Re: [WWWEDU] Re: today: discussing social networks on NPR's Talk of the Nation
I truly respect the work you have done with NSBA T&L which is the only
educational leadership organization to be addressing technology issues. I
did not express concerns about your funding source. I further applaud the
objective of supporting the expanded educational use of social networking
technologies in schools.
However, your report, in my opinion, did more damage to this cause than good
for a number of key reasons:
A. The report is not credible. Grunwald Associates is a market research
firm. http://www.grunwald.com/ The objective of this firm is to help
companies grow their business. Look at how they are marketing the results of
their research: ³How are kids really using social networking services and
what does it mean for your business and your customers?²
http://www.grunwald.com/surveys/sn/index.php. This underlying purpose for
the study screams ³bias.² If you look through the kinds of information
Grunwald will provide to its customers, the market research bias is even
Some of the findings in this study would be of interest to those of us
professionals who are truly concerned about the risks associated with
Internet use. I never take research findings as face value it is too easy
to ³shade² the discussion related to your particular bias. Can I get access
to the data? No not realistically. The cost to access the data is $9,000
to $12,000. I also have some concerns about how NCMCE and others are making
claims related to the UNH study on Internet concerns. But the data for the
UNH study is publicly available. And further, there is some additional data
analysis that I would like and I have asked the researchers for the
additional data and they are going to provide it to me. THIS is how CREDIBLE
ACADEMIC researchers function. None of the bold assertions made in your
study can be evaluated through an analysis of the actual data. This is
unacceptable. Are we to accept the conclusions of a company that wants to
promote commercial sites as accurate without checking the fine-print and
looking at the real numbers?
>B. The report does not effectively distinguish between academic social
networking and fun-time social networking. You state that your report does
not advocate letting kids access MySpace in math class. But, in fact, this
is the image created by the report. In the opening sections of your report
you detail how kids are using these technologies, naming popular sites. Then
you discuss how kids are actually using these sites for educational
discussions (yeah right I have two kids into social networking, like this
I believe). Then you note the concerns that schools are blocking access to
social networking sites, with the implication that this is inappropriate. No
where in this document, do you make a distinction between the commercial
popular social networking sites that generally have limited to no
educational value and the controlled social networking environments that are
highly appropriate for use in schools. (The commercial sites may have
intermittent value, such as looking at the Macaca video on YouTube) so
teachers do need to be able to bypass the filter to get to these if
necessary for an educational activity.)
The best finding of this report is that school administrators do support the
educational use of these technologies, as long as their use can be monitored
and controlled and used to support high quality instructional activities
not ³Internet recess.² We need to be identifying the sites/technologies that
can be used in an effective manner to support the kinds of high quality
educational activities that can and should be taking place using these
technologies. It is also necessary to address effective policies and
practices to ensure that these technologies are not misused. Schools can be
held liable for misuse of technologies that results in harm to a student.
Reasonable precautions are essential. No where in your document do you
address these issues.
>C. Promoting ³non-conformists² as leaders. The most astoundingly bad section
of your document is the section that addresses the ³non-conformists.² This
starts on page 2 of the document. These nonconformists are described as:
³are on the cutting edge of social networking, with online behaviors and
skills that indicate leadership among their peers.² And ³These students seem
to have an extraordinary set of traditional and 21st century skills,
including communication, creativity, collaboration and leadership skills and
But we also find that these students report ³breaking one or more online
safety or behavior rules.² And ³Nonconformists are significantly heavier
users of social networking sites than other students, participating in every
single type of social networking activity surveyed (28 in all) significantly
more frequently than other students both at home and at school which
likely means that they break school rules to do so.² And further: ³(T)hey
are significantly more likely than other students to have lower grades,
which they report as ³a mix of Bs and Cs,² or lower, than other students.
By whose measure are these young people who show signs of addictive
access, imbalance in life activities, irresponsible behavior, and grades
that are insufficient to get into college -- to be considered ³extraordinary
There is an answer to that question. Look at the labels on the side-bar on
page 4. These are all marketing terms. Commercial web sites are all into
establishing ³stickiness² - encouraging users to spend lots of time on the
site and return often. The qualities noted are related to successful
marketing and have nothing whatsoever to do with academic success. And it
certainly appears from the data that addictive access correlates with lack
of academic success.
So I basically find it exceptionally hard to fathom why NSBA would be
wanting to promote these kinds of kids as 21st Century leaders. And I would
lay odds that was the reaction of most of the school board and
administrators who read this.
