Saturday, May 10, 2008

"Are wired kids well served by schools?"

That's what Stefanie Olsen asks in her News Blog on CNet where she reports that according to some researchers from the University of Southern California and University of California at Berkeley teachers and schools have very little influence on the development of the tech skills of their students.

One group survey by a team sponsored by Dale Dougherty, founding editor and publisher of Make and Craft magazines found that only 15 percent of programmers said that they learned to write code in school.

According to the piece, wired kids find school boring and are put off by the culture of delayed gratification fostered by school systems. While, by using technology they can publish their thoughts on blogs, their videos on You Tube and build their own personal web pages on MySpace or FaceBook. They are not doing this in preparation to apply to college or to find a job once they graduate. Instead they are socializing and seeking immediate recognition from their peers. In other words, kids get to be the producers as well as the evaluators of their work, while they are also establishing social networks.

Olsen reports that a Pew study found that as many as 83 percent of all kids play video games, and 53 percent of kids create media online.

In fact, the findings go further:
* 39% of online teens share their own artistic creations online, such as artwork, photos, stories, or videos, up from 33% in 2004.
* 33% create or work on webpages or blogs for others, including those for groups they belong to, friends, or school assignments, basically unchanged from 2004 (32%).
* 28% have created their own online journal or blog, up from 19% in 2004.
* 27% maintain their own personal webpage, up from 22% in 2004.
* 26% remix content they find online into their own creations, up from 19% in 2004. See Pew Study

In fact, according to PEW, 64 percent of wired teens answered "yes" to at least one of those content creation activities.

So are the schools and teachers being left behind in this technology revolution? What if any role should schools have in this sea change? Or, are teachers and schools irrelevant in teaching technology?

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