We haven’t had any surveys lately so here’s a new one to consider. The report "Children, Families, and the Internet 2003" produced by a market research company says that schools are not meeting the students’ expectations for their "online experience". To begin, the kids complain about connection speeds at school with many of those with broadband connections at home saying they have faster access there. Among other tidbits,
Both kids ages 6-17 and their parents also expressed rising levels of frustration with the amount of time students are getting online at school. Nearly half of kids with home internet access (49 percent) and more than a third of their parents (34 percent) say kids are getting "too little time online" in their schools, the study says.
The group of children who have or plan to build their own personal web site includes 44 percent of 13- to 17-year olds and even a third (32 percent) of six- to eight-year olds. The study further reveals that girls are significantly more likely than boys to have their own web site: 12.2 percent of girls online from home have a personal web site today, compared with only 8.6 percent of boys.
I wonder what the kids would do if they had more time online. What do their parents think they should do with more time online? I’d bet they’re not thinking of the same activities. As to web sites, I’m not sure that kids building their own is a sign that actual learning is going on. Maybe if they are doing some reflective writing (a few teachers are doing great things with web logs in class) or presenting information for others to use (ThinkQuest projects are outstanding examples). But too many student-created sites are exercises in trivialities.
But buried in the middle of all this marketing crap for the tech industry, almost as an afterthought, is a reference to the most important piece of the instructional technology puzzle.
But infrastructure is only part of the story, Grunwald added: "Even more important is educators’ ability to thoughtfully integrate technology into instruction–and, of course, the content [provided by] internet services themselves is important. All of these need work."
Without training and support for the integration of web use into real learning, it won’t matter how upset the kids get.