Phones and Handsfree

This is an image of a road as seen through a smartphone being held in a hand. It is somewhat artistic.
Flip Car/Flip Phone? Soure: Pexels

Dear Ms. Smartphone: I had a near-miss when texting. I will no longer be driving this way! It turns out that the lease on my car is about to expire so what would be a better choice when I go car-shopping? Quentin, Sausalito

Dear Quentin: I don’t do vehicle research, but I can guide you through the issue. First, when you buy a car, make sure that you put the car first, and the infotainment system second. Then, have a look at this recent posting from the AAA Foundation. Researchers from the University of Utah compared CarPlay, Android Auto, and native infotainment systems. The Utah team have been railing for years about distracted driving and smartphones so their software tests are informed and useful. BTW, they say that texting and setting a navigation system are the most cognitively demanding tasks.

Ipads in Library?

Taking kids to library…where they play on Ipads!

Ipads in Public Library (Nashua, NH) (2013)

Dear Ms. Smartphone: Writing on behalf of my daughter. She questions why I take my grandchildren to the library every week, since they only play with the Ipads in the kid’s room. I suppose those Ipads are loaded with age-appropriate games and reading. When they do this, it gives me time to browse the shelves. Mora, Lexington

Dear Mora: It’s a generational thing- you and I may not quite get it. The skills for reading well and remembering content on digital media may be different than the skills for reading well and remembering content in print.

Many educators see the need to offer both. Check out this older podcast from Julie Coiro.I like the point that good readers and experienced gamers may differ in their reading preferences.

Here is a more recent story compiled by KQED radio. This Anaheim teacher is developing cognitive strategies that help to deepen reading comprehension (online?). We are at the infancy of our understanding the differences. Meanwhile, enjoy your weekly visit and encourage the grandkids to check out reading books, just like you do!

Smartphone and Running

Boston Marathon runner wonders whether to bring her smartphone along.

Finish with the Phone? Photo: Wired Magazine

Dear Ms. Smartphone: I have been training for the Boston Marathon for a long time and finally made the cut. Am I wrong to want to bring my phone when I run? This marathon is an important memory for me and I would love to get shots along the way. I am not planning on breaking any speed records and I have a zipped pouch to keep the phone safe. My friends say I should reconsider this. Brooke, Boston

Dear Brooke: No! You trained so hard for the race, don’t be distracted. Focus on running, not on selfies. There’s plenty of time before the race, and after to get your best pic. Do not overlook the fact that you might distract other runners if you take out your phone during the course.

Plan to have your friends cheer you on, say midway, or meet them at the finish line. This way they can snap the photo finish and you can set your marathon personal record. Good luck to everyone.

Remember to leave home without it if, you are a runner. Leave home with it if you are following someone or cheering them on.