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Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Unfortunately, I see this happening with my own children. They have learned how to use the technology available to them to socialize with friends, watch movies, and listen to music. What they haven’t learned it how to use it correctly for gathering information. My oldest son is in his first year of college and graduated from a high school that was involved with the laptop program. He has had to submit his assignments electronically for 4 years. Now in a college situation, he is unable to write a rough draft for his English class. He struggles with expanding his thoughts and getting them on paper, but he can download any type of program needed to stay in touch with his peers.
Bauerlein goes on to explain the 2006 report called “How Well Are Students Learning” on page 195. The basic summary of this report states, “Countries with more confident students who enjoy the subject matter—and with teachers who strive to make mathematics relevant to students ‘daily lives—do not do as well as countries that rank lower on indices of confidence, enjoyment, and relevance.“(Pg. 195) What this tells me is that everything that we are asking our public education teachers to do to increase student success and promote that connection to real world aspects, is lowering this group of young adults chance to be a great addition to society, compared to other countries. That’s sad. Students need to learn independence and work habits in order to succeed. We need to step back and reevaluate whether the digital age technology is being an assistive device or a threat to the education of our students.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
When I first started to read this book, like most everyone else in our blog, I was depressed and that has not changed with the conclusion of the book. Bauerlein has made it clear that the younger generation, “may even be recalled as the generation that lost that great American heritage, forever.” (Page 236). While watching the nightly news I hear how American students are falling behind in reading, math, and science. I wonder what is it going to take to make administrators, teachers, and parents understand that we have to hold students accountable to the effort they put into their education?
How can American students be falling behind with as much information digital or otherwise at their fingertips then any other country in the world? Is Bauerlein correct; are we teaching our students to only think and care about their own little social worlds? Are computers really stupefying American students? I can’t really answer these questions. As an educator who has read this book these are the questions that come to my mind.
Bauerlein makes it clear that today schools are not helping today’s students. I have heard from administrators that we need to make learning “fun”. If we do this then students will want to learn…. Clearly that is not the case. I tell my students that learning can be fun but not always. That we also learn from our mistakes and it is ok to make mistakes but you have to figure out what you did wrong. Students don’t like to hear this. They want everything to be easy. Why do I have to work so hard on and on… For some reason students feel they should not have to think or work so hard. They should get things right the first time. I am not sure where this philosophy came from but it is rampant among students. I now tell students you will get out of your learning what you put into it. If you work hard and try you will do well. If you don’t you will not do well. Simple common sense seems to have left education.
Friday, December 17, 2010
One would assume that as technology improves, so would the basic skills of our students, but as the author points out, that’s not the case. Based on the popular belief that today’s students are struggling immensely in their education, and possibly technology is to blame, one piece of information really caught my attention. Bauerlein says that if we normalized scores, students from 1932 would appear to be deficient in today’s terms. Or, going the other way, today’s students would have ten times as many students “very superior” as the 1932 students did back in 1932. (Study information on page 92-92) I believe that part of this is due to the expectation that as we advance in the technological world, so should the educational outcomes of our changing educational system. “Enough years have passed for us to expect the intellectual payoff promised by digital enthusiasts to have happened. Blogs aren’t new anymore, and neither is MySpace, The Sims, or text messaging. Students consult Wikipedia all the time. If the Web did constitute such a rich learning encounter, we would have seen its effects by now.” (Page 108).
In response to this class being based on technology useage in the classroom, and making it real for the students, I fully expected this book to support that philosophy. It doesn’t. The lack of academic gains made by digital natives does not support using technology to teach. Students are using technology, yes, but they are not connecting that to the classroom or their learning experiences. In fact, some kids would rather not have the technology in the schools, and some schools that piloted the one-to-one initiative are now phasing out the laptops for their students. Kids are expected to improve academically as technology makes the world more readily available, and the money being spent in schools to ensure that is being wasted. Bauerlein moves once again to word exposure. Kids today do not engage in enough exposure to what he calls rare words. This type of exposure helps students read in context, to expand their vocabulary and even speech. I was surprised to see that cartoons ranked highest among rare word exposure for the screen, even more so that educational shows.
