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Gleanings Girls Building a Home on the Web Countering conventional notions about gender and technology, a new survey reveals that girls are in fact more likely than boys to have personal Web sites. "Children, Families, and the Internet," the latest study from research firm Grunwald Associates, found 12.2 percent of
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Girls Building a Home on the Web

Countering conventional notions about gender and technology, a new survey reveals that girls are in fact more likely than boys to have personal Web sites. "Children, Families, and the Internet," the latest study from research firm Grunwald Associates, found 12.2 percent of girls online have their own sites compared to 8.6 percent of boys. Overall, more than 2 million U.S. kids aged 6-17 have carved out a personal spot in cyberspace — a number expected to triple to 6 million by 2005.

Why Tech Lacks Impact: A Theory

"No Access, No Use, No Impact: Snapshot Surveys of Educational Technology in K-12," recently published in the Journal of Research on Technology in Education, reports unsettling statistics about technology use in schools, given the billions of dollars invested over the past decade. According to the study, 45 percent of teachers use computers for instruction less than 15 minutes per week, and over 25 percent make no use of the Net whatsoever. Researchers cite lack of meaningful access to technology as the culprit: 63 percent of teachers work in one-computer classrooms, for example.

Educators Rate

Readers had lots to say about, the uber-popular Web site where kids can anonymously rank their teachers. Fifty-two percent of respondents to our online QuickPoll thought it was a good idea. In addition to invoking freedom of speech, there were a lot of salt metaphors ("Take it with a grain of salt"; "Any teacher worth their salt should not worry about this issue!"). Forty-eight percent disagreed, however, with the most common criticism being that students don't have the maturity to rate teachers fairly. More than one educator asked: "When will be online?"

Hit List


T&L QuickPoll

Do you think students should be able to rate their teachers in a public forum?

Bad idea: 48%
Good idea: 52%

If you've been following the debate journalist Todd Oppenheimer set off with his 1997 Atlantic Monthly article "The Computer Delusion," and more recently, his book The Flickering Mind: The False Promise of Technology in the Classroom and How Learning Can Be Saved, then turn to Jamie McKenzie's online journal From Now On for a full-metal-jacket rebuttal. In an article titled "One Flew Over the High School," McKenzie, a veteran educator and certainly not shy when it comes to criticizing ineffective uses of technology, takes Oppenheimer to task for using "carefully picked negative examples" in his book while dismissing any technology successes as "exceptions, peculiarities, and accidents." In particular, McKenzie debunks, at length and quite convincingly, Oppenheimer's analysis of New Tech High School in Napa, California.


Stepping back from educational technology for a moment, may we recommend a documentary about a group of charming and absurdly driven kids? Spellbound, released last month on video and DVD, follows eight students' journeys on their way to the 1999 Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. The film's subjects come from a wide range of backgrounds, from the daughter of Mexican immigrants who settled in the Texas panhandle to a well-to-do East Indian boy living in coastal California. What they share in common is a deep obsession for spelling words most adults have never even heard of, and more to the point, a desire to be the best at something. Nominated last year for an Academy Award for best documentary feature, Spellbound lets you live out the excitement-and sometimes pure torture-of pursuing a dream.

Read other articles from the February Issue



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Gleanings Teachers Speak Out A recent survey from Public Agenda revealed many of the nation's teachers feel that the expectations placed on them for raising student achievement are not only unrealistic, but unjust. The report found that 59 percent of the 1,345 public school teachers polled believe "it's unfair to be

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Gleanings The Internet Hits Home The Net has increasingly become a conduit for fostering school-to-home relations, according to CDW-G's 2003 Teachers Talk Tech survey. The study, carried out by InfoTek Research and based on phone interviews of 606 K-12 teachers, found that 63 percent of classroom teachers believe

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Gleanings Teen Net Use Overshadows Television A report commissioned by Yahoo! and Carat Interactive found the Internet has surpassed television and other traditional media as the "hub" of choice for today's youth. The study, which combined online surveys and focus groups, revealed that kids ages 13-18 spend an

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Gleanings The Age of IM Over 53 million American adults swap instant messages on a regular basis, with Generation Y predictably leading the way, reports the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Researchers found 62 percent of Internet users aged 18-27 use instant messaging, with some 35 percent logged on an hour

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Gleanings Summer Surfing Teachers assigning that perennial "How did you spend your summer vacation?" essay should expect to hear about kids' virtual travels as much as, if not more than, their in-the-flesh journeys. That's because youngsters are more likely to use the Net in June and July than any other time,

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Gleanings A Closer Look at "Failing" Schools Do schools considered "failing" under No Child Left Behind have more or less technology than the average American school? This intriguing question, asked by Market Data Retrieval in their recent Technology in Education 2003 report, yielded interesting numbers. In terms of

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Gleanings Laptop Lessons Some heartening news for proponents of 1-to-1 computing in schools: a recent study out of Canada links wireless laptop use with improved English skills. Conducted by the Peace River North School District in British Columbia, whose Wireless Writing Project puts notebook computers in the hands

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Gleanings The Young and the Wired A surprising percentage of kids use e-mail as early as kindergarten, according to NetDay. The nonprofit, which recently released the results of its Speak Up Day 2003 study, found 29 percent of grade K-3 students have their own e-mail accounts, compared to 45 percent for grades 4-6

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Gleanings New Poll Reveals Budget Woes District technology budgets have taken big hits, according to a report released this summer by CoSN and Grunwald Associates. The Digital Leadership Divide survey found that while 38 percent of district tech budgets have increased in the past three years, 62 percent have