Slider by IWEBIX

TechMama Talks: Work, Family, Education and Mobile Tech

TechMamas talkIt may have been a month since I last posted, but that gave me some time to think. During that time I decided to channel my dear Grandmother in my writing, who as she got older decided to share her authentic voice. Of course, that involved some embarrassing moments such as when she met a new boyfriend of mine for the first time and asked “I look forward to seeing you walk down the isle together”. I joked and said “you mean at the grocery store?”. But my Grandmother must of been reading our body language because we did end up walking down the isle and are a happily married couple running after our adorable but energetic three boys. I feel privileged to have met an amazing community of bloggers online and share my insights on technology. Now I want to go back to sharing my musings on life and important initiatives.

 

Parents and Work: I am excited to see women developing initiatives to empower and promote career advancement for women at work.  But from what I experienced as a parent, the job market is very tricky these days so finding work that offers a salary to cover the costs of childcare and extra incidental costs is a challenge. Many parents also need some sort of offer flexible work environments, which can add to the challenge. The job market has changed, there are new job skills required including technology and social media. In addition, while online networking has created multiple channels for career advancement, choosing the right channels to create real business opportunities is an important consideration.

 

The childcare challenge is not just a mom problem – it is a “parenting” challenge. I started a lively discussion on Facebook about this topic and I was thrilled to see responses of parents that are overcoming all types of challenges to work and also parents making the choice to stay home. I made a comment that we all value time with our children, that their happiness is the most important goal of whatever arrangements are made. I look forward to share stories on my blog of women that have found creative solutions to adapt to the modern workplace. Including women that have taken time off for kids then not only ramped back up to work years later – they BLASTED OFF!

 

Family Technology: We are at a time where you can stream, automate, use voice, consume content and entertainment in many ways and multiple devices. But families are struggling with helping their kids set screen time limits, stay safe online, learn social networking etiquette, decide what devices they really NEED and HOW TO use them. To make matters more complicated, kids now grow up surrounded with technology so it is second nature. For example, I have an Internet connected TV and my kids are the ones that signed up and are power users of Netflix compared to me. I feel so old school watching shows on TV networks. I know how to stream everything on my PC’s but at night I still like to turn on the TV and watch a show. My kids hardly watch traditional TV networks anymore.

 

Luckily because of my business, I also consume information and social network online which allows me to talk my kids’ language. At the same time I realize the online world is a dangerous place for kids that require a new type of education. I have been writing online for years about the concept I describe as “Internet safety is the new sex talk”. I remember years ago when I first said that at a social media conference in New York there was silence (shock) then lots of tweeting to share. Now that mostly all devices have a web browsers, it is hard to lock our kids away from the online world.

 

My perspective is that parents need to first educate themselves, then their kids, then create regular conversations and family rules about Internet Safety (and logical consequences if they are not followed). For example, sitting down with teens “together” to look at the privacy controls for all the platforms they are on and “discuss” which should be set to remain safe. But open conversations are key, and it should include cyber etiquette and consequences for inappropriate cyber etiquette (including going to jail!). In our family discussions, I also share age appropriate news stories as examples.  I want to spend more time covering all the online platforms kid spend time on. Of course, I find new platforms cropping up it seems like every day! Automated internet safety controls such as web filters, monitoring apps and privacy control settings are also an effective supplement, but they won’t keep kids safe everywhere they go because as I said web browsers are everywhere! So parents need to do the balancing act of setting “relevant” automated controls, communication and education. That balance is not easy!

 

No matter what strategy parents have, new challenges come up. Like how I tell a bunch of 10 year olds during baseball practice last year that they “HAVE NO REASON TO BE ON INSTAGRAM.. SERIOUSLY!”. Or how do I tell a lovely teen girl (family friend) that the number of LIKES she receives on her Facebook photo does NOT reflect her TRUE BEAUTY. Or how smartphones have become a tool that can get kids arrested if they take the wrong picture or participate in the wrong social media exchange. Or how dangerous the online world is, so much so that I need to have a SCARED STRAIGHT strategy constantly updating the teens I know of the mistakes I read about hoping that they can learn from them. At the same time, I am regularly amazed at some of the positive ways teens are creating support online. When our beloved hamster died recently my son said he received comfort from a Reddit Hamster sub directory (created to memorialize Hamsters that had passed away).  My son received sympathies from around the world when he posted a picture of our Hamster.