Bauerlein comes back to the idea that kids don’t much care about the classics, and he backs that up with a video documentary entitled, “The Artshow.” Through this the author points out that today’s kids don’t want to learn anything about those wiser than they are from the past. He states, “It doesn’t occur to him that absorbing the former might actually inspire and enhance the latter.” (Page 167) He continues on the next page, “It is the nature of adolescents to believe that authentic reality begins with themselves, and that what long preceded them is irrelevant.” The ruler of maturity no longer stems from formal learning. The attitude of today’s youth is focused on generational correctness, and has no concerns for politics or history. Bauerlein admits it takes several people to create out of our youth great policy makers and intellectuals, but he worries that with the “Dumbest Generation,” society is headed for a breakdown.
Bauerlein discovered that while some people believe that teacher centered instruction bores kids, and that student centered instruction will motivate kids, the opposite is actually true with lower level learners. (Page 189) We tend to overpraise kids and they want something for everything these days. What happened to hard work being the reward for hard work? “Few things are worse for adolescent minds than overblown appraisals of their merits. They rob them of constructive self-criticism and obscure the lessons of tradition. I can’t help but think here about the schools that don’t cut kids from sports. They create a second team so as to not hurt anyone’s feelings, which in the end deprives the kids who should have made the only team from playing as games are now split between the two teams. Those talented kids miss out on playing time which could advance their skills as a ballplayer and as a result, we end up with a bunch of mediocre kids and a lack of enthusiasm for the game.
The book concludes with a summary of “Rip Van Winkle” and a discussion of how today’s kids, “The Dumbest Generation,” are sleeping through the changes that are taking place. Rip had slept for 20 years not having a clue what was going on. Today’s youth as well have no clue about happenings outside of their immediate social circles. They have slept through movements of culture and historical events because they only concern themselves with their peers and events of the moment. Bauerlein argues that “if you ignore the traditions that ground and ennoble our society, you are an incomplete person and a negligent citizen.” (Page 233)
I very much want my students to be successful contributors to society. I worry that my students really will, as Bauerlein suggests, be “recalled as the generation that lost the great American heritage, forever.” (Page 236) I wonder as a teacher how I can prevent that title from becoming a reality, or if I even can.
While Bauerlein does not appear to approve of technology, he understands that it is here to stay, and as a result, the burden of learning to think differently lies not with the youth, the digital natives, but with the adults who must educate and work with the next generation in order to prevent societal demise.
This is important for me to realize as a classroom teacher. It is my job to prepare kids for the future, and now, not only do I have the challenges of a more rigorous curriculum, and parents who seldom anymore support their children’s education, but I also have to deal with the difficulties of teaching responsible digital citizenship as my students learn to be productive online and technological learners. I have decided that teaching technology to a generation that is familiar with about every gadget invented, even if they don’t know how to apply it to their education, is a partnership. If they can teach me how to use the technology, then I will teach them how to use it responsibly in an educational setting.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
In this chapter the author focuses his attention to the lack of adult mentors who are involved with troubled youths. He goes on to explain about a program titled Art Show: Youth and Community Development that focused its efforts towards saving students from dropping out of school because of failing grades in core curriculum classes such as Math, English, and Science. This particular group of students involved had artistic talents and they used these artistic strengths to assist students with their core classes. As the program evolved, these students overcame the educational obstacles and pushed forth with great success in the business world. Their artistic abilities were later used for artwork and business designs for many large companies. This is an example of how important mentors can be to young adults. The author states and I quote, “The long-term value stems from their human capitalization, the conversion of marginal young Americans into self-sufficient, confident, creative citizens.”
The author then goes into a discussion about a group of youth called “Twixters”. This group of individuals range in age from 22 to 30, have some college coursework or degrees, are raised in middle-class households, and live in cities or suburban areas. The interesting part about this group is their lifestyle choices once they are finished with college. Twixters aren’t overly worried about long-term career plans, having a home of their own, or finding that perfect someone and settling down. My personal favorite quote from this section is “They drift through their twenties, stalled at work and saving no money, but they like it that way. They congregate just as they did before college, hopping bar to bar on Friday night and watching movies on Saturday. They have achieved little, but they feel good about themselves.” This group is not following the rules that society has set. Society believes that at the age of 18, one should know what their future paths are and be ready for adult responsibilities.
