Tuesday, March 30, 2010

TechBoston Academy Students Win PSA Contest!

Students from TechBoston Academy have won the 2009-2010 MARC Public Service Announcement Contest for grades 6-12 for their video about cyberbullying titled, "Anti-Social". The Massachusetts Agression Reduction Center will hold their annual youth summit on April 30. The summit is a free event open to all students in grades 6 to 12 and their teachers from any schools in Massachusetts. Students from all over the state talk about their school's programs and strategies to combat bullying. During the summit, the TechBoston Academy students will receive their award for winning the contest. They also get a limo ride to the event which is being held at Bridgewater State College. You can read more about the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center by going to their website. Below, you can view the "Anti-Social" video.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Massachusetts Legislature Approves Anti-Bullying Legislation

Last week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously approved an anti-bullying bill in an effort to "secure our students from bullying, both during the school day and after school hours." The Senate previously approved the measure. According to an article in the Boston Globe, Governor Patrick has indicated that he will sign the bill after it has been reconciled in committee between the House and Senate. Also from the article, in the House's version of the bill, bullying is defined as "the repeated use by a perpetrator of a written, verbal, or electronic expression, or physical act or gesture...directed at a victim that causes physical or emotional harm or damage to the victim's property; places the victim in reasonable fear or harm to himself or of damage to his property; [or] creates a hostile environment at school."

The legislation requires school officials to report bullying to the school principal and that the principal must contact law enforcement if it is determined that the incident is a criminal act. The bill also includes funding for training school officials and teachers on how to identify and respond to bullying. You can also read about the legislation from an article in the Boston Herald.

Friday, March 12, 2010

City Announces Anti-Cyberbullying Contest

The city of Boston has announced an anti-cyberbullying contest that is open to all residents of Boston who are enrolled in grades K-12. The contest calls for "artistic submissions promoting healthy online behavior". Works of art can include posters, videos, songs, poetry and more. Students in Boston public schools, charter schools, and private schools are all welcome to apply. The contest is broken up into two category themes. For students in grades K-5, the theme is "Be Kind Online". For students in grades 6-12, the theme is "Keep it Social". All submissions are required to include the city's new anti-bullying hotline, (617) 534-5050. Entries are due by April 30, 2010. One winner will be selected from each grade level and will be publicly recognized my Mayor Menino. For more information about the contest, please go to the BPS cybersafety website to download the contest flyer and guidelines.

Friday, March 5, 2010

PBS Frontline Special: digital_nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier

Two weeks ago, PBS Frontline aired its special "digtial_nation - life on the virtual frontier". This new look into how digital media has transformed our lives is from the same producer that brought us the ground-breaking Frontline special, Growing Up Online, back in 2008. The 90 minute documentary takes a closer look at both the positive and negative effects that are the result of our now constantly connected lifestyles. There is a fascinating look at a group of MIT students and how the distractions caused by multitasking with technology may be a disservice to them. There is also a look at a high school which values technology as a vital teaching tool for today's students. The documentary does a very nice job of not creating a viewpoint that is slanted for or against technology, but the impact that technology has on many different facets of our lives. You can watch the video in its entirety on the PBS Frontline website, or you can watch it in smaller segments. The website also has lots of extra videos that weren't included in the original airing of the episode.