Use Some Common Sense


While I’m somewhat inclined to break into a diatribe about the lack of common sense exhibited even amongst the highly educated in society, that’s not what this is about. This post is meant as an introduction to Common Sense Media’s Education (CSE) platform (formerly known as Graphite) instead.

You may have heard of Common Sense Media (CSM), because of their census on media use of kids. My first experience with Common Sense  was trying to find out if it was appropriate for my kids to go see a movie or not. The site is place where adults can educate themselves about the tech their kids/students may be using.

To see all that’s available use this handy infographic (or see it as a PDF with hyperlinks).

Common Sense Infographic


  1. Reviews & Ratings – Most parents are using CSM for the ratings and reviews to learn that a movie like Wonder Woman is a great family flick with positive role models, but you might want to know about Steve’s bath scene or the use of the words ‘damn’ and ‘bugger’. They even suggest conversations you can have with your kids. There are example questions including “What are women’s roles in comics and superhero films?” and “What makes Diana a role model in Wonder Woman?”
  2. Family Guides – Their guides include essential learning books, tv shows, apps, creativity guides, special needs resources, and a how-to on device-free dinners.
  3. Parental Concerns – Many digital parenting concerns are addressed with advice given on things like screen time, internet safety, social media use, and body image.
  4. News & Advice – You can find up to date tech news and advice form articles like “10 Questions About EdTech to Ask Your Kid’s Teacher.”
  5. Research – Find data in an easy to read format that gives you info on topics like gender roles in the media.

Overall CSM is a great go-to resource for parents trying to navigate their children through the choppy waters of modern digital media.

FOR EDUCATORS3 children on a computer

  1. Reviews & Ratings – Similar to the standard site, the CCE side rates apps, websites, and software, but it focuses on their educational use even linking standards and teacher opinions. There are also lessons on the site created by educators who use the digital tools. Feel free to follow my CCE page for updates on the tech I find most useful.
  2. Tech Tool Lists – You used to be able to create your own curated lists of EdTech sites and apps, but no longer😢. You can however still look through lists like “Essential Back-to-School Tools for Teachers” that Common Sense has created.
  3. Lessons – Create or find lesson plans linked to all the digital tools used. Here’s an elementary lesson I created called Classifying Living Things.
  4. Webinars – Join in or watch previous webinars across a variety of digital education topics.
  5. Digital Citizenship – This section is so vast and important that it deserves its own post. Check it out in my post “Responsible Digital Citizenship“.


If you consider yourself savvy in the world of EdTech then you might want to become recognized as a Common Sense Education Ambassador. The name and qualifications have changed over the years, and the latest requirements were just released. The requirements essentially consist of signing up (for free) and contributing to the site and the CSE communities. For more information register for the digital teaching and citizenship webinar that will be on August 29th.

To stay in the loop, get connected to the special CSE Facebook group, EdWeb’s Digital Learning & Leadership community, or EdModo’s CSE group. You can also follow their general accounts on Twitter and Facebook for the latest details.

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