Monday, September 10, 2018

Teen Social Media Use Report

Teens' use of social media has exploded over the past six years, while their preference for face-to-face interactions with friends has markedly declined. Teens on the whole say using social media makes them feel less lonely, less depressed, and more confident. They also say they're aware of social media's potential to distract and manipulate them, even if they sometimes struggle to moderate their own use.  And it's increasingly evident that parents and educators have a clear role to play in helping teens learn to limit and mold their own social media use.
Among the most striking findings:
  • 70 percent of teens now say they use social media more than once a day, compared to 34 percent of teens in 2012. 
  • Snapchat is now the most popular social media platform among teens, with 41 percent saying it's the one use most frequently.
  • 35 percent of teens now say texting is their preferred mode of communication with friends, more than the 32 percent who prefer in-person communication. In 2012, 49 percent of teens preferred in-person communication.
  • One-fourth of teens say using social media makes them feel less lonely, compared to 3 percent who say it makes them feel more lonely.
  • Nearly three-fourths of teens believe tech companies manipulate them to get them to spend more time on their devices and platforms.
(2018). Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences. Washington, DC: Common Sense Media.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Quality Counts report

This annual report digs into test scores, high school graduation rates, and other data that focus on the student achievement in public K-12 schools. In addition, the report analyzes a wealth of socioeconomic and educational data that chart the trajectory toward success in each of the states and for the nation as a whole.
Quality counts 2018: Report and rankings. (2018). Bethesda, MD: Education Week.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Sara Stevenson explains "dark literature" to the Wall St. Journal

Sara Stevenson understands the real reasons for depression and the positive power of fiction.  Published in the Wall St. Journal!

Regarding Steve Salerno’s “The Unbearable Darkness of Young Adult Literature” (op-ed, Aug. 29): As a middle-school librarian, I don’t understand Mr. Salerno’s criticism of the darker offerings in recent young adult (YA) literature. A certain subset of young adults has always been attracted to books about social difficulty, just as adults enjoy reading about characters struggling through trauma and adversity. 
Certainly these books aren’t to blame for the uptick in depressed and suicidal teens. Rather it is our alienating society, the increased sense of isolation and cyberbullying due to smartphones and social media, and our culture’s ever-widening income disparity that place more children at risk.
As a school librarian, I offer students the books they want to read, and as long as certain students are interested in these books and find them cathartic, our school library will continue to offer them along with the “Harry Potter,” “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games” series, and any other trend. Our vocation is to develop lifelong readers. Adults who identify as readers vote at higher rates and are more involved in their communities.
Sara Stevenson
Austin, Texas

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Technology priority in education survey

More than 90% of school district leaders across the country say their top priority for education technology is to personalize learning for students, according to a national survey. More than nine in 10 respondents to a survey on the topic reported that in the pursuit of encouraging personalized learning their districts 1) provide software or digital curriculum to classrooms (designated by 96 percent of participants); 2) provide computing devices to classrooms (94 percent); and 3) provide professional development in personalized learning practices (92 percent). Two-thirds of districts (65 percent) also assess teachers on their implementation of personalized learning practices.The survey also reveals that about three-quarters of districts offer blended-learning options and more educators are expressing concern about student data and privacy issues.
Center for Digital Education. (2018). K12 school district priorities. Folsom, CA: Center for Digital Education.

Digital media versus print study

In recent years, less than 20 percent of U.S. teens report reading a book, magazine, or newspaper daily for pleasure, while more than 80 percent say they use social media every day, according to recent research . Among 12th-graders, Internet use during leisure time doubled from one to two hours per day. It also increased 75 percent for 10th graders and 68 percent for eighth-graders. Usage rates and increases were fairly uniform across gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
Twenge, J., Martin, G., & Spitzberg, B. (2018, August 16.). Trends in U. S. adolescents' media use, 1976-2016.  IPsychology of Popular Media Culture.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Reading groups study

Separating students into reading and math groups based on their abilities may be doing more harm than good, according to a recent study.  Findings indicate that there are substantial opportunities for students to move up to higher groups as they progress through school and students can improve their group assignments by demonstrating positive academic engagement. However, group assignments do tend to “stick” to students over time, even after controlling for prior achievement, learning behaviors, and other observable characteristics. Moreover, assignment to a higher group improves students’ math and reading achievement outcomes and improves students’ academic engagement, while assignment to a lower group depresses both of these, making upward mobility more difficult.
Jean, M. (2016).  Can you work your way up? Ability grouping and the development of academic engagement. Doctoral dissertation, University of Chicago.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Teacher discomfort with new technology study

As stated by David Nagel, in THE Journal (July 30, 2018): "A majority of teachers expressed discomfort with newer teaching practices that rely on technology and said they need more collaborative planning time with their peers, in addition to traditional PD."
Findings from the national survey of  33,000 classroom teachers include, among others:
  • 78 percent of teachers are "not very comfortable" facilitating student collaboration with digital devices.
  • 76 percent are not comfortable personalizing learning for every student.
  • 75 percent are uncomfortable creating project-based learning projects.
  • And 70 percent are uncomfortable using student data to inform instructional practices.
Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning. (2018). Irvine, CA: Project Tomorrow.