Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Post for Ch. 3

Sorry this is being posted so late. Just got signed into my blog again yesterday. I now have a New Post tab. Yay!!!!

Section 3 Super Summary
Dear Group,
I was really struggling with how to approach this week’s summary and decided I CAN write a letter. Therefore, here goes; my summary in letter form.
I was pretty frustrated throughout the reading of this section, and this book, for the most part. The author would like the readers to believe we are in the midst of observing the Dumbest Generation progressing into the future because of the vastness of the emergence of technology. I do believe there is a point and time in which all of us should choose between technology and the “in your hand” book. There is also a lot to be said about too much of a good thing. As an educator with an English class, I see, all too often, the student who can communicate a point in writing using the “text” jargon but does not see what is wrong with using “u” instead of “you” or “BTW” instead of “by the way”. They are also losing sight of proper grammar.
With this said, I still contend screen time is not necessarily making our upcoming generation “dumber”. I tend to agree with Lev Grossman of Time magazine when he states, “The new Web is a very different thing. It’s a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter. Silicon Valley consultants call it Web 2.0, as if it were a new version of some old software. But it’s really a revolution.” I feel the accessibility and availability of technology for our young people is empowering them to share their ideas and gives them an opportunity to hear from thousands of others all over the world instead of just within the walls of their school or classroom.
Another thought I had while reading this section and thinking about what I wanted to share; I grew up and learned without the technology that is available today. Now, as a teacher, I am sharing the information I absorbed and memorized with my students while allowing them to take advantage of the ease of research and investigation using the vast array of technology that makes learning fun and interesting.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Carolyn's Book Cover

I picked this picture because it portrays how I see today’s teenagers when they are trying to make sense of the world’s academic requirements.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Schwab's Summary of Chapter Four

Chapter Four: Online Learning and Non-Learning (pgs 111-162)

The author starts this chapter by looking at the findings of the Educational Testing Service, the company that brings us the SAT. They had high school and college students take a survey on their “digital research skills” and found that although these students could play games and enjoy all of the social networks that are available, they cannot manage the digital information available. They called this missing ability, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) literacy. As Irvin Katz, a senior scientist at ETS explains, “While college-age students can use technology, they don’t necessarily know what to do with the content the technology provides.”
Mark Bauerlein continues, citing several more studies about how students can definitely use the digital tools, but “On the first large tests of the aptitude, however, they failed. It seems that the judgment of Web content involves mental faculties different from the faculties cultivated by standard Web consumptions by young Americans.” What are these “Web consumptions”? They are MySpace, YouTube, Facebook and all of the games that teens and young adults flock to.
These studies notwithstanding, public schools across the nation have put screens in more and more classrooms since 1996 when President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act that has funded technology programs by using taxes on our phone bills. I can remember when our school received computers in every classroom—we called them Janklow computers and they were installed by cheap labor from DOC inmates! The computers were too few to make a difference (five in a classroom of 25-30 students) but we had access and could rotate students if we watched the clock.
But, as the book continues, access to computers did not raise our students’ math and reading skills. The educational games they played on the computers were fun, but students showed “little to no achievement gains…..students who were involved in them (digital initiatives) didn’t perform any better than students who weren’t.” In fact, two researchers from the University of Munich that analyzed the 2000 Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA) [see chapter one for information about this test], concluded “Once other features of student, family and school background are held constant, computer availability at home shows a strong statistically negative relationship to math and reading performance, and computer availability at school is unrelated to performance.” But yet we continue to spend huge amounts of our school budgets on updating our digital tools.
So what exactly is going on that is causing our scores to plummet? Well, the obvious is that students are spending too much time online connecting with their peers that they just spent the entire day with at school. This is time taken away from doing their homework, because it is just ‘too borrring’ and catching up on the latest gossip or teen trends or playing quick paced games is much more fun. AOL even has a page titled “Look at Pretty Pictures” with the subtitle “Because it’s better than homework.”
Another cited reason for poor scores is the difference in word inventories and the change in the reading ability of students. A low-reading, high-viewing childhood can make a difference in word inventories of several thousand words by the time a child reaches kindergarten. This gap never becomes smaller and only grows bigger as the child continues their academic career. This affects students’ verbal skills and their ability to be competitive academically and then later, professionally. But what interested me the most was the latter reason: the change in how students read when they are online. A consulting firm, Nielsen Norman Group, in California researched the Web reading and screen habits of teens and young adults. As the book states: “Nielsen has no stake in grand pronouncements about the Digital Age, and no speculations about “new literacies” or “digital natives” or “learning styles” surface in his reports. Instead, he bestows concrete, evidence-based recommendations regarding site design…He consults a more mundane factor, the habits and reactions of regular users in their routine usage.” I quote so that you realize that this researcher does not have any bias or reason to make conclusions that would seem a stretch to someone in an opposing camp. Nielsen found that whatever students are doing while they are online, it definitely isn’t reading as we know it with books. It is more skimming and scanning and jumping to another page if they don’t find anything of interest. He even came up with a name for that type of reading in his April 2006 study:”F-Shaped Pattern for Reading Web Content”. The readers eyes will track all the way across the first line or title but will soon be only looking at the far left side of the page, slowing in the middle (to form the second part of the capital F) and quickly falling down to the bottom of the page. As you can imagine, reading comprehension falls just as quickly.
At the end of the chapter, Mr. Bauerlein lays the blame of students’ academic demise on three separate groups. Students because, “They don’t realize that success in popular online youthworlds breeds incompetence in school and in the workplace.” Parents, “because it (technology) eases the demands of parenting, but they might be a little less inclined to do so if they weren’t led to believe in the intellectual benefits of screen time.” An lastly, “Blame, also, the teachers…who will not insist upon the value of knowledge and tradition, who will not judge cultural novelties by the high standards set by the best of the past, who will not stand up to adolescence and announce, “It is time to put away childish things.” Well said.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Book Cover

