Friday, April 25, 2008

The silent schoolhouse

This week I conducted a presentation on the classroom benefits of Web 2.0 applications to a group of graduate education majors. These digitally savvy twenty-somethings, about to enter the teaching profession collectively expressed concern over the lack of social interaction skills of the net-generation.

"I understand today's kids text, IM, and visit profiles on MySpace" said one self-professed gamer. "But can they work together collaboratively and interact face to face?"

I responded by asking if the present model of education fosters social skill sets and verbal communication? I know three of my 13yr. old daughter's teachers outside the classroom and they all report what a good girl Allison is because she is so quiet and respectful. By my calculation, Allison utters less than 2 words per classroom hour!

A recently released study by Christine Wang and Cynthia Carter Ching, titled "Social Construction of Computer Experience in a First Grade Classroom: Social Processes and Mediating Artifacts," finds that students engaged in classroom computing are developing critical social interaction skills. Their research was based on the theoretical framework of social interaction theory by Lev Vygotsky.

To read more, click here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Quiet respectful students do not get the help they need at school. With the focus on standardized tests, the student's actual class room perfomrance is not access it's her scores - especially if she's quite.

I recently met with my student who's taking second grade for the second time's school counselor. she told me the tests say there's nothing wrong. I said, "he can't read" Since his test scores were ok he gets no special help.

Yet I know he really can't read. The need for interpretive rather than social scientific evaluation in the classroom is larger than ever yet given NONE zip zero credence. a teacher knows if the student has learned by talking with him.

The psychologist spent 15 minutes with my son and said he's fine he's normal.

after nine years, I can tell you he's more than fine - he's wonderful. But he's not learning.

Because he's quiet in class many teachers just let him be. His kindergarten teacher had no clue he wasn't learning until end of the year acheivement tests. so after 3 parent/teacher meetings where we heard how wonderful he was, she recomended summer school. We asked why we had never heard about this before. Well he's no problem in class....

Kids who are "problems" get the most out of todays broken educational system.

Encourage your children to squeak if they want the oil.