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Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier

If you can shut down your left brain for a bit and suspend any judgement, the anecdotal flow of a PBS Frontline program (online only) called ”digital_nation: life on the virtual frontier” is absolutely worth immersing yourself in for a few hours.

Working within, analyzing and quantifying the emerging always on, always connected and participative world we’re living in, it’s often a challenge to stand back and take a 40,000 foot view of what’s going on and this program does a beautiful job of getting to the essence of the shift we’re experiencing.

The primary categories covered are:

  • Living Faster: Daily life in the age of nonstop connection
  • Relationships: How technology is changing friendship, parenting and love
  • Waging War: The changing nature of warfare in the 21st century
  • Virtual Worlds: The remarkable power of alternate realities
  • Learning: How to educate children for the digital age.

Each of these main categories has several subcategories that drill-down on key aspects. One of my favorite segments within the Learning category is called, "How Google Saved A School" and covers a middle school in the Bronx, NY--with the expected issues of an inner city school in a tough part of the country--that made major measurable gains in student performance (I'd tell you but don't want to be a spoiler).

The Learning section contains so many great segments that I found myself late for an appointment as I became overly engrossed in watching them. "The New Digital Divide", "The Class of the Future", "The Tech Fix", and "How Video Games Can Help" contain many revelations, surprises and realizations so I hope you go there and partake of this wealth of thought leadership and ideas.

Though many of you reading this may have already viewed digital_nation and another program Frontline created called Growing Up Online, if you haven't there is no better time to do so than before this next academic year begins.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Accelerating Change are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.