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Web 2.0 and School Administrators
Sunday, 14 January 2007
U.S. Teens and Social Networks
Topic: Emerging Technologies

How many teens are using social networks, and of this group who is most likely to have a profile posted on MySpace or Facebook?

These and other questions are answered in a new Pew Internet Project Data Memo, Social Networking Websites and Teens: An Overview, published on Jan. 7, 2007.

Curious about how teens use social networking? The chart below provides some insights:


Teens & Friends on Social Networking Sites

What are the different ways you use social networking sites? Do you ever use those sites to…?




Stay in touch with friends you see a lot



Stay in touch with friends you rarely see in person



Make plans with your friends



Make new friends



Flirt with someone



Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Parents & Teens Survey, October-November 2006. Based on teens who use social networking sites [N=493] Margin of error is ±5%.



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Posted by sjbrooks_young at 11:49 AM PST
Updated: Sunday, 14 January 2007 11:53 AM PST
Saturday, 13 January 2007
Filtering and Finance
Topic: Leadership Issues

Two new topics have been added to the EducationIdeagora wiki (password: idea).

The first asks for advice about how a district can provide student access to Wikipedia while filtering articles with inappropriate language and/or graphics.

The second asks for feedback on the pros and cons of zero-based budgeting.

If you have expertise (or even just an opinion) on either of these topics, please use the link provided above to visit the wiki and make a contribution. 


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Posted by sjbrooks_young at 7:18 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, 13 January 2007 7:27 PM PST
Monday, 8 January 2007
Education Blogosphere Survey
Topic: E-Communication

Scott McLeod (Dangerously Irrelevant) is conducting an online survey of the education blogosphere. If you're interested in participating, here's the info from the post on his blog. 


All education bloggers are hereby invited and encouraged to...

  1. complete the short and completely unscientific, but hopefully interesting, education blogosphere survey;
  2. forward the URL of said survey to all other known education bloggers to ensure decent representation of the education blogosphere; and
  3. publicize said survey URL on their own blogs to foster greater participation in this most noble endeavor.

Survey results received by Sunday, January 14, shall be posted in the town square on Wednesday, January 17.

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Posted by sjbrooks_young at 5:01 PM PST
Opportunity to Shape Policy in Another Country
Topic: E-Communication

You have a real opportunity to help shape policy in another country. I have a colleague who works for the Ministry of Education in another nation where they are going to institute school program self-review in the very near future.

He has asked me about how this is done in the U.S. (to avoid reinventing the wheel). As I answered his questions, it occurred to me that he was getting a limited (one-person) point of view. So I asked him if I could post his questions on a wiki and solicit ideas from other educators (not necessarily limited to the U.S.). He said yes, so here goes...

Coincidentally, his query came as I was reading Chapter 4 in Wikinomics, which describes the concept of Ideagoras. An Ideagora is a Web site that is used to post questions/problems, and invite responses from experts in that field. The idea is that collective wisdom benefits both the person/organization posting the question and the contributors.

Here's the link to the EducationIdeagora. The password is idea. Please look at the questions and add your ideas.

Also, please feel free to add your own topic(s).

Finally, please share the link and password with your colleagues (e.g., post on your own blog). This is an exciting opportunity for us! 


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Posted by sjbrooks_young at 11:15 AM PST
Updated: Monday, 8 January 2007 11:20 AM PST
Wednesday, 3 January 2007
I've been tagged: five things you may not know about me...
Topic: E-Communication

There's a game of virtual 'tag' happening among bloggers. Basically,someone posts five things readers may not not about him/her and then tags five more bloggers. I was tagged last by Karen Fasimpaur who, it turns out, must have grown up near where I did in Cincinnati because one of her five things was going to Reds games with her dad.

Anyway, it's kind of fun to read about other bloggers and see how far this thing goes. Here are my five things.

1. I was in the band in high school (played clarinet) and marched in the half time show at the first Pro Bowl (whoa, does that make me old or what???).

2. I was 16 when I went to college and had no clue what I wanted to do (except I was pretty sure I didn't want to teach school). So...I majored in Theater Arts. Didn't seem practical at the time, but it's served me well in a variety of jobs.

3. When I finally decided a few years later that maybe teaching wasn't such a bad idea after all, I went back to school during the day and worked as a cocktail waitress at a cowboy bar at night to pay for tuition and books. This was right when Willie and Waylon hit their stride, so the music wasn't as challenging as it might have been, and I learned a lot about how to deal with people in altered states of mind!

4. Many people know I live on a farm on an island, but fewer people know that I also have seasonal residency in Canada and live part time in Vancouver, BC.

