"Nonconformists 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. ...
These students seem to have an extraordinary set of traditional and 21st century skills, including communication, creativity, collaboration and leadership skills and technology proficiency. Yet they are significantly more likely than other students to have lower grades, which they report as 'a mix of Bs and Cs,' or lower, than other students. However, previous research with both parents and children has shown that enhanced Internet access is associated with improvements in grades and school attitudes, including a 2003 survey by Grunwald Associates LLC. In any event, these findings suggest that schools need to find ways to engage nonconformists in more creative activities for academic learning." -- From a new report by the National School Boards Association <http://files.nsba.org/creatingandconnecting.pdf> as reported on “Good Morning Silicon Valley” for 8/08/07. Thanks to Nancy Walton at the Minnesota Department of Education for passing this one along.
Creating and Connecting, the report from which the above was taken, has been riding around in my computer case for a week or more. The interesting quote above got me to finally read it. I'd suggest you do the same. And share it with your administration.
One of the things about the report that caught my eyes is the disconnect between how schools (or school officials anyway) perceive the value of social networking vs. how parents view it. While 80+% of schools prohibit chat and IM; 60+% prohibit bulletin boards, blogs and e-mail; and over 50% "specifically prohibit any use of social networking sites;" (p 4) 76% of parents "expect social networking to help their children improve their reading and writing skills or express themselves more clearly." (p. 7)
Should those of us who are excited about using social networking tools to improve education be looking for allies among our parents?
Oh, and are the adults who are social networks more nonconformist and more likely to break rules than their peers?