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.