I chose this picture to represent the cover of The Dumbest Generation.  I thought it was a very humorous picture and although a pizza couldn't obviously be emailed, it shows how much we rely on technology in our everyday lives.  Students today have grown up with technology use at their disposal in pretty much everything they do.  Whether you agree or disagree with how students use technology, it is part of our everyday lives and we need to understand and educate ourselves. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Dumbest Generation: Pages 39-70

In Chapter 2 of the book the Dumbest Generation author Mark Bauerlein gives an incredibly negative account of the effects of technology on human society, specifically those in the age category of 18-24 years old. After reviewing the section I am torn on the effects of technology on society. Without question people have greater access to information than ever before. However, Bauerlein points out that societies ability to read has gradually declined since the mid 1980's and the greatest drop occurred between 1992 and 2002. Interestingly, this was the time frame that the internet became a world wide phonomenon.

In 2002 the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts was executed to determine the enjoyment people received from the arts and literature. According to the study there was an impressive response rate of 70 percent. Sadly the study found that reading rates fell dramatically from 1982 through 2002 and indicated that people were not reading at the same rate they were twenty years earlier. The survey indicated that 18-24 year olds were the second strongest reading group in the United States in 1982 but now they were the weakest. They survey broke down age groups by the following: 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65-74. The study suggests that the "youthful" 18-24 year old group no longer enjoyed reading like they used to. Considering that this is the youngest group it also suggests that reading for enjoyment is a thing of the past.

Bauerlein believes that technology is creating a dumb society because we don't need to know the basics like we used to. As he states in the book, "we can't spell and we don't know synonyms because there's less need to know. What smart person would devote hours to learning words that can be accessed at teh click of a button? Spell check can spell."

I believe Bauerlein brings up a good point. Many students in school don't have the basics because they don't need to know the basics. In addition, students would rather surf the net, play video games, or watch television rather than pick up a good book. With so much information society does not have the capacity to take in as much as they did twenty years ago. I agree with Bauerlein that if we would turn off the computers and television sets maybe we would be intellectually further ahead.

The greatest issue I have with Bauerlein's message isn't the legitimacy of it, but rather, how he conveys the message. Through the section I felt as though Bauerlein would grate at the reader with his cynicism and negativity. That being said, anyone who disputes all of his points I believe is inaccurate.

I think this is a great picture for the book “The Dumbest Generation.” The picture of the cat shows a mind that appears to be completely overwhelmed and blown away by what he is supposed to do. I have often felt the same when dealing with technology. I also think the picture demonstrates a feeling of the world coming down on top of the cat. Again – I can relate!