Apple Computer’s “Digital Tools for digital students” website includes good info and great video interviews with both teachers and students on the realities facing digital immigrant teachers in classrooms today. Those interviewed on the site contend digital students are:
- goal oriented
Kids have changed, most schools have not. I love this quotation from Edgar, a student interviewed on the initial page of the site:
Digital media is here to say. Our job is to work with it.
Many adults seem to be in denial when it comes to digital culture and digital information. The following graph showing 12th grader perceptions of school from 1983 through 2000 is also an eye opener:
I think it begs the question of RELEVANCY for today’s schools, especially our large public high schools where dropout rates often exceed 50%. If you’re interested in the original report, I found it after a bit of googleing (“The Condition of Education”) on the National Center for Education Statistics’ website. The following quotation from the 2006 “highlights” page unfortunately IGNORES AGAIN the issue of poverty in US schools:
“While our younger students are making progress on national assessments and are ahead on some international measures the same can not be said at the high school level,” said Mark Schneider, NCES Commissioner. “U.S. students do relatively well in reading literacy when compared to their international peers, but they are outperformed in mathematics and science and our 15-year-old students trail many of our competitors in math and science literacy.”
Disaggregate the data, or at least listen and read the work of others who have. US middle and upper class students are doing just fine when compared with any other nation on the planet. Mark Schneider, like so many other researchers and politicians, fails to acknowledge in this statement the documented and well-supported contention that students from lower SES backgrounds generally perform lower across the board on standardized tests. We’ve got a poverty problem in the USA, folks– much more than an education problem. We need to reform education, but we need to do it while we STOP beating up teachers, administrators, and schools for failing to solve the problem of poverty which they did not cause and cannot be reasonably expected to singlehandedly overcome alone.
Resources listed on the Apple digital disconnect site (which contained the above graph) are phenomenal for anyone wanting to get more research and perspectives on digital kids. They include:
- “Educating the Net Generation” by EDUCAUSE
- “Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds” by the Kaiser Family Foundation
- “School Engagement Key to Student Success” by Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, University of California, Santa Barbara
- “Growing Up Digital Kids” by Don Tapscott
- “How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School” – John D. Bransford, Ann L. Brown, and Rodney R. Cocking, editors
- “High Score Education: Games, Not School, Are Teaching Kids to Think” by James Paul Gee
- “Child Power: Key to New Learning of the Digital Century: The Irrelevancy of School” by Seymour Papert
- “Voices and Views from Today’s Tech-Savvy Students” by the NetDay Organization
- “Integration Issues for 21st-Century Teachers” by Susan Brooks-Young
Charles Babatu Murphy summarizes our need for educational reform well:
We’re in a digital age. We’ve got a whole new set of requirements to function in a digital age. It’s time to change this model that we function in, because we’re living in the past. We’re living in our past. And they [digital kids] have a whole new future coming.
I agree completely. We need educational reform. Not wholesale, top-down reform, but empowerment to let states and localities pilot different and innovative approaches to education. We’ve got to find a way to make PROJECT BASED LEARNING the commonly accepted pedagogy within schools, rather than the exception to the rule. Many if not most public school teachers today seem to have bought the lie that their job should be primarily imparting a dearth of curriculum content into the minds of students like a firehose pouring water into the Grand Canyon. Look at our statewide dropout rates in Texas! (No, don’t look at the false and unethically modified statistics published by Rod Paige when he was in Houston, before he become US Secretary of Education– look at the REAL dropout statistics. We’ve got to change. We continue to lose teachers right and left in our schools within five years after they start teaching, and we continue to see students dropping out all over the map from public education.
Enough is enough. NCLB is not the solution, it has become part of the problem. We need to look at new ways of organizing schools and governing them so creativity and innovation can thrive. We need administrators with instructional vision for digital literacy, not just traditional literacy and schooling from the 1800s. We need teachers with the courage to embrace messy assessment and education as conversation as moral imperatives, not frivolous options. We need a change, and we need to work together to make it happen.
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On this day..
- Archived Learning from the 2015 Mobile Learning Experience - 2015
- Prevent Spiders and Bugs from Getting In a Garage Tornado Shelter - 2014
- Grand View THUNDERS UP! #playingwithmedia - 2012
- Get Arabic and English News Perspectives on Meedan.net - 2010
- Mining could transform the economy of Afghanistan - 2010
- Pro-Envelope lobby fighting paperless movement - 2010
- Podcast321: Getting a Global Perspective - The Power of Collaborative Projects by Dyane Smokorowski - 2009
- Momentous evening of family co-learning with WordPress - 2008
- VoiceThread archival export and comment moderation experiences - 2008
- links for 2008-06-14 - 2008