social lonely nerd in cyberspace and appear otherwise virtually, but really, there is much more value being a great kid and human being who is involved in real life and learing how to interact in the real world with other people, situations and nature at a young age.

      And I don't know why the author thinks it important for us to know where his kid goes to school or daycare (what about his child's right to privacy, for crying out loud?) it has no relevence to the article, and people (outside of NYC?) couldn't care less.

      I think he needs to watch "Wall-E" again and pick up the book "Simplicity Parenting.

      Our kids have plenty of time to grow with technology, kindergarten is not the time to start a life of non-human interaction. Like Sean said, we had none of this and turned out just fine

      (please excuse any typos, it's very hard to write in this tiny little box.)

  • PragmaticStatistic

    This article seems to be more about including social networking in the learning environment than about how technology can create a learning environment. A true technology learning environment would be an online site like MyReadingMapped where students can zoom in on over 100 interactive Google Maps of historic events such as famous explorer expeditions, ancient ruins, the American Revolution and Civil War battle sites, sunken ship sites, plane and train crash sites, disease outbreaks, environmental disasters, oceanic trenches and other undersea phenomena. Each location in each map has either a quote, a link to an authoritative source, or the explorers own eBook, or any combination of. Students can zoom in on and see the actual forts and ruins. They can digitally climb Mount Everest and K2 using the routes of famous explorers. In other words, students can digitally experience the historical event rather than just read about it. Now that iss learning.