Friday, September 14, 2007

Major Mindset Shift Needed in Schools?

ESchoolNews reports on a survey of teens, parents, and school administrators that reveals a huge gap between in-school and out-of-school literate practices. While nearly 96 percent of teens report using social-networking sites and tools, more than 50 percent of schools report blocking such activity. For example, about 60 percent block blogging. It appears that this blocking is not a result of evidence of misuse but of fear of misuse. A link to the full report appears at the end of the article. This is reading worth doing if we want to consider how to best teach the students in our classrooms now and into the future.


Jamee said...


this is something i have been thinking about for awhile now - how to effectively incorporate such technological tools in the classroom; however, after reading your post and the online article, it occurred to me that what we possibly need is a one large school social network. something like SchoolSpace (school version of MySpace), where students can social network as they would through something like MySpace but in a school environment. As the article described, there are some technological social networking going on in schools right now, but something like SchoolSpace could be a good way to bring it all together. Connect all the differing educational approaches to technological social networking.

Some food for thought, I suppose :)

Danny said...

Louann and Jamee,

These findings are very interesting, and I find it very important to consider the 60% using the tech tools for school or academics. One of the problems is that the students know more than most teachers, and in today's classroom there is no time to catch teachers up on the positive uses tech tools could have in a classroom. Or is there???? Maybe schools could re-think there in-service days! However, I think we need strong leadership and support for the teachers before they will become comfortable using these opportunities. As a result, the only thing that can be done is to place restrictions on the usage. At least most teachers know how to support that.

Christine said...

It is interesting hwo many districts don't trust students when it comes to social networking online. I've worked in both Thompson and Poudre School Districts and have seen different attitudes in each. Poudre blocks, I feel, a ridiculus number of sites including educational blog sites. Their reason is that they have to block all blog sites just to be able to block the 'bad' ones. A couple times I have requested that the district unblock a particular educational site, but they have refused every time. I think we have to stop blocking everything in a particular category because they fit the basic profiles of 'bad' sites, and start evaluating for educational merit on an individual basis. Perhaps MySpace does not have educational merit, but a site like SchoolSpace (if created), could be a great way of encouraging kids to network and use the internet responsibly.

Trevor said...

The statistics below were the most striking to me from this article.

"Nearly half of students surveyed say they have uploaded pictures they have made or photos they have taken, and 22 percent say they have uploaded video they have created." I think these are two great project ideas for students in the classroom. While only 22 percent have uploaded video, I'd be willing to bet an overwhelming amount would love to make a film.

"Six in 10 have rules against participating in blogs."

"More than a third say their schools or their students have blogs, either officially or in the context of instruction." I had no idea that blogs were being used in schools so much. I think this is another multiliteracy approach that could be a fun learning experience.

"96 percent of school districts say that at least some of their teachers assign homework requiring internet use." This statistic is very vague, but I like the idea of having students use the internet as a learning experience. It might be fun to see some examples of the internet homework assigned by teachers. For the most part, these teachers are probably digital immigrants teaching digital natives.
I like Jamee's idea about SchoolSpace. Interesting.

Casey said...

I like Jamee's idea of SchoolSpace, and it could be set up like RamCT or Facebook where you have different classrooms or networks...but that would take a lot more trust from districts than what we are seeing.

This also reminds me of a time I had a student texting in class and when I asked her what she was doing, it turned out that she was texting to a sick girl's AIM sn the homework that I had written on the board. I thought that was fantastic, and couldn't help but let my mind wander about the possibilities of this in the classroom on a larger scale. Of course, I always get stuck on what to do for those who don't have computers or internet at home...check out laptops like the library? Have an afternoon computer club? Either way, I think this holds some wondeful possibilities.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Its such an amazing coincidence to come upon this post today. In the last few days we have launched an application on Facebook called SchoolSpace. By no means can we say we address all the ideas discussed in this post but hopefully we have made a start. Our basic premise is that many students are already on Facebook and many parents and teachers are also signing up (about 45% of Facebook users are 35+ according to Nielsen). You can check out this application and add it by clicking on this link.