Back To School

A fresh sets of results from a survey released yesterday by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and Grunwald Associates LLC, the survey shows that 96 percent of students with online access use social-networking technologies. Nearly 60 percent of these students report discussing education-related topics online, such as college or college planning, learning outside of school, and careers. Half of these online students say they talk specifically about schoolwork. I would have thought the homework collaboration online would have been even higher - but I guess they still prefer to socialize online more than do schoolwork.

Ninety-six percent of U.S. students ages 9 to 17 who have internet access use social-networking technology to connect with their peers, and one of their most common topics of discussion is education, according to a new survey. Yet most schools have stringent rules against nearly all forms of online social networking during the school day. In light of the survey's findings, school leaders should consider reexamining their policies and explore ways they could use social networking for educational purposes, its authors say.

Reexamine policies. Explore ways to use social networking. Not new ideas, but perhaps new to the NSBA folks.

appsI'm not saying just open up the Net pipe and spend the day on MySpace, but lots of us have been pushing for more use of the web 2.0 technologies that already have huge acceptance from our students in educational ways. It's our job to find those ways. The kids might find a few on their own, as they might find the good novels to read, but...

Nearly 70 percent of districts report having student web site programs, and nearly half say their schools take part in online collaborative projects with other schools. More than a third say their schools or their students have blogs, either officially or in the context of instruction.

The report was based on 3 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 district leaders who make decisions on Internet policy.

Interestingly, the study was funded by Microsoft, News Corp. (they own MySpace now), and Verizon.

It might be something to download and make available for the start of the school year. The report, "Creating & Connecting: Research and Guidelines on Online Social and Educational Networking", is available at


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