The Old is New: Television, the Internet and Students
by Peter Grunwald

This was a FETC 2006 presentation on March 23, 2006.

Peter did not want me to record and podcast his session. 🙁

Key trends
– millenials taking control of info they use
— 6 million personal websites and MM authoring
— influentials: new source of info
— importance of community
– Multitasking: kids decide where to direct attention
– digital kids and parents have high expectations: often unmet by schools
– education increasingly important to home tech users, esp to power users
– old is new: video continues to be important

Kids coming into school have come to expect that they are in control of the information they use
– kids are producing millions of personal websites, personal content
– multimedia authoring: kids are engaged in it, are interested in it
– there is enormous activity around the idea of kids as producers of content

community has been very important
– esp for kids coming into schools, esp in lower grades coming into schools

Multitasking: we’ve called it active media multi-tasking
– all of this feeds into a set of expectations that kids have at school
– many schools are not addressing this (esp those that do not exercise/have technology leadership)

Tech is becoming a big motivator in terms of how parents make decisions at home
– how the different technologies are starting to converge
– convergence is now a reality, not just a buzzword

Graph: findings for surveys for Lucas folks
– influencer attitudes and cahnge
– Lucas Survey of “Education Influencers”
– over 80% of influencers (educational decisionmakers, business and community leaders, educational administrators)
— a majority (over 80%) project based learning not emphasized enough
— almmost same amount say stdized tests are overemphasized
— about 40% say the yare satisififced with k12 education provided
— about 25% are satisfied with classroom access to tech

So there is a disconnect between these and the federal and state policy debates

Use of digital media by kids: approaching television
– hours per day among kids onlinne from home
– among teenagers (13-17 years old) that are online (which is a large majority)
— a majority of them are using digital media more than TV (computers, games, and internet use: not include handhelds)
– still more TV for 9-12 year olds and 6-8 year olds
— those hours and percentages
— can’t add these numbers up because kids are multi-tasking, using more than one media source

What do kids want out of the net
– top answer: new and exciting
– second best, about 75%: learn more and better
– community (NET)
– show others what I can do
– be heard

This is broken down between buyers and non-buyers
– graph copyrighted by Grunwald Associates

kids are interested in community, in connecting with their peers
– more elaborated things, multiplayer games, social networking sites, etc
– that is a key motivator

Kids are wanting to use technology for the purpose of learning, yet schools are not leveraging the ways kids are using the technology already


There is a substantial number of kids who are planning to have a site going down to young ages

Why do you want to build your own website?
– some variation of expressing themselves and experimenting with identity
– developmental stages they are going through are being mediated through technology
– this is almost diametrically opposed to the ways schools have been and are setup: transmitting information to a group of people as opposed to letting them interact with it

Students multi-tasking: deciding where to direct their attention
– other activities performed by children when online
– advertisers (some of them) are understanding this
– kids are watching TV while they are IMing and also on the phone
– other activities: listen to radio while online, watch tv while online, talk on the phone wile online

Many seem to view multi-tasking is an evil that needs to be stamped out
– like it or not, kids are getting more and more used

substantial portion of kids watching TV while they are online
– 4-6 years ago, we found with families using the internet TV viewing went down
– we took that to be good news from an educational standpoint
– now, instead of tv use going down, when new technologies like broadband are introduced, students are multitasking instead of just choosing 1 medium over another

Active multitasking
– over 40% visit a site mentioned by telephone on the phone
– same send an instant message at the same time they are talking to someone on the phone

Active multitaskers and community
– pretty consistently: kids said they want to be involved in community activities

82% of multitaskers expect to “always find something new and exciting” online
– multitaskers are interested in innovations
– they are thirsting for both innovation and community

Online kid influencers: who affect their peers and how much
– extreme influencers, influencers, and non-influencers
– minority kids and lower income kids were disproportionately represented

How kids learn about new sites: influencers vs non-influencers
– our finding run counter to the notion that loners who are not connected to others are the ones immersed with technology
– influencers are actually more open to guidance from schools than their peers

The good news: kids influencers and schools
– influencers across the board are more interested in school, and being influenced themselves by school, looking for guidance/suggestions from teachers, than were their non-influencer peers

Influencers and their parents
– kids who (or who say)
– influencers are more open to using technology WITH their parents, this was true well into the teen years

Influencer participation in schools…

Changing roles in school: students providing tech support
– 61% of large districts, 53% of medium schools, 54% of small districts
– that is a finding many have found consistent with the expectations kids have for school

What happens to digital kid expectations
– in many cases, kids are being disappointed by the reality they experience in schools
– digital kids high expectations = upgrade pressures on schools
– a majority of kids who have dialup at school say their home connection was as fast or faster than their school connection

Broadband home users that are kids overwhelmingly report their home internet access is faster (76% of them)

Students want more time on the NET
– attitudes re school use
– this has changed markedly in the last few years
– 50% now saying in 2005 that they spend too little time online at school
– only 38% of kids say just the right amount of time online is available at school

Another flag
– substantial portion of school tech users have said teacher skills for tech integration is “very good” or better
– just 7%, 93% say that skills are NOT good or better
– this is just the opinion of district decisionmakers

– clearly some of this is going oin
– interesting that district tech leaders think that it is

Most districts say they are doing data-based decisionmaking

Classroom use of video and tv
– relationship of tv to internet, research with PBS
– video use in classrooms is holding steady: well over half of classrooms are using video at least once a week in some fashion
– it is accessed primarily through traditional means
– some purchased and offair taping
– now some video streaming

reasons for video and TV use
– reinforcement, to expand on content
– to engage kids
– these reasons for using it have remained consistent

