First article today was Teens and Social Media from Pew Research. This document tries to give percentages to tell use who is using social media, when they are using it, and how they are using it. It breaks it down to age groups and sex of the participant, along with a more broad overview of how many use all the types. Interestingly, it also tracks how private they are with their online lives.
The main things that stuck out at me in the Teens and Social Media article was the statistics on income and sex relating to what the teen was most likely to do when online. The largest percent of internet users are the kids who have family incomes of over $75K per year. This makes sense to me, because they are also the most likely group to have access to an assortment of different media that is able to access the web--the best internet enabled cell phone, iPod, laptop. It also makes sense to me that girls are more likely to blog their thoughts, while boys would rather post videos. In teens, girls tend to be more expressive, tend to find it easier to put their thoughts into words than actions. they are constantly worried about how they look, how they are percieved by others. The boys, however, want to show themselves and what they have accomplished, they want to prove to others that they could do the stunt on the skateboard, they can do something daring and get away with it, without minding if they look stupid and having it out on the internet on YouTube forever. I did find it interesting that girls that are lower income, single parent homes are more likely to author those blogs than the rich kids of either sex. My best guess on that one without more research is that they don't have someone at home to listen to their thoughts like some of the others would, and they don't want video because they don't want that visual record to reach their friends that may show the conditions in which they live.
Second was Connecting the Digital Dots. The whole article talks about how we, and our students, need to learn new information and create new ways to do it, thus making our lives a complex web of a crazy dot to dot like we used to complete in elementary school, never quite knowing what the picture is going to end up being.
If we as teachers are supposed to connect the digital dots to ensure that our students get a full learning experience, but we are supposed to do it while still teaching the basic methods, how can we mesh those two schools of thought together? We need to teach our students how to think instead of what to think, but ISTEP still wants to test them on the what. We need to find a way to connect all the different digital dots, like facebook, wikis, email, text, etc. to see how well the students are able to put together the material they are being taught, how well they will be able to showcase their technological prowess, as they will need to do in their future employment.
Quote of the week from Digital Dots: "The challenge is in dealing with the complexity—the dots are
multidimensional, of varying sizes and colors, continuously changing, and linked to other, as yet unimagined dots. Nonetheless, to successfully connect the dots at any level in cyberspace means we must be literate, both digitally and visually."