This podcast features interviews with 14 year old Solana and 8 year old Jack who share their perceptions and ideas relating to reading, writing, literacy, technology use, gaming and publishing on the global stage of the Internet. Solana has had her own computer since she was eight, and with the help of her father found the website KidPub to publish and share her own stories, poems, and other creative writing projects. KidPub requires that parents pay a small fee (about $12) per year for kids to participate and have an account. This prevents people from creating free accounts and commenting on others’ work without accountability and attribution. Solana discusses how motivational she has found KidPub and the opportunity to share her voice with others on the Internet, problems encountered with plagiarism and the ways the KidPub community self-polices itself, and the exciting connection she had made with other students who have taken one of her published novels (with permission) and started to create a movie based on the story on YouTube. Solana also discusses what she has learned about computers and technology at school compared to what she has learned at home, including her experiences using Diigo and trying to collaborate with other kids. She discusses things she would change (if she could) about technology use and Internet access at school so she could extend and further develop her technology skills there. She also discusses her experiences with online safety, accessing websites like YouTube and extending her searches beyond engines like AskJeeves to Google, and her experiences with inappropriate content which she has accidentally stumbled upon when doing Internet searches. She also discusses issues related to social networking and directly contacting other kids online. In addition to Solana’s comments, 8 year old Jack discusses the ways he uses computers at home primarily to play strategic games. (Note: The names Solana and Jack are aliases used at the request of the parents.)

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Show Notes:

  1. KidPub – a website used by young authors to publish and share their stories, poems, and other writing on the global stage of the Internet
  2. Scholastic 2008 Kids & Family Reading Report
  3. Alone in the Middle Chapter 1 (original story written and published by Solana on KidPub)
  4. Alone in the middle (behind the scenes) part 1 (YouTube video – Tells the story of using MS Paint, MovieMaker, and YouTube to publish a film version of Solana’s story from KidPub)
  5. Alone in the Middle (Paragraph 1) – 1st Paragraph of “Alone in the Middle” in film / video version on YouTube
  6. The Sims2 (official website)
  7. Savannah Outen Official Goodbyes Video – Songwriter and Singer who brokeout from YouTube to Radio Disney
  8. GIMP – Open Source Photo Editing Software
  9. SeaShore – Macintosh port of GIMP which does not require X11
  10. ASUS – Eee PC
  11. Intel Classmate PC
  12. Dawn of War game
  13. Command and Conquer 3 game
  14. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR) game (WikiPedia article)
  15. Cheat Codes WikiPedia definition

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[tags]technology,publishing,writing,reading,kid,kids,student,students,youth,literacy,publication,kidpub,games[/tags]


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  • Nice to listen to such articulate children. Presumably their scholl does not know of their use of the internet and their digital literacy, and so is unable to make use of it?

    I should like to know, how do they feel that their digital skills have helped them in their school work, and especially in their educational technology at school? If the school leaders had any sense, they would invite them to become ed tech mentors — to the teachers as well as other students.

  • Those are good questions, Terry. It was certainly both a pleasure and honor to interview them. If I have a chance to do a follow-up interview I’ll try to ask those questions, and I’ll keep them in mind as I interview other students in the months ahead about similar issues. 🙂

  • Terry is absolutely right! Just listening to Solana was eye-opening, in both her thoughts and diction. It was also very nice to hear her thoughts on myspace and the like, how she wouldn’t want to go behind her parent’s back. This is a great example of how fostering the use of technology at the family-level can help to develop trust between parents and children.

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