I'll Take "Why Do Kids Like The Internet" for $50 million

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The independent grant-making MacArthur Foundation will spend $50 million (that's a 5 with seven zeroes after it) on a five-year initiative to study how and why young people use the Web, games, and gadgets to "learn, play, and communicate." Their opening hypothesis? "[T]he richest environment for learning is no longer inside the classroom but…online and after school." So they think young folks are getting online because it makes it easier for them to LEARN?! WRONG--Young folks are getting online to express how stupid everyone but them is on their MySpace blog, watch the latest inane video on YouTube, download free music, and (primarily) to scour the internet for thousands of hours of sweet, sweet porn. There, I've saved them 5 years and $50 million.

A fifth of the money will go for grants to individuals and organizations to work on projects stimulating research into new educational approaches and digital media. The rest will go to fund the goal of bringing together researchers, youth, educators, and "practitioners in different disciplines (and across sectors)," a phrase which probably sounds really good on a PowerPoint slide but means virtually nothing (or way too much).



Right On!
Posted by m on 2006-11-09 03:23:21
I think that they have something here! I recently read that kids perfer video game baseball over watching the real thing because "watching is boring."

I did student teaching and I found the experience boring since, as the teacher, I had to decide what, when, how much, how good and how important.

Here in Minneapolis, the number of students wanting to be math/science folks is below 8% and the graduation rate is down 10%. I'm not sure there is much relevancy to many schools any more.

As an example, I've learned more about economics from the housing bubble blogs than I did frmo taking ECON 101 and ECON 102 in college.

I suppose that there are super teachers out there but, in general, I find the web more motivating because of its cultural diversity and seeing how many different approaches are possible.

When i'm in a classroom, my interaction seems limited because of the format, the teacher's interest and the number of students in the class. On the web, I can blog as often and as much as I want and hope that another fish (reader) bites my hook.

I think that teachers are needed but I would rather use them "as needed" to complete a task. My guitar teacher, who I studied with for a few months, gave me the best lesson ever: play less notes. In general, that's all I needed to become better!


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