Kids Online for Homework! But I ask, “In what Capacity?”

In addition to the Pediatrics study released a couple weeks ago, a new study by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and Grunwald Associates LLC exploring the online behaviors of U.S. teens and ‘tweens. The study is based on three surveys: an online survey of nearly 1,300 9 to 17-year-olds, an online survey of more than 1,000 parents, and telephone interviews with 250 school districts leaders who make decisions on Internet policy.

You can read the full press release here: New Study Explores the Online Behaviors of U.S. Teens and ‘Tweens and the full report here: Creating & Connecting: Research and Guidelines on Online Social and Educational Networking.

Here is my reaction –

I am in NO WAY discounting the study, but there is more to read between the lines here. The study shows that 96% of students with online access use social networking technologies (i.e. chatting, texting, blogging, and online communities such as Facebook, MySpace, and Webkinz). Nearly 60% of online students report discussing education-related topics, such as college or college planning, learning outside of school, and careers. That is good. But also, 50% of online students say they talk specifically about schoolwork. To back this up, the study shows that 96% of school districts say that at least some of their teachers assign homework requiring Internet use.

OK stop right there. I have a close friend that is a teacher who is very knowledgeable in the Internet. Do you know what kids are using the Internet for? PLAGURIZING and CHEATING! This isn’t your father’s library. Kids don’t need to look things up, copy it down on notecards and source the material anymore. They simply Google it and cut & paste the first thing they see that they think will answer the homework.

Again, not mocking the study and I am glad to see such a shift in educational practices – said friend does post class work online almost every night and it is essential for schools to stay curent (if for nothing else than to keep the current generation of students’ wandering short attention spans)… But said friend has also caught an ENTIRE class of middle schoolers cutting and pasting homework. I am not accusing; I am stating a fact as seen first-hand.

It’s great that junior and juniorette are using the Internet, but why doesn’t anyone ask “to what capacity?” and find out exactly what’s going on before we extend a round of claps.

To tie into PC Pandora… well, that’s obvious. Parents should use the fact that kids are using the Internet for educational purposes to their advantage. Look things up with your child. Sit down and help them research homework – and for Pete’s sake: show them how to paraphrase and to think for themselves!!!

And when you can’t be around, save your child from being expelled or just from cheating themselves out of an education – monitor what they do. Use PC Pandora version 5.0 to monitor computer activity when you can’t be around. Encourage Internet use for education – but don’t encourage it to mindlessly “finish your homework.”


2 Responses to “Kids Online for Homework! But I ask, “In what Capacity?””

  1. Education » Kids Online for Homework! But I ask, “In what Capacity?” Says:

    [...] Ken wrote an interesting post today on Kids Online for Homework! But I ask, âIn what Capacity?âHere’s a quick excerptNearly 60% of online students report discussing education-related topics, such as college or college planning, learning outside of school, and careers. That is good. But also, 50% of online students say they talk specifically about … [...]

  2. Webkinz » Kids Online for Homework! But I ask, “In what Capacity?” Says:

    [...] Pandora’s Blog wrote an interesting post today on Kids Online for Homework! But I ask, "In what Capacity?"Here’s a quick excerpt … e. chatting, texting, blogging, and online communities such as Facebook, MySpace, and Webkinz)…. [...]

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