So these are the reasons why I think the NSBA report does more harm than
good. Note from my recent messages. I have also had some very harsh things
to say about the folks who are engaged in Internet fear-mongering. I would
love to be able to cite the data in a credible report as evidence to the
contrary. But this report contains such a high degree of bias and lack of
credibility that I would NEVER cite the data as authority. I do the cite
your data in my presentation on cyberbullying. I compare the results in this
report to other studies on cyberbullying from folks promoting Internet
safety materials (who are always looking for money) - 7% incident rate
reported by NSBA and 58% incident rate reported by I-Safe. Both figures are
biased and bogus.
Normally the work of the NSBA is good. This report falls well below its
> I wanted to respond to Nancy's comments about usefulness of the NSBA--
> study. The education technology staff within the National School
> Boards Association felt the explosion of social networks is such a
> phenomenon that we wanted to call attention to them among the
> audience of school leaders we serve since we have a strong sense that
> many of them have never experienced any kind of social networking
> environment based on their own personal use. Having watched school
> board members and other administrators grapple with that thing called
> the "Internet" a decade ago, we wanted to lead the way again by
> saying they might not like everything that's happening, but that they
> need to have some level of understanding about what social networks
> are and what makes them attractive to students. Non-profit budgets
> often require the support of underwriters to be able to further the
> conversation. To infer that we are suggesting kids sit in Math class
> and update their MySpace page is a ridiculous mis-reading of the
> report's suggestions. On the other hand, we do want educators and
> board members to understand that today's students are creators of
> content, and both want and need to learn the skills that come from
> making global connections and working imaginatively and
> collaboratively with others. The study has accomplished what NSBA had
> hoped to do which is to generate a healthy dialogue and encourage
> educators to explore age appropriate resources that can tap into the
> very elements that make social networks so attractive. By adding our
> voice to the conversation, perhaps it will help some innovative
> teacher make a case to have access to a simple student blog site that
> an IT Director or policy maker had arbitrarily declared "off-limits"
> for a total lack of understanding about the educational potential. I
> respect Nancy's work, but she's way off the mark about our intentions
> and partnerships.
> --- In email@example.com <mailto:wwwedu%40yahoogroups.com> , Nancy
> Willard <nwillard@...> wrote:
>>> > > Kevin said:
>>> > >
>>> > > Fortunately, we do have the National School Boards Association
>>> > > "Creating & Connecting: Research and Guidelines on Online Social
>>> > > Educational Networking" (http://tinyurl.com/3yzslq) which presents
>>> > > some pretty compelling information about the importance of SN,
>>> > > particularly in schools, but ... I am beginning to wonder if it's
>>> > > worth questioning the report's findings since it was funded by
>>> > > and News Corp. Thoughts? Can we believe 'em?
>>> > >
>>> > > -kj-
>>> > >
>> > It is my opinion that this report did more damage than good. The
>> > are in the business of providing market research for Internet
> companies and
>> > so this biases the research and guidance. Further, the data from
>> > research study is not publicly available unless you are able and
>> > to pay big bucks - which means it is impossible to independently
> verify the
>> > findings. The report failed to distinguish between closely
>> > educational social networking environments and the commercial sites
>> > MySpace and Facebook and appeared to advocate that students ought
> to be able
>> > to access these from school. This is ridiculous. There are
> sometimes very
>> > valid reasons to allow for intermittent access to sites like
> YouTube to
>> > show the Macaca video for example. But generally the activities
>> > engage in on these sites are far from educational. The report
> indicated that
>> > since students discuss education on these sites, they are
> educational. BS.
>> > The worst part of the report was the description of the ³leaders² or
>> > ³influencers² who were described as engaged in addictive access and
>> > following safe and responsible use guidelines (my interpretation of
>> > findings). Note the terms used for the different kinds of online
> roles are
>> > all marketing terms. This report was market research, not
>> > research.
>> > The one really good finding was that school administrators support
> the use
>> > of social networking technologies as long as they are used for
>> > purposes and student use is closely monitored.
>> > So what educators need to do is to find the social networking
>> > that do meet these requirements and promote the use of them for
>> > educational purposes.
>> > As I say in my new PPT for teachers: Knowing how to effectively
>> > in this environment is essential for careers, personal life
> activities, and
>> > civic engagement in the 21st Century.
>> > But this does not mean expanded Internet recess at school.
>> > Nancy
>> > --
>> > Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D.
>> > Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use
>> > http://csriu.org
>> > http://cyberbully.org
>> > http://cyber-safe-kids.com
>> > nwillard@...
>> > Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of
> Online Social
>> > Aggression, Threats, and Distress (Research Press)
>> > Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens: Helping Young People Learn to
> Use the
>> > Internet Safely and Responsibly (Jossey-Bass)
>> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D.
Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use
Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social
Aggression, Threats, and Distress (Research Press)
Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens: Helping Young People Learn to Use the
Internet Safely and Responsibly (Jossey-Bass)
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- The Village School in Maine (a grade 3-5 school with about 675) is currently
building their part of the planetfesto.org virtual ribbon--a segment long
enough to circle their gym. They want to challenge another school to see how
high a percentage of students and staff they can achieve. Ideally, the
school would be in a different part of the US, or abroad. To see the Village
School's great contributions, go to www.planetfesto.org and search by
Planetfesto's purpose is to build an environmental educational and action
movement that creates a virtual ribbon long enough to wrap around the earth.
To do pieces of the ribbon, students simply choose a photo on the site (or
upload their own photo or drawing), say why they love the planet, and what
they're personally going to do to protect it (we have plenty of ideas on the
site if students don't have their own). If they are stumped, there is plenty
of inspiration just watching the ribbon scroll by, with impassioned
declarations of love and individual action from all over the world. People
from 37 countries have created pieces of the ribbon.
Some recent new features for schools:
-- search the ribbon and view a custom subset of just your school,
location, or community. Teachers are often projecting their piece of the
ribbon, like a movie.
-- rank individual pieces of the ribbon and view the most popular
worldwide, and also by country
-- music (with more to come!)
The site was created as a totally volunteer effort by a family in
California. Planetfesto was named one of the Natural Resources Defense
Council's web sites of the week at:
http://www.nrdc.org/reference/picks/pick0703.asp. We've also been featured
in the E-bulletin of the National Association of Independent Schools.
If interested, please contact nancy@..., or Chris Crawford at
We're at www.planetfesto.org. For more information about planetfesto contact
Nancy Raff at 510/595-1888.
- While on the surface, this might seem a little off topic for WWWEdu,
I felt it was indicative of the same sort of paranoia that drives
some of our legislative and administrative educational technology
decision and policies. Prompted by a short article in this morning's
paper, I expanded the scope of my 3DWiredSafety blog
http://www.3dwriting.com/wiredsafety/blog/ to include related
educational issues. My thoughts are on the blog, but here's the
article. I'd like to see what you think about it.
A second grader's artistic effort has got him in trouble.
Seven-year-old Kyle Walker was suspended for one day last week by
school officials in Cape May County for drawing a stick figure shooting a gun.
His mother told the Press of Atlantic City that officials at Dennis
Township Primary School told her that the drawing violated a
zero-tolerance policy for guns. Shirley McDevitt said the boy told
her the drawing showed a water gun and not a firearm.
Four kindergarten boys were suspended in 2000 for playing cops and
robbers, even though they were using their fingers as guns.
- I like reading about wwwedu members using Web 2.0 tools; wikis, social networking sites, blogs, RSS feeds, etc. in their classes. I am hoping that someone, maybe from wedu, will put together a comprehensive curriculum for using these tools, that could be configured to various interest groups. I'm interested in having an elective class for my masters students on these subjects. I just wish I knew more about each subject. So, I'm sure that there are more educators out there that would like to have similar materials.
Patrick J Greene, PhD
Florida Gulf Coast Univ.
Date: Sat, 6 Oct 2007 08:18:59 -0400
Subject: Re: [WWWEDU] Re: today: discussing social networks on NPR's Talk of the Nation
In a message dated 10/5/07 1:45:23 PM, kjarrett@... writes:
>Hi , I had negative feelings about social networks and was pleased with
> Anyway, what do you make of that negativity? How does the call
> screening work on shows like this? Is there some criteria they use
> when deciding who gets to talk or what emails get read? I was really
> blown away.
myself that I had been blogging and gor the ideas about the use of lots of 2.0
until I took a course that
involved me in the secial networking side, and in which I did mashups and
combined all kinds of things in the humanities , arts. that showed me the way.
There are Supercomputing educational resources that will be the next wave and we
tinkered around with those and with games , visualization and modeling.
It is that perhaps someone else decides what we teach ahd how we chould teach
in an NCLB environment. I am grateful to the businesses and the groups who
have gone to the congress.
It is easy to keep doing the same thing. What we may need to do is to tailor
some of the social networks for our own use in the teaching and learning
evironment like the Aware reading program has done and like Taking IT Global
Bonnie Bracey Sutton
bbracey at aol com.
See what's new at
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