 

Education Tech: One of the challenges of our education system is that while more and more kids relate to visual, interactive and experiential learning, many curriculum’s are still based on inflexible models filled with worksheets. The shining stars are the Teachers and Schools trying to transition to experiential learning. Luckily, now there are so many ways to learn online that I could spend weeks covering all the websites and programs. After speaking at a few education tech events and meeting the edtech company founders, I decided that sharing the exciting opportunities that exist in digital learning is a passion of mine. I want to highlight the education tech innovators on my blog as a way to help support their important contributions they are making to the future of education.

 

Family Schedule Tech:  One of the main reasons I wrote the book “My Parent Plan” was to help families learn project planning skills. After years of professional project planning I know the concepts but at times still struggle with how to balance it all. With three boys now going THREE completely different directions, I decided to dive deeper into tech solutions to help me manage. Or at least keep my head above water..

 

Health Tech: Feeding my family a healthy diet is one of the biggest challenges I have each week. While I like the concept of eating plant based foods I am also balancing understanding what is best for my family that has different nutritional needs. I will be covering some of online websites and apps that can help parents struggling with healthy eating solutions. I will also be covering my comic adventures trying to convince my sons why healthy eating is important. Including how my teen is “dreaming” of going to a local burger restaurant someday again as a reward. And how at times he sneaks out with his friends to get junk food for dinner after looking in the fridge filled with “green” foods.

 

So while I am far away from being a Grandmom myself, I honor her voice by speaking my own. Whats on your mind?

 

 

 

 

Sponsored: Curb Texting While Driving, It Can Wait!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for a campaign with AT&T.

 

 

As a technologist I understand how being connected using technology is addicting. As a mom I not only feel the responsibility of teaching my kids texting safety, but also being a role model myself.  Texting while walking, riding a bike or anytime someone is in “motion” can be dangerous. But behind the wheels of a car, texting and driving can be deadly.  Because I feel so strongly sharing information about texting safety, I cover this topic frequently on my blog and am excited to participate in a campaign to spread awareness with AT&T on the It Can Wait movement.

 

The timing of movement will be during the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day—known as the 100 Deadliest Days on the roads for teen drivers. Let’s all join together to make sure your love ones (and everyone you know) stay safe by making a pledge NOT TO TEXT AND DRIVE!  Here is the press release with details about the initative.

 

Press Release:

Wireless Leaders Unite for ‘It Can Wait’ Campaign to Curb Texting While Driving

AT&T Joined by Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and 200+ Other Organizations; Multi-Million Dollar Ad Campaign, Major Retail Presence and Expanded Texting-While-Driving Simulator Tour Planned

Dallas, Texas, May 14, 2013

To take the pledge and see a list of supporters, visit www.ItCanWait.com.  For additional information and resources, visit www.att.com/itcanwait.

 

AT&T’s It Can Wait® campaign to end texting and driving was significantly bolstered today by the commitment of Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile US, Inc. and more than 200 other organizations to join the movement. Their efforts will support a new national advertising campaign, a nationwide texting-while-driving simulator tour, retail presence in tens of thousands of stores, and outreach to millions of consumers with a special focus throughout the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day—known as the 100 Deadliest Days on the roads for teen drivers.1 The 2013 campaign drive will culminate on Sept. 19, when efforts turn towards encouraging everyone to get out in their community and advocate involvement on behalf of the movement.

 

“Texting while driving is a deadly habit that makes you 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash,” said AT&T Chairman & CEO Randall Stephenson. “Awareness of the dangers of texting and driving has increased, but people are still doing it. With this expanded effort, we hope to change behavior. Together, we can help save lives.”

