What’s Kickin’ Blog

Kids @ School

Unplugged Students Stress Out?

Here’s a news story describing college students experiencing those “ancient” times (you know, when we didn’t have 24/7 Internet access, Facebook, smart phones, texting, and 500+ channels of TV). The result: anxiety, chest pains, fear, feeling isolated, frustrated, angry, sad, awkwardness, and uncomfortable with the silence. So much for taking time to stop and reflect. One upside admitted by Chari Eyler, a freshman at Wilmington College, she was able to get more sleep.

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65% of college students have taken a course online

EDUCAUSE just released a report and infographic developed with Peter Grunwald on College Student Technology Use and Attitudes. In addition to students’ own technology use and attitudes, the study explores student perceptions about institutional technology use, including the implementation of technology on campus.

The results from 3,000 college students at 1,179 different colleges and universities are shared in this report. It highlights key findings on college student ownership, use, and how they value technology for personal as well as academic purposes. Includes observations, opportunities, and eleven recommendations from the findings for higher education institutions and forward-thinking K12 administrators.

EDCAR 2011 National Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology

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I.O.U.S.A. For Decades To Come?

While our nation’s “leaders” debate how we’re going to “bail out” the U.S. economy (here’s a thought: how about stop “sinking us further into debt!”), perhaps we would benefit by preparing students today on the “price they will have to pay” for decades to come. That might take a few lessons in Macroeconomics. (FYI: Macroeconomics is a branch of economics that deals with the performance, structure, and behavior of a national economy as a whole.) I know, I know, try to find that on the state standardized tests. Yet given we seem to be on the brink of a financial meltdown that potentially will be worsened long-term by an ever-expanding government, overextended entitlement programs, and debts that are becoming impossible to honor, we may all need to pay attention and respond appropriately.

Watching a movie might be faster and easier than getting into a macroeconomics class, so check out I.O.U.S.A. This film boldly examines the rapidly growing national debt and its consequences for the United States and its citizens. If you don’t have time for the entire movie, here’s a byte-sized 30-minute version…

Since no child will be left behind in dealing with this mess, perhaps we should seriously consider expanding the teaching of financial literacy and related civic activities for middle and high school students around the country.


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Not on the test = Not on the schedule

Art, debate, drama, music and sports are what kept Tom Chapin involved in school. Yet, today these subjects are “not on the test.” So in many schools, according to The Center on Education Policy they’re not even on the schedule. Tom Chapin and John Forster’s satirical song for NPR’s “Morning Edition” on January 1, 2007 expresses their disappointment in educationally focusing only on the test. So much so, that the test has become the reason to teach and study in public schools.

For more information and facts about the arts in education, check out:


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Back-to-school wars in America

As teachers go back to school, doing what some would consider “hero’s work” at times in many of our nations schools, a thoughtful article ties together the School Wars in America (over how best to “fix our schools”). Good Magazine offers its education issue detailing the fight over public education and asking if anyone is really winning as we strive to leave no child behind.

“It’s easy to shake your head at the oft-repeated statistics about how many kids don’t know what a verb is, or can’t find the United States on a map. But in our fear about what will happen if every child doesn’t know the quadratic formula by heart, we’ve created a far more damning problem: We’ve taken all the fun out of learning.”

The article articulates that while politicians, billionaires and many educational mavericks all want to “fix public schools” – they really won’t! The answer he says (surprise, surprise, surprise) is parents. Hmmm, wonder why he didn’t mention teachers?

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How are you smart vs. how smart you are?

Howard Gardner has said for years, “it’s not how smart you are, it’s how are you smart.” Yet measuring your intelligences with the two most widely used standardized tests for intelligence (the Wechsler Intelligence Scale and the Stanford-Binet) only considers linguistic and logical/mathematical intelligences. Education in general over-relies on the resulting narrowly focused single IQ score without substantiating the findings along side other data sources – completely ignoring “how students are smart.” This does the individual student a huge disservice and produces insufficient information for educators.

The development of the IQ test (Intelligent Quotient test) specifically the Stanford-Binet IQ test actually initiated the modern field of intelligence testing back in 1896. Created by French psychologist Alfred Binet (1857-1911) when he was asked by the French government to develop a way of identifying intellectually deficient children for placement in special education programs.

While Binet himself suggested that case studies might be more detailed and at times more reliable and helpful, the actual time required to test large numbers of people would admittedly be too great to do it right. Unfortunately, the tests he and his assistant Victor Henri (1892-1940) developed were (and continue to be) largely disappointing. But don’t blame Binet, he did warn everyone that these test scores shouldn’t be taken too literally because of the many varieties and variations of intelligence as well as the inherent margin of error in the tests.

Using a test that only considers linguistic and logical/mathematical intelligences while calling it a “general intelligence” assessment might be grounds for educational malpractice. Sure, traditional IQ tests may be able to predict success in some specific factors relevant primarily to academic achievement or situations that resemble those of school. But what about all the other areas of learning and ways of learning?

Yale University researchers are pilot-testing an assessment—The Aurora Battery – that reportedly taps intellectual skills not captured by traditional IQ tests. The theoretical framework for this new assessment theory is based on Robert Sternberg‘s “successful intelligence.” Developers say, “the new assessment could yield a very different pool of gifted students – one that includes a higher proportion of students from traditionally underrepresented minority groups than is often the case now.”

Read more about The Aurora Battery in Debra Viadero’s article for Education Week.

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A collection of ideas, research, and thoughts about kids today.

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