Monday, October 17, 2011

Things That Have Me Thinking This Week...October 17, 2011

There are so many thought-provoking articles and blog posts that I come across each week, I thought I would share a few favorites. Here are my top three from last week:

The Three Biggest Myths About Distracted Youth - Cathy Davidson

Cathy Davidson, the author of the New York Times Best Seller Now You See It, discusses the three biggest misconceptions that many have about today's children:

  1. Young People Don’t/Can’t Remember Anything Anymore.
  2. Young People Can’t Read Anything Long.
  3. Young People’s Multitasking Causes Accidents.
Davidson sums up the thinking of those who perpetuate such myths as follows:
"Those pundits who frighten us over the fate of humanity and warn us that the Internet ruins our brain seem to have forgotten that we are humans, that we have will, and that we have the ability to use the tools at our disposal wisely or badly." 

21 Things That Will Be Obsolete (in schools) By 2020 - Tina Barseghian

This blog post from Mind Shift first appeared in March of this year, but I could not help looking at it again as I continue to consider how learning environments need to change.

The list includes long time staples like cafeteria food, homework, and the role of standardized testing in college admissions. Click on the link above and see the entire list for yourself. Anything you would add?

The Problems With The PSAT and National Merit Program - Valerie Strauss

Speaking of standardized testing, Valerie Strauss taught me something that I probably should have known but did not in her column in the Washington Post which discussed the College Board's National Merit Scholarship Program.

"...the initial cutoff scores separating the possible winners from the definite losers are not the same in each state."
That's right, your chance of making the cut in the National Merit Scholarship Program would better if you lived in a state other than Massachusetts. Our state boasts the highest cut off score at 223 (sharing this honor with the District of Columbia and New Jersey).  Our neighboring states Rhode Island and New Hampshire have cut off scores of 213 and 216 respectively.  Wyoming has the lowest cut off score in the nation at 204.

One more reason to hate standardized testing!

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1 comment:

  1. I'd like to comment on "The Three Biggest Myths About Distracted Youth". I can only speak from my own experiences. We're a family who uses SM incessantly. I was very reticent about allowing our own children to listen to their IPods, MP3 players, to view FB and YouTube while doing their homework. Too me, it seemed that these tools / toys were obstacles and were impeding their performances. We told them that if we saw their grades plummet that they would be banned from using this SM while doing their homework.
    Well, this current marking period proved us wrong. Their overall grades have improved. We were particularly impressed with our daughter's most recent MCAS scores this time as well.
    We've also noticed that our kids have been doing more reading and have become more independent with this SM. They're more prone to doing more research when they have questions with technology. They're using YouTube and the internet to assist them with tech problems.