Too Few Overachievers

In this opinion piece, Jay Mathews at the Washington Post draws attention to something most visitors to most high schools in most parts of the developed world would echo:

For the vast majority [of high school students], academic stress is pretty rare.

Mathews’ attention was brought to the topic by the buzz around Alexandra Robbins’s new book, “The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids.”  His point is that among overachievers – students who take multiple advanced placement classes and seek admission to elite universities – life can be stressful.  At issue is that this population comprises no more than 5 – 10 percent of students in U.S. schools.  Mathews cites data from UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute.  The Institute –

regularly asks about 400,000 college freshmen how much homework they did in high school. About two-thirds say only an hour a night or less.

So an hour or less.  Hmm.  It’s not that there’s anything holy about homework, but Mathews references other research to highlight how time is being spent:

The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research collects time diaries from American teenagers. These documents make clear our youth are not taking long walks in the woods or reading Proust. Instead, 15- to 17-year-olds on average between 2002 and 2003 devoted about 3 1/2 hours a day to television and other “passive leisure” or playing on the computer. (Their average time spent in non-school reading was exactly seven minutes a day.)

The point is not to bemoan slothful youth, but to help these people poised on adulthood to enter their world ready to take their places.  And I think we’d all agree this isn’t prone on an easy chair in their parents’ living room.  Reminds me of Chungian Motion

Web 2.0 on These Days PBS show

These Days hostTom Fudge held a good background program on Web 2.0 that you can listen to or get as a podcast. CNET Editor-at-large Brian Cooley and Michael Arrington on his live show on Monday, May 8, 2006. Here’s a quick way to hear about the kinds of sites in the WebQuest referred to yesterday.

New WebQuest on Blogs and all

In preparing for a workshop today, I decided to engage the educators in a ClassAct Portal WebQuest on Leveraging the Latest in Learning Technologies. In other words, we’ll get folks to explore Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, RSS, AJAX and Virality and then challenge them to create a Real, Rich and Relevant learning site. I made it in about 3 hours (FYI because people always ask) using Web-and-Flow. Give it a spin and let me know what you think.

Colbert Analyzes Wikipedia

Reposted on YouTube Colbert has a go at “Wikiality” – the process of group think entered into Wikipedia can turn falsehoods into agreed upon reality. The interesting thing is that the lay person’s insight into Wikipedia is that it’s full of rubbish. I wonder how many have used it? Better yet, how many have entered serious content and had it rolled back because it wasn’t good enough?

Wikipedia Celebrates 750

With all the kicks it’s been getting lately, it’s easy to ignore the fact that Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years Of American Independence. Let’s work hard to help our students remember these important touchstones of U.S. history:

“At 750 years, the U.S. is by far the world’s oldest surviving democracy, and is certainly deserving of our recognition,” Wales said. “According to our database, that’s 212 years older than the Eiffel Tower, 347 years older than the earliest-known woolly-mammoth fossil, and a full 493 years older than the microwave oven.”

ICLT – Broken Bay Diocese

Today and tomorrow will be spent with my good friends in the Broken Bay Diocese. CSO - Broken BayOver the years , Paul Davis and Paul Meldrum have been good mates in supporting teachers in smart uses of Information and Communications Technologies. They have posted a Blog called Teachers Sharing with Teachers that capture the events of the ICLT Conference in Mingara, New South Wales.

Editure Thought Leaders Conference

Two days this week I worked with Editure – a new company made from several includingediture logo myinternet and CSM. Editure and its strategic partners and customers gathered for this first annual Thought Leadership Conference. I am fortunate to work with Editure as a consultant charged with developing a thriving community of users. We got lots of great feedback during sessions and explored how “Web 2.0” might stoke “Education 2.0.” Ilook forward to working together to develop a global group of leaders and users of editure software.

NECC Webcast

NECC WebcastA quick note about a Webcast I’ll participate in on Wednesday morning at NECC. Kidz Online has set up a panel with Will Richardson, Tim Wilson and myself to talk about “Web 2.0.” The realtime session is 9:30 AM Pacific time, but I’m pretty sure you can access it later.  I don’t fancy any of us will get much time to discuss things we could all chat about for hours, but I’ll be interested to see what new things Will and Tim have to share.  I hope I can advocate for quality use of blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc. over simple use.  I suspect I’ll campaign for a ClassAct Portal approach to significant use of powerful technologies as I did in the Why ClassAct Portals? article.

Okay, how old are you?!

So the teen repellent sound used by shopkeepers in England has been turned to advantage. The best article I’ve found on it is from National Public Radio. Inventor Howard Stapleton, creator of the Mosquito teen repellent, says only a few people over age 30 can hear the Mosquito’s sound.


Click to hear it.

The best response I’ve heard comes from a teenager: when asked how schools might respond to an invasion of this ringtone that only students can hear: “Maybe they should hire more young teachers…” Hmmm. Truly, I think it’s a practical joke – I can’t hear a thing!

the knock on your door at midnight…

Web VigilantesThe New York Times reports on a new twist on Internet Searching in “Online Throngs Impose a Stern Morality in China.” It seems it started with a cuckholded husband: the liaison first starting at a World of Warcraft gathering. The man’s wife hooked up with a college student and began an affair. After first forgiving his wife, “the man discovered messages on his wife’s computer that confirmed to him that the liaison was continuing.” He posted a 5,000-word letter on one of the country’s most popular Internet bulletin boards and started a wave of vigilanteism that carried over from the Web to real life. The husband brought his case before the Web court whose vehement condemnations of the affair accounted for a “10 percent increase in daily traffic on Tianya, the bulletin board with the most users.” But the response flew from the Net to the neighborhood:

“We call on every company, every establishment, every office, school, hospital, shopping mall and public street to reject him,” it said. “Don’t accept him, don’t admit him, don’t identify with him until he makes a satisfying and convincing repentance.”

This event raises significant issues in a country whose history includes the retributions of the Cultural Revolution and also suppressed freedom of speech. Part of the reason I found this article important to highlight is that my take on The New WWW may suggest to some that I call for a hard right turn toward morality. My point in studying the social changes induced by technology is to simply say, “Look, it’s all going different. The old rules don’t necesarily apply. There is no more black and white and intelligent and caring people must live with their eyes and hearts open to the changes coming all around us.”

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