Duck! Here comes another study! This one is the annual report from the Education Department that seeks to analyze computer and Internet use by kids. I haven’t read the whole report so I’m just going to rant about a few of nuggets found in this story from AP.
…like adults, young people are going online for a range of reasons, the research shows. Almost three in four use the Internet for help with school assignments, while more than half use it for writing e-mail, sending instant messages to friends or playing games.
I would hope that someone at school or home is helping these kids learn how to sift through all the material they find on the net to weed out the good information from the bad. Although the conclusion that "many teachers are not yet comfortable enough with the online tool to incorporate it into class" doesn’t give much hope in that area.
At Young’s school, 5-year-olds spend 15 minutes a day on the computer, listening to stories and the pronunciations of letters. They also practice computer skills by coloring the electronic way — selecting and clicking on the colors they want to fill in shapes.
Fifteen minutes a day? Spent on activities that would be better done with books and crayons?
From rural areas to the suburbs to cities, almost every public school is wired for the Internet and schools now have one computer with Internet access for every five students, the research shows.
Anyone with an understanding of averages knows that the 1 to 5 statistic means there are probably quite a few schools in which there are so few connected machines that most kids have no access. Plus, in how many cases does "wired" mean a dial-up connection?
I’m through ranting now. :-)