The chapter goes on to talk about Poirier’s essay and a different mentoring approach. This approach was more student friendly but in the author’s words “yielded a terrible outcome”. It tells how independence and creativity were lost and so no learning occurred. Poirier stated that universities needed to change their academic structure to the new style of learning. He stated that traditional ways were not the way to teach young adults. The author goes on to state, “the teachers help, sometimes, but usually students consult “their own wits” and the input of their “close friends” matter more than in-class lectures.” Youth from this generation lack intellectual independence and rely primarily on their friends for information. This lacks the conviction that “knowledge itself is worth receiving.”
Youth from this generation are mostly concerned with themselves. Narcissism is plaguing the minds of young adults to the point that they do not see their competencies accurately. Mentors lack the knowledge of teaching young adults about empathy and sympathizing with their peers. Often times youth believe that they can accomplish far more academically then their achievement scores prove. The author states that higher level education classes such as calculus send a majority of students scampering to the registration office to drop the course. This generation would rather take the easy road to a college degree then to challenge themselves with higher-level classes. The author ends this chapter with “they need mentors to commend them when they’re right and rebuke them when they’re wrong. They need parents to remind them that social life isn’t everything, and they need peers to respect their intelligence, not scrunch up their eyes at big words.” The generation this book is talking about feels as if life should be handed to them on a golden platter and the silver spoon is destined to stay in their mouth.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
“Students don’t seek, find and manage information very well.” Pg 113. What a true statement to really get the section underway. The argument here is that students today are very comfortable with technology, they just don’t know how to apply it in meaningful ways.
In 2006, ETS performed a test to measure Information and Communications Technology (ICT) amongst our students. They discovered that the students flat out can’t perform in this area. This may be related to another study done by EDUCAUSE which showed that students who are considered tech savvy don’t necessarily want or need it in the classroom, while the other students who are not necessarily considered “tech savvy” only learned how to use the technology because it was used in the classroom, and then they only used it for the purposes in the classroom for which it was required.
Schools are understanding the importance of technology, and are trying to make technology in the classroom a reality, however often it happens at the expense of other programs. The focus tends to shift on using technology, not so much integrating it. One school provided a slogan, It doesn’t matter what you know, it matters what you show” in terms of technology use. That startled me a bit.
Students seem to be in favor of technology in schools, but test results are not necessarily indicating any academic gains. “Technology might brighten a student’s outlook not only for the obvious reason…but also because it saves them the effort of acquiring knowledge and developing skills” pg 119. If we are allowing student sot become lazy because we want them to use technology, then something is terribly wrong. Several schools have shown little to no achievement gains since going digital.
In 2004 a test by two economists at the University of Munich analyzed the 2000 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and discovered, that all other factors held constant, the availability of a computer at home shows a strong negative correlation to Math and Reading performances. As a result of the lack of academic improvements, several of the one-to-one schools began phasing out their technology.
Students who have grown up with technology (digital natives) have an easier go of using technology than do older generations. Just like a child who is brought up in a home that speaks Spanish will learn faster and find easier the school work written and done in Spanish than the child raised in an all English speaking home in a Spanish school, so does the child raised in a digital environment learn technology more easily than the adult who was not.
Also of interest in this chapter was a discussion on rare word usage. Kids who are exposed to rare words learn faster and with less difficulty than those who are not subjected daily to rare words, especially at the younger ages. In a study of rare word use, it was surprising to find that cartoon scored highest vocabulary of the television speech, however, they still lag in comparison to the printed word. Kids who are not exposed to rare words in written text lag behind those who are exposed which puts an emphasis on the need for more reading at a younger age and less television.
Game creators argue that complex video games teach higher order thinking skills as the games promote strategic thinking, problem solving, the requirement to analyze a situation and adapt quickly to changes. However, the US employers continue to complain about the un-preparedness of these skills in new workers.
As the chapter continues, Bauerlein discusses the ways in which teens and adults read Web Pages, along with studies of eye movement etc. He concludes that students need, not more computer literacy, but more patience and basic literacy. (As reported by Nielson’s study)
Technology today has provided almost too many choices. With limited choices, kids are almost forced to broaden their horizons by opting for something that might not be a great interest to them, but is more interesting that the alternatives. Now, we have access to exactly what we want whenever we want it. Students are no longer forced to choose something different – or learn about something new in their leisure time. When they are forced to do so, it is only in the classroom where the find it boring and mundane.
In close, Bauerlein says, “It’s not the under 30 year olds who have changed. What has changed is the threshold into adulthood, the rituals minors undergo to become responsible citizens, the knowledge and skill activities that bring maturity and understanding.” He continues on pages 160-161, “The popular digital practices of teens and 20 year olds don’t open the world. They close the doors to maturity, eroding habits of the classroom, pulling hours away from leisure practices that complement classroom habits.”