Video has become one of the more important uses of the net
– video segment usage
– providing video in segments

Most often used video length:
40% entire program
25% use segments
35% use segments and full length videos about the same

Teachers report videos are effective with a large cross-section of kids
– except students with severe learning disabilities and ESL students

Back to NET: software subjects still engage a lot of
– social studies, ELA the strongest
– some in math and science
– math and foreign language are still low users

Purposes of internet use
– broad set of factors
– content is age-appropriate
– see it largely as supplementary
– look for credibility
– look for it being free (89%)

very important trend: growing importance of parents in district technology decisionmaking
– substantial portion said parents are influential or very influential with selection of content applications, tech fund allocation, new tech planning
– very closely associated with early adopter districts

Across the board, those early adopter districts were more interested in a variety of districts

this is parental influence, not associated (independent) of SES
– very key variable for leadership and success: level of community participation in technology decisionmaking

dispersed decision making = tech leadership; upward trending budgets
– where decisions stay at the building level, the more successful that district is likely to be in its use of technology
– early adopter versus laggard districts report big differences with success


parents and funding models
– distracts very or extremely interested in innovative funding models, parental influence important there too

Change over time
– district tech leaders told us in terms of administrator and classroom use, they believe parents need to become more supportive of technology budgets

Parents being more supportive is strongly associated with districts that reported tech budget increases
– same for admin uses

Disconnect between parents “not getting it” in terms of administrative uses of technology, to the degree they support instructional uses of technology
– many policymakers and decisionmakers tend to value the administrative uses more

Implications (broadly)
– learning through multiple paths
– meet student expectations
– assume student control of information
– leverage parent impact on technology
– convergence: repurposing
– broaden the definition of school data users

Students need to be much more active, acting on information through project based learning and more generally through their use of technology, instead of being passive

Districts need to leverage the impact of parental involvement that we have seen in our surveys
– parents are ultimately the constituents and clients
– that is the strongest independent variable that helps predict the success of a district’s technology program


Often new technologies are being used as pipes for traditional content: like TV video
– however the challenge is empowering students to be multimedia authors in line with standards that need to be taught and addressed

who are the consumers of school data?
– that definition needs to be broadened
– most commercial folks providing tools for data driven decisonmakers are assuming the district leaders are the consumers: but we think the community and parents are also important consumers
– about the district overall, but also their child

Basic point: school districts and educators are going to have to take a look at the realities that kids bring to school in terms of use of tech, and leverage those to get and keep the attention of kids

infrastructure needs to accomodate technology in a way it hasn’t so far
– in terms of schedules (not based on my research): the rigidity of school schedules, and the notion that schools have to function as a factory, that students function as the input and the output, is profoundly disconnected from what we know about kids and learning styles in general
– that disconnect is more pronounced now than ever

policy research did not look at social networking sites

internet use ranked 10th on list of parent safety concerns several years ago
– broadly, parents have a more balanced view of dangers and benefits of internet use than our media and policymakers seem to

did look at issue of filtering
– has been a shift in recent years, for kids and parent views
– something like 1/3 in each category for parents: some think it is about right, some think it is not doing enough, some thing it is doing too much
– more kids think school filtering is blocking legitimate sites
– that research was not specific to interactive services, IM, etc.

no data on social bookmarking
– some mainstream sites have started to work with

To get these stats, he will email a PDF version of this
– can be found on PBS, national school boards websitre

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2 Responses to Stats on Kids and New Media

  1. […] My younger brother Adam, when I was at my dad’s recently was talking to me while playing some game he’d just bought (blood and guns etc.). I was trying to explain to him what the aim of the web site I had just launched was, and how people could publish articles and others could comment about the article like on a blog. His response was “oh have you seen my blog” and then started showing me his blog and the pictures he’d posted of his younger sister and other pictures and content he had posted. I was pretty astonished on how easy all this seemed to him. I suppose through simple comparison of my knowledge of it at his age (Internet didn’t exist ! just my Spectrum plus console) I came across this very interesting article by Wesley Fryer about how children are interacting with technology and their expectations and what we consider to be a new relationship with information and the control they have over it. It also discusses how schools don’t seem to be adapting to or taking advantage of this as well as discussing the significance for children of publishing (impact on their development and understanding of themselves). There is a lot of data, maybe speed reading to parts that may be of more interest to you will help. […]

  2. Jeff Cooper says:

    This post shows the highs and lows of technology today. The media runs rampant with how dangerous it is for children to have personal information online (and yes, it can be dangerous). The fact that a younger brother has pictures of his younger sister online is both exhilarating and frightening to me as a professional educator and parent.

    It is important to know that there are people who might want to use such information for nefarious reasons. It is also amazing that kids can do wonderful things with technology.

    The important thing is that there is a balance between what the kids are doing with what they should not be doing. They should let there parents know at all times where they are going and what they are doing online. Parents should be aware and post limits as they deem fit. They can’t parent adequately if they don’t know what their kids are doing. It is both of their responsibilities to work together on this. Secrecy on one side and ignorance on the other are not a good combination.

    However, there is an amazing world out there online. I am involved with a number of educational organizations (Tapped In, Takingitglobal, Nabuur) that give kids a chance to really become involved with others throughout the world in positive, interactive, and educational ways. Fellow professionals must also take the lead in communicating with kids, and help guide them, their parents, and the surrounding communities (both “real” and virtual) regarding positive and appropriate behavior.

    Please feel free to contact me with further information if you are interested in my recommendations and advice.


    Jeff Cooper
    Education Technology Support Consultant

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