A new survey from Web filtering company St. Bernard Software and JAS Market Research found inappropriate Net use is alive and kicking in K-12 schools, with 59 percent of the 200 technology decision-makers polled reporting incidents ranging from students accessing games (the number one distraction, according to the study) and music file-sharing sites to pornography and violent content on school time.
The State of NCLB
The Education Commission of the States gave a mixed review of how states are handling No Child Left Behind requirements. While as of March, all 50 states "have met or are partially on track" to meeting half of the bill's 40 mandates, not one state has yet managed to meet the component of the legislation that calls for high-quality professional development for all teachers. To read more, see www.ecs.org/NCLB.
Television Not Dead (Yet)
Despite being labeled the Internet generation, today's teenagers say television influences their view of world, national, and local events more than other media, according to the Uhlich Teen Report Card, which surveyed 1,000 kids aged 12 to 19 via postal mail. Fifty-six percent of teens say TV has the greatest impact on their perspective of the news, while the Net came in third — at 8.8 percent — behind newspapers but ahead of radio and magazines.
For all you blogophiles out there, instructional technology specialist Tim Stahmer's Assorted Stuff is one of the more compelling Web logs covering K-12 education. In addition to waxing eloquent about the latest education news in the general press, his day-to-day experiences as an educator, and his thoughts on Apple iMovie versus Windows Movie Maker, Stahmer, who works in the staff development department of the Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, touches on politics, life in the District of Columbia, The Daily Show, and other, well, assorted stuff. What's appealing about the site is that it captures the essence of what a blog should be-timely, opinionated, and well-written-without being overly self-promotional. And OK, it's also got some pretty good rants.
Just in time for the November election is The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials 1952-2004 from the New York-based American Museum of the Moving Image. The online exhibit provides clips of over 250 television commercials, from "Eisenhower Answers America" to Bush and Kerry campaign ads, accompanied by historical analysis that would work especially well in social studies, American history, and communications classes. There's also a special section called The Desktop Candidate that explores political advertising in the Internet age. You can view, for example, Bush's Web ad, "Unprincipled," that was e-mailed to 6 million people and Kerry's response, "More than Anyone," which takes Bush to task on the issue of special interests. According to exhibit cocurator David Schwartz, an educator's guide is slated to be available this month.