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Saturday, July 02, 2005

More Young Children Going Online

In my Sunday edition of the Athens Banner-Herald at the beginning of June (05 June 2005 to be exact), there was an article titled "Study: More Young Children Going Online."

The article described how "23 percent of children in nursey school - ages 3, 4, or 5 - have gone online" and "by kindergarten, 32 percent have used the Internet" (p. B4). What are these kids doing, well they're "viewing Web sites with interactive stories and animated lessons that teach letters, numbers and rhymes." Not only is Internet use becoming more common, but according to the US Department of Education "two thirds of nursey school children an 80 percent of kindergartners have used computers."

Two months ago, I posted an entry that asked "Do today's students think differently?" (see - http://mkbnl.blogspot.com/2005/04/do-todays-students-think-differently.html). Two weeks before that I was asking "Will the virtual classroom redefine what it means to be a student?" (see - http://mkbnl.blogspot.com/2005/04/will-virtual-classroom-redefine-what.html). Three weeks before that I was talking about students with neomillennial learning styles (see - http://mkbnl.blogspot.com/2005/03/students-with-neomillennial-learning.html). The basic train of thought for all of these entries was that today's students are inherently different than students were twenty years ago, even ten years ago. Regardless if it is how their brains are wired, them becoming accustomed to technical methods of content delivery, or how technology has changed the way that they learn; there is something inherently different. One student in the Banner-Herald article commented "You grew up with music in your blood. Well, we have technology in our blood."

In raising these issues, the majority of comments that were made dealt with re-affirming that the media that today's students are immersed in are definitely different than the media that students ten or twenty years ago were immersed in (see "Today's Students Think Differently" as an example).

My question remains, with this next generation of students entering our schools with more exposure to and more proficiency with glowing boxes of all sorts (i.e., televisions, computers, game stations of various sorts, PDAs, digital cell phones, the list goes on), what does that mean for how we delivery education? More specifically, what does it mean for the delivery of virtual schooling?

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Blogger Nathan Lowell said...

It means that, unless we change the way *we* think about kids, education, and learning, we'll abrogate all right to try to teach them. Given the progress we've made so far, I'm not all that sanguine about the probabilities of doing anything useful in any kind of reasonable amount of time.

What are we doing today?
- confounding the boundaries between science and religion.
- substituting accountability for education
- lying to kids about sex
- limiting kids' access to technology
- allowing business to dictate social good
- requiring schools to perform with providing them with adequate support
- rewarding atheletes and penalizing scholars
- removing art and music programs from school curricula in order to "get back to basics"

In the online world,
- classroom solutions are still the answers to online educational problems.
- learners are managed, not taught
- teachers are suppressing communities because they are too broadly adopted
- students use online learning everyday, but prefer classroom based education because the online courses are the moral equivalent of trying to study with a deaf/mute teacher.

Other than that ... ?

The future's so bright
I've gotta wear shades.



12:16 PM  

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