79.48% of all statistics are made up on the spot. - John A. Paulos
Last week, a librarian came up to me during a break in a workshop I was giving for the Nassau (Long Island) BOCES and asked a disturbing question. I had been giving my "Technology? Skills Everyone Needs" talk, reeling off a number of statistics about the changing job market, economy, workforce skill set etc.. Sort of my version of "Did You Know"* that I've given for about 10 years. (Yes, it DOES get updated!)
Anyway, the librarian asked me why I did not cite the sources of my factoids on each of my slides. I quipped that I didn't because I made all the numbers up. But he certainly made me think. If we ask our students to cite and defend the reliability of their research sources, why should we ask any less of our workshop presenters, our "experts?"
I've resolved to so for any startling info-bits I use to persuade others that kids need to "know how to use information and technology in order to solve problems and answer question" from now on. But I need some help...
I can track down where I found most of my information, but here are a few "facts" I can't seem to find the source for:
- 90% of what we know about the human brain has been discovered in the past 10 years.
- Auto mechanics in 1960 needed to master the equivalent of 600 pages of technical information. Today they need to know the equivalent of 600,000 pages of information.
- Only 2% of people are fired because of a lack of skills. The other 98% are fired for "personality conflicts."
- Kids get a chance to answer a question in school only once every 6 hours.
- Kids' TV watching is declining, but their "screen time" is going up.
OK, those are some of the major factoids I love, but just can't quite remember where I saw them documented. Any help out there? I am not using any numbers in my talks until I can cite the source - even if I have to make it up as well!
I'm giving the talk again on Wednesday. Hurry!
* One of the things I admire most about Fische and McLeod's "Did You Know" video is that they have a source for all their information. Way to go, guys!