 

“The It Can Wait campaign is a meaningful way for Verizon to continue its work on this important issue,” said Verizon Wireless president and chief executive officer Dan Mead. “Texting and driving is a serious social challenge and we look forward to partnering with leading organizations and experts around the world to answer it.”

 

“As a longstanding advocate of keeping wireless consumers focused on driving, Sprint is proud to participate in the ‘It Can Wait’ campaign,” said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. “Sprint will continue to promote education of responsible driving behavior through our sponsorship events, social media channels and thousands of retail stores nationwide.”

 

“Mobile technology connects us in many cool ways, but adults and teens need to put it on hold while behind the wheel,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile US, Inc.  “Knowing the risks is not enough. By simply putting the phone down, thousands of tragedies can be prevented every year. It’s time to end texting while driving – for good.”

 

The campaign kicks off May 20, with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile bringing a multi-million dollar, co-branded advertising campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of texting and driving, and encouraging everyone to immediately take the pledge against it at www.itcanwait.com.  The campaign will focus on the stories of people who are living with the consequences of texting while driving.  Their stories will be told through various media including TV, radio, digital and social. The first story in the campaign will be of Xzavier Davis-Bilbo, who in 2010 at five-years-old, was struck while crossing the street by a young woman texting while driving—leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

 

Texting while driving is an epidemic, and it’s not isolated to teen drivers. It affects adults as well. A recent AT&T survey shows business commuters know texting while driving is unsafe, but they still engage in these behaviors. In fact:

 

They are texting and driving more than they used to.

  • Six in 10 commuters said they never texted while driving three years ago.

Nearly half of commuters admit to texting while driving, which is more than teens.

  • 49 percent of commuters self-report texting while driving, compared to 43 percent2 of teens.

 

Despite knowing the risks.

  •  98 percent said sending a text or email while driving isn’t safe.

 

For many, it has become a habit.

  • More than 40 percent of those who admitted to texting while driving called it a habit.3

 

USAA will collaborate with AT&T to take the It Can Wait texting-while-driving simulator tour to new audiences, driving the total number of planned simulator events to more than 400 this year.  USAA and AT&T will share the It Can Wait message with military audiences in a tour to more than 10 military installations and events across the country.

 

With prominent presence in AT&T, Verizon, Walmart, Sprint, T-Mobile, Best Buy and RadioShack stores, the It Can Wait message will be in tens of thousands of retail locations throughout the summer campaign period.

 

Also, government agencies including the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have all committed to help end distracted driving and support the efforts of It Can Wait and others who are working to raise awareness.

 

Throughout the campaign, It Can Wait advocates will take the message to their customers, employees and stakeholders in a variety of ways:

  • Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will share the It Can Wait message on more than 500 of its radio stations across the nation and plans to activate at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas – a two day, star-studded event that takes place in September.
  • DriveTime will feature It Can Wait messaging in communications to its employees and customers in their 100+ used car dealerships across the country.
  • Goodyear will incorporate the It Can Wait messaging into its high-resolution aerial sign on its three iconic blimps. The messaging will be displayed as the blimps travel the country and visit high-profile sporting events throughout the year.
  • Mobile device makers Pantech, HTC and Samsung are including the AT&T DriveMode®no-texting-while-driving mobile app preloaded on phones for AT&T customers.
  • Balfour is sharing It Can Wait messaging in class meetings with the goal of reaching one million students this school year.
  • The National Organizations for Youth Safety is engaging a minimum of 250 schools for Sept. 19 activities.
  • The City of Houston has launched an “It Can Wait, Houston” campaign to inform its citizens of the dangers of texting while driving.
  • The Texas Department of Transportation has included It Can Wait in its “Talk. Text. Crash.” campaign and on digital highway signs.
  • SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) has created a speakers bureau in which youth devoted to ending texting while driving take the message to community events, school assemblies and media interviews to bring the issue to life through teen voices.

 

Social media have been major drivers of the It Can Wait movement, which has inspired more than 1.5 million personal commitments never to text and drive through pledges made at ItCanWait.com, on Facebook, through text-to-pledge and tweet-to-pledge, and at events.  In the past year, more than 310 million unique user accounts have been reached through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alone.