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Bauerlen opens this chapter in a very public place, the Apple store. If you have been reading this book at all you will soon realize this is not one of Bauerlen’s favorite places.
As in the previous two chapters he quotes study upon study of how children from ages 3 months to 21+ have been submerged into the clutches of the world wide web, and even with all this knowledge at their finger tips student’s test scores are not rising. He states, “As we’ve seen, it isn’t for lack of surfing and playing time, and the materials for sturdy mental growth are all there to be downloaded and experienced. Enough years have passed for us to expect the intellectual payoff promised by digital enthusiasts to have happened. Blogs aren’t new anymore, and neither is MySpace, The Sims, or text messaging. Students consult Wikipedia all the time. If the Web did constitute such a rich learning encounter, we would have seen its effects by now. An article in Wikipedia in Reason magazine by Katherine Mangu-Ward announces, “as with Amazon, Google and eBay, it is almost impossible to remember how much more circumscribed our world was before it existed” (June 2007). But what evidence do we have that the world has dilated, that the human mind reaches so much further than it did just a decade or two ago? The visionary rhetoric goes on, but with knowledge surveys producing one embarrassing finding after another, with reading scores flat, employers complaining about the writing skills of new hires as loudly as ever, college students majoring in math a rarity, remedial course attendance on the rise, and young people worrying less and less about not knowing the basics of history, civics, science, and the arts, the evidence against it can no longer be ignored. We should heed informed skeptics such as Bill Joy, described by Wired magazine as “software god, hero programmer, cofounder of Sun Microsystems,” who listened to fellow panelists at Aspen’s 2006 festival gushing over the learning potential of blogging and games, and finally exclaimed, “I’m skeptical that any of this has anything to do with learning. It sounds like it’s a lot of encapsulated entertainment. . . . This all, for me, for high school students sounds like a gigantic waste of time. If I was competing with the United States, I would love to have the students I’m competing with spending their time on this kind of crap.”
Bauerlen indicates that even though schools are going high-tech student’s basic skills are not advancing. There appears to be no correlation between what is being referred to as high-tech advances and traditional basic skills.
I feel there is room for both “camps” we cannot ignore all the high-tech advances that is available to today’s students but we cannot also ignore the studies that say students are not prepared for the workforce. There has to be a medium road.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
He states, " It's a new attitude, this brazen disregard of books and reading." (p.40) He reported that each generation has resented homework assignments, but no generation chose not to read because it wasn't a "valid behavior of their peers". He believes that today's generation thinks that reading books is an old fashioned custom and they will argue with people that criticize them.
He went to the University of Maryland to discuss the trend in the reading decline. After a discussion with the students, he determined that students care more about the celebrities than people that lead our world. If a students is caught reading a book that is not considered "accepted by their peers", they often times get teased and are considered nerds. Bauerlein states that "The middle school hallway can be as competitive and pitiless as a Wall Street trading floor an episode of Survivor." (p.43)
He described that reading is more of a social happening than a reading trend. He uses the example of Harry Potter. He articulated that the reason this book became so popular and so many copies were sold was not because children enjoy reading but instead other children were reading it and they wanted to be accepted among their peers.
Many studies were done and resulted in data that showed younger generations are reading less than older generations. A few examples of some of the studies are as followed: A report from the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts indicated that reading rates fell the most in the area of young adults and their relationship to books. The survey asked about voluntary reading not required reading for school or work. Their goal was to see what people do in their leisure time. The reason for the decrease was not because people couldn't find any appealing literature or because they don't have enough time or money. All the respondent had to do was scam a poem, play, short story, or novel in the previous 12 months outside of school or work to be considered a literary reader.
A similar reading decline between young adults and older generations was reported in the American Time Use Surveys. All respondents were asked to keep a journal of their leisure, work, home, and school activities during a particular day of the week. The survey stated that people in the 15-24 year old group, read about eight minutes per day. It explained that they enjoy more than 5 hours per day of free time, and watched more than 2 hours of television.
The American Freshman Survey indicated that 74.7 percent of freshman read outside of school for less than 17 minutes per day. It also states that "one quarter of high school graduates that went to college have never read a word of literature, sports, travel, politics, or anything else for their own enjoyment or illumination." (p.54)
The author explains that he is concerned about how many high school graduates enter the workplace with little or no reading and writing skills and how many freshmen end up in remedial courses.
