Audiobooks downage

Instead of clicking on a screen, boost literacy: turn on an audiobook.

Some research has shown significant increases in both comprehension and recall after using audiobooks.

Listening to children’s stories is a favorite activity for families with smart speakers.

Research doesn’t connect smart speakers to good readers, but every student can benefit by polishing literacy skills before school begins.

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Wearing waste?

Back to school shopping offers a new clothes option this fall.

H&M is allowing plastic water bottles to be upcycled into polyester. Bottle waste is sorted, washed and shredded into fashionable flakes.

Interesting twist on being eco-friendly.

Museum musings

Museum-going before school starts?

Although many museums showcase exciting use of technology and a variety of formats (my favorite new addition to the list: the Museum of the Bible in DC) new tech applications are triggering fresh challenges.

Museum excecs have always struggled with “unauthorized augmentations of exhibits, (ie unofficial tours,) but AR (augmented reality) has brought a new set of issues: Does a museum own the virtual space adjacent to exhibits and displays, or is that space free to everyone? A timely question for tech-loving tweens and teens to ponder.

Impact vacations

Mission trips traditionally take tweens and teens move beyond their comfort zones, but this summer, more families are making a difference through “impact vacations.”

Volunteering with a charity near home or in a vacation destination gives entire families the opportunity to serve. Activities vary with location, but often include cleaning up highway trash, delivering groceries to the elderly, and doing yard word for cancer patients.

I anticipate family impact vacations will be even more popular next summer.

Unplugging

Trending right now:

Parents are taking themselves and their kids off the grid at resorts that offer phone-free vacations. When booking this type of getaway, the hotel can be the “bad guy,” not mom or dad.

To bad or not to ban

The problem vexing administrators as they think ahead to the new school year: to ban or not to ban student cell phones.

Although cell phones have proven valuable in school shootings, the digital distraction is having a negative impact on learning.

Students at all levels are confident of their ability to multitask. However, research has shown that rapid attention shifts actually hijack our thinking.

Plus, the anxiety that results from being disconnected to phones, laptops and other gadgets also distracts from learning.

“To ban or not to ban?” The question is real. The answer is not clear.

Savory sweetness

Savory frozen confections continue to surprise (and delight?) this summer.

Flavors range from smoked salmon to maple candy bacon ice cream, but pizza-flavored might be the kid favorite. Children aren’t typically adventurous with food, but that hasn’t been true with ice cream.

I still prefer pepperoni, basil, oregano and garlic on a plate, not in a cone.