 

Beginning May 26 and continuing through the 100 Deadliest Days for Teen Drivers ending Sept. 3, It Can Wait advocates will contribute to a social media campaign delivering daily reasons why texting and driving can wait.  The messages with pictures and personal accounts will be shared on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and ItCanWait.com.

 

The highlight of the summer campaign will be a national day of action on Sept. 19.  On that day, It Can Wait advocates will reach out in their communities to raise awareness of the risks of texting while driving, encourage everyone to make a personal commitment not to text and drive and recruit others to join the growing ranks of advocates dedicated to saving lives by ending texting while driving.

 

To take the pledge and see a list of supporters, visit www.ItCanWait.com.  For additional information and resources, visit www.att.com/itcanwait.

 

 

 

Giveaway: Tickets to Maker Faire May 18-19 (Invention + Creativity)

As a technologist that writes about setting rules for technology limits with kids, I am always on the lookout for events and activities that inspire invention and creativity.

 

The Maker Faire is one of those events that will inspire kids and adults to show their creative side. It will be at the San Mateo County Events Center, CA Saturday 10am – 8pm and Sunday 10am – 6pm. Here is a link for more information.

 

 

The Maker Faire About Page explains: “Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new, Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned.” It is a fascinating event that we look forward to each year!

 

I was thrilled to receive an email that gave me the opportunity to offer a (flash) GIVEAWAY for three families to win tickets for their family to attend the Maker Faire this weekend. Maximum of 5 tickets per family.

 

Update: Winners of tickets were randomly choosen -Sabz Moscon, Lizz Porter and Sandy Gram.

 

TO ENTER – PLEASE FILL OUT THE RAFFLECOPTER FORM BELOW.   *FLASH CONTEST* Contest ends 5/17 at 8pm winners will be notified by 10pm.

 

I am also excited to see the latest electric car from Toyota (RAV4 EV) will be at the Maker Faire. We hope to convert our cars to electric as we replace them moving forward. Here is the press release information about the new Toyota RAV4 EV:

 

The new Toyota RAV4 EV, the latest electric car from Toyota only sold in California; it’s a family-friendly car that’s piquing the interest of environmentally-conscious Californians. Attendees also have the exclusive opportunity to ask questions directly to people who helped develop the new electric car at Toyota.

 

Some of the activities in Toyota’s area will include:

·         Explore the RAV4 EV and speak with Executive Program Manager Sheldon Brown

·         Participate in the bicycle-powered slot car track (photo below)!

·         “Recharge” at The Maker Lounge with wi-fi and power outlets
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am receiving complimentary tickets to the event for hosting this giveaway. All opinions are 100% my own.

 

 

 

Dent The Future Conference 2013 Press Trip: Sun Valley

I was lucky to be invited many years ago on a magic bus ride to CES, which was the first time I had a fun adventure with the team from Parnassus Group (Steve Broback, Jason Preston and more). Over the years they always had the pulse of social media,  organizing events such as Tweethouse and It Won’t Stay In Vegas at CES.   So when I was invited to join the (pre) Dent The Future 2013 press trip in February (to check out the location) organized by none other then the Parnassus Group, of course I said yes!

 

Dent The Future (March 24-27 in Sun Valley Idaho) is a new conference that “explores the magic and science of visionary leadership and groundbreaking success. They aim to translate the success of great leaders in business, politics, or charity into a set of lessons for those who would “put a dent” in the future.”

 

While I had some scheduling challenges (including Spring Break for my kids) so I won’t be able to attend Dent this year, I already put it on the schedule for next year. I will look forward to bringing my whole family with me to enjoy Sun Valley while I experience Dent 2014.  Those who will be following the conference from afar like me can do so by following Dent on Twitter (hashtag #Dent2013).
 

 
Listed below are some of the details from the “Pre” Dent 2013 press trip in February. We had an amazing trip that was not only filled with fascinating discussions on social media, but also with the beauty and fun of the fabulous Sun Valley Resort. I will be writing another post with more details (and sharing my pictures) about Sun Valley Resort (which was a highlight of the trip!).

