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Weekly News Roundup 21st August

In this week's news we discuss new research on young people's attitudes to online privacy and apps teaching coding to primary pupils. We also consider a debate at the Aspen Festival of Ideas on whether technology can help us learn.

Teaching coding to primary school pupils

Coding has in recent year increasingly become a buzzword within education and children’s toys. A series of programmes and products are now available aiming to teach computer programming to very young children. KIBO is an example of this. Aimed at four to seven year olds, KIBO is designed to be both an entertaining toy and an educational resource to support the development of computer programming skills from an early age. While a programme aimed at older coders might ask you to arrange a set of constants, variables, operations and expressions, all written in something resembling English, into a logical sequence, a KIBO programmer arranges wooden blocks that carry stickers bearing symbols. These symbols tell a plastic robot what to do next. The child programmer has to lift up the robot and let it scan the row of blocks. When placed back on the floor the robot will carry out the command described in the blocks. Other computer programming toys aimed at young children include Vortex and Hackaball, but KIBO is so far the only product integrating physical objects in the development of commands. Read more here.

Can technology help us learn?

At the Aspen Festival of Ideas, a collaboration between the Aspen Institute of Humanistic Studies and the Atlantic Magazine, experts in technology and education debate whether or not technology can help us learn, and if so how. While some educators claim technology has changed how they teach, others disagree. Some experts in technology, such as a curriculum designer at Khan Academy, argue that technology and online learning is fundamentally changing access to education. Others argue that for many people learning involves experience and the human body and that this has not been yet fully incorporated into digital forms of learning. Watch the summary discussion here.

Teenagers protecting their privacy online

Teenagers are increasingly aware of protecting their privacy online according to research conducted by the Pew Research Center. Their survey shows that half (51%) of US teenagers aged 12 to 17 have uninstalled apps because they were worried about their privacy. A further 26% have uninstalled apps because the data that was being collected was information that the teenager did not want to share. This tendency is supported by previous research by De Souza and Dick, which found that teenagers aged 13 to 17 were less likely to share information the higher they deemed its value. The Pew study also found that 46% of teenagers are aware of location features on their device and have turned them off due to privacy concerns. Young people frequently use privacy settings on social media and according to Pew 60% of Facebook users aged 12 to 17 years old set their profile as private. According to our research 74% of secondary pupils in schools using one-to-one mobile devices use privacy settings on social media.

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