Facebook’s Lifestage – Would You Be Happy For Your Teen To Use It?

Facebook's Lifestage

 

First off, Facebook’s Lifestage is only currently available in the US, so you can breathe easy for now.

If you’ve not heard about it, Lifestage is Facebook’s latest app targeted at teens aged between 13 and 21 so they can connect with people in their high school or college.

Sounds harmless enough until you dig a bit deeper. Once a minimum of 20 people from a particular school or college start using the app, everyone in that education establishment can easily access everyone else’s profile.

Rather than status updates, users upload videos to show their likes and dislikes etc., but unlike Snapchat, the videos are available for everyone in the school to see for an indefinite time period. The app store disclaimer tells you that:

“Everything you post in Lifestage is always public and viewable by everyone, inside and outside your school. There is no way to limit the audience of your videos. We can’t confirm that people who claim to go to a certain school actually go to that school. All videos you upload to your profile are fully public content.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, there is no requirement when signing up to prove that you’re under 21 or that you attend that school, and once you’ve registered you have access to everyone’s profiles.

Users don’t have friends lists like Facebook, but you can block individual users, but until you do everyone can see your videos.

There is no news yet as to when, or whether, Lifestage will be available in the UK, but if it does it may be worthwhile talking to your teens about the potential dangers before they start using it. Especially due to the lack of privacy settings.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: Transcendit

 

 

6 Apps to Make Going Back to School Easier

Back to school apps

Summer’s gone and school’s back. It’s time to put the six week holiday behind you and get organised as your life once again revolves around the school bell.

We found this list of 6 apps that will make your life (and that of your kids) easier by Transcendit. They cover areas such as family organisation, homework, money saving and having an answer for that eternal question, “What’s for tea?”

We hope you find them useful.

Cozi.com – get the family organised
Cozi is a great way to keep track of what everyone is up to. You start with a group

There is a group calendar with a separate to-do list, to which you can add events, appointments and tasks. It allows you to assign a task to a member of your family, and the app then lets them know about the appointment in advance. The group shopping list feature means everyone can add to it (although you might want to vet some of the items that find their way onto it). Users receive an email at the beginning of each week letting them know their commitments, so nothing gets forgotten.

To make sure nothing gets forgotten, users get an email at the beginning of each week letting them know their commitments.

Photomath.net – app for homework help
Does your child’s maths homework leave you confused? This app is perfect for you. Just hold up the camera to scan the equation (or use the keyboard if you prefer), and the app will work out the answer immediately. You can then see the steps used to solve the equation, and click on each step individually to learn how to do it yourself.

Even better, it shows you the steps used to solve the equation. Plus, you can click on each step individually to learn how to do it yourself.

VoucherCloud.com – app for saving money
To use this app, just type in your location and the app finds any discounts, money off codes and offers in the area.

The offers cover everything from food and drink to internet bills. You can also ‘heart’ your favourite merchants, andVoucher Cloud will send you an email whenever that merchant has a deal on.

EasyBib.com – app for essay writing
Every essay needs a clear citation list of sources. EasyBib uses your camera to scan the barcode of a book (or type in the barcode number manually) and then generates the citation in seconds.

There is a choice of referencing styles and you can also email the citation to your friends straight from the app itself.

GreatBritishChefs.com – best app for weekday meals – Great British Chefs Cooking with Kids
“What’s for tea?” is the usual greeting when your hungry hoard get from school. If you’re running out of ideas, the Great British Chef’s ‘Cooking with kids’ app has a load of recipes that children can help out with, a user-friendly interface with lots of photos and easy to follow instructions.

The app is sponsored by Tesco, so there’s also a handy shopping list creator which links directly to their online store.

Quizlet.com – best app for revision
Revision is boring, but this app will make it a whole lot easier. It allows you to create flashcards for different subjects using terms and definitions. They can then be learned by swiping through each card and flipping them over, so kids can test themselves.

With the ability to put them into a matching game, a written test, multiple choice quiz or a true/false sorter, it will make memorising information a breeze.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Back to Basics with the Raspberry Pi

RaspberryDesigned to get children back into programming, the Raspberry Pi is a small (matchbox size) computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. Although it can be used for a lot of the stuff you use your PC for, such as spreadsheets, word processing and games, it’s been developed by a charity to encourage kids to learn to programme.

Eben Upton, founder of the little computer, set about designing it because of the declining capabilities he saw in new students wanting to take up Computer Science whilst he was teaching at the University of Cambridge.

Today’s computers have made technology accessible to all, but on the flip side it has made up increasingly reliant on the microchip and even more ignorant about how it works.

The reasoning behind the Raspberry Pi is to open up the world of electronics and programming to a whole new generation.

In an interview with PC Pro, Eben Upton said:

“When I was [at the University of Cambridge] as a student in the mid-1990s, the typical skillset that undergraduates came through the door with would be assembly language, maybe a bit of C, BASIC and a certain amount of hardware hacking.

The big problem has been that people used to learn the stuff off their own back – you used to have hardware that you could hack on and that’s a big problem

By the time I was actually interviewing, ten years later, that had changed to mostly HTML from people who had done a web page and the really good ones would maybe have done PHP – you’d get the occasional exception, but the skills have declined…

The move from very open platforms to completely closed platforms is a real issue – iPods and games consoles are closed and PC platforms are open, but have a very big barrier between you and being able to write a program for it.”

So, will it bring the technology a new generation of programmers? Only time will tell.

Do you have a Raspberry Pi? Perhaps you’ve also seen a shift in the knowledge of students? If so, leave a comment below and share your opinions.

Is Your Child’s IT Future Suffering?

school computers

There is no doubt that IT provision (and teaching) in schools has come a long way over the years.

Today, even some pre-schools have computers allowing the next generation to get to grips with technology from a very young age.

By the time our kids get to Primary School they’re already running rings around us when it comes to IT.

But, with today’s budget cuts, are our children really getting the tuition they need?

Historically our schools have invested in the latest IT equipment to help our children get to grips with the technological age. By instilling knowledge and confidence in computers from a young age, the age of the techno-phobe could be coming to an end.

But in this time of austerity budgets have to be cut and it would appear as though the IT department is being hit. Many of our children are now left floundering having to use IT equipment that is well and truly past its sell by date.

Recent research from Equanet (which sells into the education market) has shown that out of the 1,400 ICT school managers it asked, 41% revealed that the PCs used by their children were 5 years old or more. With 68% revealing their budgets had been cut by at least half of the levels seen in 2010.

What’s more, this looks set to worsen as more budget cuts will have to be made over the next few years. A worrying prospect that could hold back student development:

Cutting ICT budgets first is a very short sighted approach: students have become accustomed to using the latest technologies on their home PCs and even on their phones, so it’s increasingly difficult to engage with students if the technology at schools is more than five years old.” Paul Birbeck, Managing Director of Equanet.

We all know that budget cuts have to be made but short-sighted decisions could have a vast impact for years to come.

Information technology is a rapidly evolving area and one that we all have to keep up with if we are to remain competitive in the marketplace – be that in the business arena or jobs market.

Have you noticed an impact in your children’s school? If so please leave a comment below and have your say.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.