 

 

This is a picture I tweeted from Sun Valley on our last night of the trip – enjoying a great dinner at a local restaurant.
 


 

#dent2013  @sbroback @bikehugger @pop17 @scobleizer  @svalleysunshine  @techmama @visitsunvalley  @shaunacausey  @jasonp
 


 

Our group lunch on Bald Mountain included yummy food, beautiful location and lots of social media talk!
 

#sunvalley @sbroback @jasonp @scobleizer @chasejarvis @pop17 @shaunacausey ..@techmama @neilblecherman #dent2013 pic.twitter.com/qyOkry58

 

Here is a summary of some of the locations we visited (post with full details will be published soon):

 

  • Yummy places we ate during our trip included: Knob Hill Inn, Della Mano Restaurant, The Kneadery and the Konditorei for breakfast. But there are many other places to eat.
  • Zenergy Health Club is a great location for a workout and spa treatments! http://zenergyts.com/
  • Here are the two websites to find out more information about Sun Valley Resort: www.visitsunvalley.com  and www.sunvalley.com. We stayed at the Sun Valley Resort Inn and it was beautiful. There is a great transportation system to go to the mountains, it is not crowded and the weather is usually sunny (per the name “Sun Valley”).  The resort is very family friendly – and even has a mountain that is perfect for beginners or family skiing called Dollar Mountain. The other mountain (Bald Mountain) is great for Intermediate to advanced skiers.  The Sun Valley Snowsports School has lessons for all levels (and even family lessons). I was excited that they have a “fundamentals” day program for kids (8:30 – 3:30) that includes lunch. There are also programs for Intermediate or Advanced kids as well. There are other winter activities such as ice skating and sleigh rides.

 

**My next post will share more details about the beautiful and family friendly Sun Valley Resort.

 

Disclosure: Travel related expenses were provided to the press covering this event.

 

PATUE Meetup: Assistive Tech Tools To Support Learning

On Nov 27, I was excited to participate in the Palo Alto Tech Using Educators (PATUE) weekly edtech conference series. The organizer of this discussion was Sam Patterson (@LearningsLiving). His website, “Paperless Classroom”, is a great resource for information on how technology can help students learn. Meetups such as this one, hosted by PATUE, help both educators and parents like me interested in technology for kids with learning differences share important information.

 

I started my talk with a brief perspective as a parent who uses what is commonly called “assistive technology” to help my kids, each of whom has a different learning style. Speaking with me at the PATUE meetup was Shelley Haven of “Technology to Unlock Potential”. We met about a year ago when I attended one of her classes. Shelley is an educational technology consultant who provides assistive technology services including assessments, training, tech configuration, hands-on workshops, classes and more.

 

Her website is a great resource in this field and includes what she refers to as her Assistive Technology Toolbox, listing technology tools she uses with students and suggested resources. Shelley highlights on her website, Techpotential.net, that “Assistive technology can be a great equalizer, helping to level the academic playing field. The right technology tools can reduce the impact of learning barriers, leverage a student’s strengths, or provide an alternative means to accomplish a task.”

 

The two topics I discussed were 1) the Immersion Reading feature of the Kindle Fire and 2) the new Livescribe Sky WiFi Pen. Immersion Reading is a feature exclusive to the newest models of the Kindle Fire. Readers who purchase a Kindle eBook as well as the corresponding audiobook from Audible.com can listen to a professionally narrated book while watching it “come alive” with real time highlighting on the Kindle Fire. What I like about the Immersion Reading feature is the professional narration of the audio book making the story come alive, rather than a computer-generated electronic voice.

 

I stumbled onto this feature when looking into options for one of my fourth grade twins who loves stories but does not like to read. So for now, the Immersion Reading feature of the Kindle, when combined with audio books, is enabling my 9 year old “resistant reader” to listen (and follow) a new book every few days. When we ask him about the story he describes it in vivid detail, demonstrating high comprehension. He also is learning grammar and punctuation by following along in the text.

