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Resources and discussion for parents, teachers and young people navigating the evolving landscape of the digital world.

Monday, February 11, 2013

These are a Few of Our Favorite Things (About the Internet)

snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
I started writing this post at least two months ago, and then I got sidetracked by work, holidays...life in general. Then Sam and I got fired up, the "gender issues" series finally got launched, and we completely went in a different direction than all our previous promises to write about happy things. With a blog like "Ethics 4 a Digital World" you can expect we are going to write about responsibility, good choices, identity protection, and safety. That's pretty much a given. Because so much of what gets reported about social media and technology in our society centers around sensational stories of people behaving in spectacularly stupid fashion, there is never a lack of material for us. However, we are huge proponents of using said technology to learn new skills, educate others, connect with experts in the field, stay in touch with family, read, watch, listen, etc. So we wanted to pause from the deep (and sometimes dark) places we are headed with other topics to bring a little levity to the conversation and highlight what's good about this digital age we live in.

A very small sampling:
  • BOOKS! You can read read instantly (ebooks), talk about books (book blogs), and correspond with authors on their own web sites. (Darren Shan and Julie Ann Peters answer their fan emails from teens regularly and personally.)
  • You can learn (for FREE!) how to write code in a variety of computer languages.
  • While you're at it, you can take classes at Harvard (also FREE!)
  • You can use tools to bring news stories and information about a variety of topics to YOU; you don't have to go searching for them.
  • You can not only view, but create phenomenal art.
  • You can get sound parenting advice and resources from experienced coaches.
  • You can practice your math skills and learn new ones.
  • You can stay connected with friends and family near and far.
  • You can view our nation's historical documents.
  • You can laugh at the cleverness and humor of others...or cats. (Since this one is so subjective, you'll have to insert your own favorite link, but I think we can all agree that funny stuff online captures a small portion of our time. We are particularly fond of Colonel Meow.)
  • You can be moved and inspired by the creativity of others. (watch all three short films--brilliant!)
  • You can keep track of all the great things you find online in one, searchable, tag-able, place that you can share with others.
  • You can visit outer space, the depths of the oceans, and all points of our globe in vivid detail.
This just scratches the surface...what's good about the internet can be infinite if you choose to see it (and use it) that way. Do you have any favorite things you found online that you just can't help but share with others because they make you laugh, cry, feel warm and fuzzy for a moment, or spit [insert beverage of choice] all over your keyboard? I mentioned in a previous post that I don't often find myself in the darker corners of the interwebs because I don't CHOOSE to go there. I will also admit that when I first started "surfing" the internet in the mid to late 90s, I did not get what all the fuss was about. So you can click a bunch of links and hop around from place to place...what's the big deal? Well, education is what changed all that for me (and, I suppose, the constant addition of gajillions of bytes of information). I now skip around from topic to topic, from one amazing website to the next amazing website, wherever my interests take me. As I'm sure you can imagine would be the case for a research librarian, Sam does the same. And we have found some incredible resources along our journeys.

Do you have a favorite you'd like to share? Where do your interests take you?

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