The end of the chapter talks about E-literacy. President Jonathan Fanton of the MacArthur Foundation claims that "today's digital youth are in the process of creating a new kind of literacy, which extends beyond the traditions of reading and writing and evolving community of expression and problem-solving that is changing not only their world, but ours as well." (p.67)
Bauerlein's concern about E-literacy is why are businesses having to spend significant amount of money to offer in-house literacy tutoring to help new employees with reading and writing skills.
I think this chapter reflects only the negative side of technology and today's generation. He states that the generation that grew up on the Internet is intellectually lazy. He supports this opinion by facts but Bauerlein's evidence of how technology effects the youth is only what he wants us to read and understand. I don't think there is enough information to know if our new digital lives will make the next generation disinterested in reading, writing, art, history, etc. as adults.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Chapter 1: Knowledge Deficits
This chapter starts out discussing "Jaywalking" on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. This segment on Leno is where he asks random questions to people on the street about supposed general knowledge. The participant of course makes a fool of themselves on how little they do know. The author states that this is the life world of some people who do not know basic information.
The author then goes into the various ways that we chart the intellectual traits of young Americans. The most prevalent are the ACT and SAT. Then there is the NAEP, NSSE, ATUS, the SPPA just to name a few ( found on pages 14-15).
The author then breaks down each discipline and the information that is presented to us as far as how students score on these tests and really how much they do not even know. The scores have been steadily falling and in 2001 57 percent of seniors scored "below basic" on the history exam. 52% thought that Germany, Japan, or Italy was the U.S. ally in WW II.
The topic of Civics really isn't much better. In 1998 41% of teenagers could even name the 3 branches of government. In 2004 1/4 of the teens could not identify the Vice President of the U.S. As the reading goes on, it states that it really doesn't matter what university you go to. If you enroll in Harvard, Yale or UCLA the scores are just as pathetic.
Math/ Science/ Technology: These aren't really much better. It doesn't matter if Congress has passed umpteen bills on the subject, students don't answer the call. The numbers of students that are looking at going into engineering has been less than stellar. In 2002, those student who took, the ACT and were thinking about engineering was less than 6%.
Twelfth graders on the NAEP are sliding down the scale for their scores at a rapid pace. Most 12th graders cannot even score basic.
The current generation has a very distinct advantage. It enjoys first-rate culture and many more opportunities than students did 30 years ago. The spend more time in school. College enrollment alone rose 17% from 1984 to 1994 and in following 10 years jumped 21%. In 1994, 20% of adults had earned a bachelors degree or higher. In 2005, the number increased to 27.6%.
The current generation also has many cultural institutions available. Institutions such as libraries, museums, bookstores and galleries are open and all over.
Young Americans also have more money than they used to. Not many 20 yr olds had a credit card in 1965, but they do now.
The author states that all this is a paradox of the Dumbest Generation. They have life wonderful and have good so plentiful and liberties so copious that they should be above and beyond all.
The last thought that the author has on page 37 sums up most of the ideas in the first chapter.
"We must identify and describe the particular routines of the members of the Dumbest Generation that freeze their likings in adolescence despite more occasions for high culture, that harden their minds to historical and civic facts despite more coursework, that shut out current events and political matters despite all the information streams."
"The unique failings of the Dumbest Generation don't originate in the classroom, this only amounts to one-eleventh of their day. They stem from home, social and leisure lives of young Americans, and if changes in their out of school habits entail a progressive disengagement from intellectual matters, then we should expect their minds to exhibit some consequences in spite of what goes on in school.
This chapter for me was kind of a downer. It doesn't give much hope for those that are under 30yrs old.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I chose this image for my book cover because the book is supposed to deal with the dumbest generation - it focuses on how advances in technology have stupified our society. The image shows a teacher writing on a chalkboard with a flat world, and what does BC stand for? I worry that technology has caused us to go backwards in terms of basic knowledge and societal common sense.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Section One--Due October 28, Noel Johnson
Section Two--Due November 4, Heidi Kraft
Section Three--Due November 11, Peggy Mattke
Section Four--Due November 18, Wendy Schamber
Section Five--Due December 2, Debra Wilburn-Kerstiens
Section Six--Due December 9, Marie Slovek