Here is a video on the Immersion Reading Feature:

 

 

 

The Business Wire press release on Immersion Reading explained:

“Academic research supports the assertion that all readers can benefit from listening while reading. In an influential 2007 study, “Learning through Listening in the Digital World,” neuropsychologist David Rose, Ed.D. and professor Bridget Dalton, Ed.D. drew upon cognitive educational research to report that “both learning to listen and listening to learn are critical to literacy in the 21st century as new technologies rebalance what it means to be literate and to learn.”

 

Professor David Dockterman commented on Rose’s and Dalton’s findings, “For struggling readers, narration can provide decoding support, but there’s an added benefit to well-narrated text that helps even competent readers. Hearing something read with expression provides additional clues to the meaning beyond the words themselves.”

 

 

The next assistive tech topic I covered was the new Livescribe Sky WiFi pen called Sky. This product is brand new and now has WiFi and cloud integration via Evernote. From the press release: “Livescribe smartpens digitally capture everything you hear and write, allowing you to simply tap your ink and play back everything you recorded at that moment.

 

“The Sky wifi smartpen wirelessly syncs your notes and audio with your Evernote account, making them immediately accessible on your computer, smartphone, tablet, or the web. When paired with your mobile device, Sky offers the natural feel and precision of writing on paper with the advantages of viewing, sharing, and saving handwritten notes on a tablet.”

 

 

Here is a video the demonstrates the Livescribe Smartpens:

 

Shelley Haven then discussed a wide range of assistive technology tools that can help “lower the hurdles” for those who learn differently. Shelley pointed out that even students who are successful at school may have learning differences, such as someone who can easily articulate an essay verbally but has trouble writing it down.

 

Some of the tools Shelley discussed during the PATUE meeting were audio textbooks from Learning Ally, electronic text and text-to-speech apps from Bookshare.org (Read2Go for iPhone and GoRead for Android audio), Inspiration for visual mind mapping, Kurzweil 3000 for study skills, Microsoft OneNote and Evernote for digital organization and Livescribe Pens for capturing handwritten notes and synchronizing these with recorded audio, allowing students to target audio playback.

 

Do you use any assistive technology for yourself or your kids? If so, please share what you use.

 

 

Tips To Use Tech (&Low Tech) For Homework Humor

It all started out of my desperation to inspire my teen son to do his homework, without a battle. That journey led me to creating my own 5 ways to use Humor as Incentive for Homework, which I wrote about for a Mashable post. The post shares my tips – along with a very surprising use of the song “Gangnam Style” by Psy (satire of the Gangham district of South Korea which is compared to Beverly Hills in LA).

 

 

 

My journey also took to Kimberley Clayton Blaine (TheGoToMom), who is a Therapist. Her video called -  “Be A Funny Family: Why Kids Need Laughter” taught me that laughter is key for positive parenting:

 

 

 

Having access to watch this video (and others like it) was a good way to arm me with ideas for using humor.

 

My humor post at Mashable also mentioned tips I learned from Mary Kay Morrison, an independent consultant who works in the field of humor studies and brain health has a book: Using Humor to Maximize Learning and Using Humor to Maximize Living. and website: Quest For Humor. Here are more details from Mary Kay Morrison about using humor for homework:

 

  • “Create positive communication between parent and child before homework time by telling riddles, or funny stories as a practice before beginning. Make it a point to engage in mutual laughter as part of the homework routine.
    Create a homework environment of fun. Movement is critical for learning, so encourage frequent movement. Let the child sit on a  yoga ball, give them a squishy ball to use when stressed, or a tennis ball bouncing break every so often. A great break is a laughter break. Laughter yoga is a great way to relax and get oxygen flowing to the brain. Just stand take deep breaths and laugh.”
  • “Set a timer with a reasonable amount of time allowed to complete the work. Let the child know that at the end of this period there will be a surprise. Examples of the surprise would depend on the age of the child, but can include time together reading a joke book. I avoid food as a reward, except on rare occasions, making sure the snack is healthy.”
  • “Be creative. For younger kids, give the child a flashlight, darken the room and have her spell the words on the ceiling with the flashlight. For older kids, do math homework while riding bikes together.”
  • “Have fun with assignments. Without telling them, put sticky notes with quotes, jokes or “I love you” notes inside the book or chapter that they need to read. Use a “hunt for the cards” idea for rote math practice like multiplication. Find weird places in your house and place the flash cards there.”

