Making Curriculum Pop

This is from the Nov 2011 Wired Magazine. While I was aware of some of this research I love home Thompson put it all together here.  Also, I like the allusion to the famous 80's book Why Johnny Can't Read.

I can't tell you how many times I assigned simple "searches" early in my teaching carreer (late 90s) only to realize how much additional scaffolding was required to make the learning experience worthwhile.

Here are my favorite passages from Clive Thompson's Why Johnny Can't Search (this was the title in the print edition).

We’re often told that young people tend to be the most tech-savvy among us. But just how savvy are they? A group of researchers led by College of Charleston business professor Bing Pan tried to find out. Specifically, Pan wanted to know how skillful young folks are at online search. His team gathered a group of college students and asked them to look up the answers to a handful of questions. Perhaps not surprisingly, the students generally relied on the web pages at the top of Google’s results list.

But Pan pulled a trick: He changed the order of the results for some students. More often than not, those kids went for the bait and also used the (falsely) top-ranked pages. Pan grimly concluded that students aren’t assessing information sources on their own merit—they’re putting too much trust in the machine.

Mind you, mastering “crap detection 101,” as digital guru Howard Rheingold dubs it, isn’t easy. One prerequisite is that you already know a lot about the world. For instance, Harris found that students had difficulty distinguishing a left-wing parody of the World Trade Organization’s website from the real WTO site. Why? Because you need to understand why someone would want to parody it in the first place—knowledge the average eighth grader does not yet possess.

You can read and share the full article HERE.

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I loved that article. One of the things I say all the time is that our students know how to use technology do what they want (play games, Facebook, that sort of thing), but not to work. It's our job to teach them that, and critical thinking skills are an important part of teaching them how to use their tools for work.

So nicely said!  Did you pass it around to the teachers you coach?

Now that you mention it, I can't remember that I did, so I need to make sure I do. I put together a regular newsletter, and it would be perfect for the first January edition.

Now you're talkin! :)



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