“Facebook is working on new technology that would let young children use the social network without having to lie about their age, reports the Wall Street Journal. Facebook currently doesn’t allow users under the age of 13, though many sign-up anyways — last year Consumer Reports said that 7.5 million of Facebook’s users were 13 or younger, including five million under the age of 10. The proposed technology wouldn’t create a separate version of the network for these users, but instead would put in place features that give parents control over their child’s online experience. A child’s account would be connected to their parent’s, for instance, and tools would be put in place to manage who can be added as a friend and what apps and games are used” (Source).
Note that the WSJ is reporting that Facebook is exploring this. It is a multifaceted issue involving Facebook policies and governmental regulations. We will have to see how this unfolds. The following video provides a broad overview about this issue.
America’s future teachers are invited to participate in the “Speak Up 2012 Survey for America’s Future Teachers” to share your ideas about teaching.
Speak Up, a national online research project facilitated by Project Tomorrow®, gives individuals the opportunity to share their viewpoints about key issues in K-12 education.
Any college student, who is participating in a degree or credential program that will prepare them for a career as a K-12 teacher, is eligible to take the survey, regardless of prior student teaching experience.
Speak Up for America’s Future Teachers is facilitated through online surveys and will be aggregated at the national and institution level. All of the data is 100% confidential and no specific institutional findings will be shared with anyone outside of the participating college or university.
Participate in “Speak Up 2012 Survey for America’s Future Teachers” and share your ideas about teaching.
The Speak Up National Research Project provides participating schools, districts and non-profit organizations with a suite of online surveys and reports to collect authentic feedback from students, educators and parents. In addition, they summarize and share the national findings with education and policy leaders in Washington DC and in each state.
The top three reasons schools and districts participate in Speak Up are to:
Collect unique data from their stakeholders.
Conduct a needs assessment and create a vision for 21st century learning.
Use the data to create and inform technology initiatives or create strategic plans.
Across the nation, educators report that Speak Up:
Gives them a better understanding of issues important to their stakeholders.
Provides a mechanism to empower students to voice their opinions.
Provides meaningful input into their planning process.
Enhances their ability to implement technology initiatives more closely aligned to students’ expectations and needs.
Helps identify meaningful benchmarks for measuring success.
Since 2003, educators from more than 30,000 schools have used the Speak Up data to create and implement their vision for 21st century learning. Register to participate in Speak Up. (Source)
Speak Up 2011 Report
On April 24, 2012, Project Tomorrow released the report “Mapping a Personalized Learning Journey – K-12 Students and Parents Connects the Dots with Digital Learning” at a Congressional Briefing held in Washington, DC. Julie Evans, Project Tomorrow CEO, discussed selected student and parent national findings from the Speak Up 2011 report and moderated a panel discussion with students and parents who shared their insights and experiences.
The report focuses on how today’s students are personalizing their own learning, and how their parents are supporting this effort. The ways that students are personalizing their learning centers around three student desires including how students seek out resources that are digitally-rich, untethered and socially-based. The key questions being addressed in this report include:
How are students personalizing their learning?
How are parents helping students to personalize their learning journey?
What are the digitally-rich, untethered and socially based learning strategies that facilitate this process?
How can education stakeholders support students as they seek to personalize their learning?
What are the gaps between administrators’ views of personalized learning compared to parents’ and students’ views?
Students are adopting technologies and then adapting them to support their own self-directed learning. For example, 1 in 10 high school students have Tweeted about an academic topic. 46% of students have used Facebook as a collaboration tool for schoolwork.
Parents are supporting their children’s personalized learning journeys. 64% of parents report that they would purchase a mobile device for their child’s academic use at school.
There is a gap in offerings between what schools offer and what students want to learn. As a result, students are looking outside of the classroom to meet their personalized learning goals. For example, 12% of high school students have taken an online class on their own, outside of the classroom, to learn about a topic that interested them.
In math and science classrooms where students and teachers direct learning supported by technology, students’ interest in a STEM career is 27%, compared with 20% for students in traditional math and science classrooms.
Parents’ definition of academic success for their children places a strong emphasis on learning the right skills to be successful (73%)- more than any other metric for success, including monetary success or getting into a good college (Source).
At a Glimpse
Below is an infographic presenting many of the key findings from the Speak Up 2011 Report. Click on the image to download the full-size PDF.
So, Now What?
Speak Up 2011 demonstrates how students are personalizing their own learning, and how parents are supporting their efforts. As reflective educators it is important that we consider the implications of these findings. I’ve used a modified Compass PointsThinking Routine as a framework for guiding our reflection and conversation.
How do these national findings compare to your local experiences?
Are there changes that need to be made so that your local classrooms can be more reflective of these findings?
What excites you about these findings? What is the upside?
What do you find worrisome about these findings? What is the downside?
What else do you need to know or find out about the findings? What additional information would help you to evaluate things?
What is your current stance or opinion on the findings? How might you move forward in your evaluation of this report?
“North Carolina as well as the rest of the nation are faced with a struggle in keeping the budget balanced. As educators and parents we have a responsibility to our students to see that they receive a learning experience that will prepare them for the 21st century. With more students entering our doors every year it is imperative that we invest in their future, so that they will have one.”
Dr. Michael K. Barbour, Assistant Professor in Instructional Technology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, provides a primer in virtual schooling and online learning. Much of his research focuses on rural K-12 students learning in virtual school environments, specifically how these virtual opportunities can be designed and delivered to be accessible to students with a range of abilities.
Online Charities for Classrooms in Need
There are many online websites aimed at helping teachers, schools and students receive beneficial resources and financial assistance. Here are a couple with which I’m familiar.