 

 

Do you use humor as an incentive for your kids to do homework – or humor in other ways? I always love learning new ways to bring (age appropriate) humor into our family.  Beyond Family Guy – which makes my boys laugh – but as the Common Sense Media site says — Family Guy is rated for 14 and above!.

 

 

Photo credit NickS

 

 

 

Reading Rainbow – The iPad App is Here!

I remember the first time I found the Reading Rainbow show many years ago. It was a way for my kids to get an entertainment and educational break at the same time while learning about new books.  LeVar Burton appeared in the show narrating the books with his amazing voice (with kid reviews as well).

 

 

This week Reading Rainbow  released a new reading adventure for kids ages 3 to 9 with their Reading Rainbow for iPad app. Key features  “include 150 interactive books (frequent updates expand the library), recommendations customized to your child, 16 video field trips and more to come, Interactive activities in every book , Reward program to motivate reading, Parent dashboard to share a child’s reading progress “.  Great timing especially during summer break when parents are looking for educational and fun entertainment for their tablets while they travel – or just for downtime at home. There is also potential that the app will be coming soon to select Android Devices.

 

 

 


 

PRESS RELEASE:

READING RAINBOW IS BACK AND IT’S AN APP!

LeVar Burton Reinvents the Beloved Brand and Inspires Reading for Today’s Digital Kids

 

Los Angeles, CA, June 20, 2012 – Reading Rainbow host and producer, LeVar Burton, today reimagines the iconic brand as a reading adventure App designed especially for the iPad.

 

Designed for children 3-9 years of age, the App delivers a library of hundreds of curated books and all new videos presented in a world of adventure and discovery. Traveling to themed islands, such as Animal Kingdom, My Friends, My Family and Genius Academy, kids find a variety of books and videos customized to their age and interests. The App brings together books from numerous acclaimed children’s publishers. Each book comes alive with audio storytelling by celebrity actors, including spoken word Grammy winner Burton himself, and features light animations and related activities to enhance the story.

 

Similar to the original series, children journey with Burton on exciting real-life adventures. These in-app video field trips connect the stories children read to the world they live in and use a combination of newly produced video as well as classic segments from the TV show.

“I come from a family of teachers, and when I was offered the opportunity to host Reading Rainbow in 1983, I recognized immediately the value in using technology to inspire kids to read,” said Burton. “Reading will never go out of style, but the tools used for learning are changing. I am excited to bring Reading Rainbow back so that parents who watched the show can now share that same feel-good experience with their own children but on a platform that resonates with today’s digital kids.”

 

The App’s many features include a reward system in which children earn digital stickers to motivate a continued exploration of books and frequent reading. For parents, ReadingRainbow.com offers a companion website and dashboard to get updates regarding time their child spent reading, books read and suggestions for new stories based on the child’s interests. “Family Reading Time” hints provide opportunities to discuss themes and lessons explored in each book.

 

At launch, the App will include 150 books and 16 video field trips. New content will be added to the service on a regular and frequent schedule expanding the library, themes and topics children can explore.

 

“We’re excited to offer a safe experience designed just for kids,” notes Asra Rasheed, RRKidz CEO. “We’ve created an easy-to-use subscription service for parents, allowing them to unlock the extensive Reading Rainbow library books and videos without the worry of approving and purchasing each item separately.” The Reading Rainbow App is free for download on the iPad and includes the ability to fully explore the App, the islands, videos and to select one book to read. The subscription is now available for a limited-time introductory price of $9.99 a month or $29.99 for six months at the App Store.

 

RRKidz has partnered with leading children’s publishers who understand the value of associating their brands with a name respected by millions. Launch partners include Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Holiday House, Charlesbridge Publishing, Kan