5. Finally, a side project that I occasionally get back to work on is a series of walking tours of Baroque churches when Rome. When I read Angels and Demons, I knew every single landmark Dan Brown used in the book.

That's it for me.

Okay, here are my five tags:


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Posted by sjbrooks_young at 10:38 AM PST
Updated: Thursday, 4 January 2007 7:27 PM PST
Saturday, 30 December 2006
Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
Topic: Emerging Technologies

We're spending part of the holidays in Southern California visiting family and friends. In the last 2 days, I've had two conversations that I really need to think about.

The first was with a friend who teaches at a nearby college. He observed that increasing numbers of his students are citing Wikipedia in their papers along with other online sources that they haven't vetted very carefully. "I'm thinking about banning all online resources in student bibliographies," he said. I asked him if he really thought that would be doing the students a service and if maybe this could be an opportunity to teach them some 21st century literacy skills. He looked at me as though I had developed a third eyeball in my forehead.

The second happened this morning when I ran into an old high school friend. He's running a drop-in center at a local church and mentioned that he needed some software for algebra tutorials. I asked him if he'd gone online to look for a Web-based tutorial (that might even be free) and suggested checking out Dr. Math on Math Forum. I said I didn't have the URL, but a quick Google search should give him the link to that and other math resources. Once again, I got that glazed look in response.

At first crack, I think I've hit just another couple of examples of Digital Immigrants who don't have a clue. What a waste for them and for the kids they're working with! This generational Digital Divide seems to be widening by the second.

Coincidentally, while waiting for our flight last Wednesday, I read a review in the Vancouver Sun that mentioned Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams new book, Wikinomics. I think I'll be blogging about this as I read to help me sort out how the text relates to the growing chasm between adults of a certain age (or attitude) and kids. Here's one quote early on that resonated with me:

"The Web is no longer about idly surfing and passively reading, listening, or watching. It's about peering: sharing, socializing, collaborating, and most of all, creating within loosely connected communities. As Socialtext (a provider of enterprise wiki software) founder Ross Mayfield Likes to say, 'The new Web is about verbs, not nouns.'"

How does this relate to the conversations mentioned earlier? The folks I was talking with aren't even comfortable with the first manifestation of the Web, let alone the changes that have transpired in the last couple of years. How do I (we) help the people in leadership roles in education grasp the need for major change in our schools when they have little or no clue about what's happening? That's basically a rhetorical question, but any comments would be appreciated.

More later... 

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Posted by sjbrooks_young at 5:30 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, 30 December 2006 5:32 PM PST
Thursday, 28 December 2006
How to Build a Student for the 21st Century
Topic: Leadership Issues

So I'm a little behind here. A recent cover story for Time magazine (posted 12/10/06) is well worth reading, particularly in conjunction with the report I referenced in yesterday's post from the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce.

This article is about the conversation we're currently not having about public education and the fact that, thanks to NCLB, we're now aiming our sites way too low. In other words, we're doing ourselves, and our children, an extreme disservice these days.

I plan to share this with administrators I'm currently working with.

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Posted by sjbrooks_young at 11:43 AM PST
Updated: Thursday, 28 December 2006 11:46 AM PST
Wednesday, 27 December 2006
Tough Choices or Tough Times: The Report of the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce
Topic: Leadership Issues

Have you read about the report issued on 12/14/06 by the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce (italics theirs)? A 28-page Executive Summary is available online in PDF. At least one national education reporter, Jay Matthews is dismissive (see Bad Guess on U.S. Future), but I'm not ready to be so quick to jump on the 'been-there-done-that' bandwagon.

There are two major sticking points for Matthews. First, the call for sweeping change in American schools. Hmmmm...he calls it unrealistic, I think it's imperative.

Second, the commission recommends a path choice at the end of 10th grade. Some kids would go to community college and tech school, others would take a more traditional path. Based on what I've read, there are multiple opportunities to switch tracks throughout the suggested model. I know that 'track' is not a PC word, but I also know that we continue to fail at least 1/3 to 1/2 of our students. We need well educated people who are skilled technicians. What's wrong with supporting them rather than telling them they're somehow 'less-than' because they don't aspire to go directly into a 4-year post-secondary program?

Anyway, read the summary. If that grabs your interest, the book is available on 

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Posted by sjbrooks_young at 1:33 PM PST
Updated: Wednesday, 27 December 2006 1:37 PM PST
Monday, 4 December 2006

This is a letter I just sent off to the editor of Learning & Leading with Technology magazine. I'd be interested in your thoughts... 
Hi Anita,
Just read through the most recent issue of L&L. I rarely feel the need to respond in writing to something I've read in a publication, but need to take exception with Chuck Favata's statements in this month's Point/Counterpoint--particularly the analogy he uses comparing social networks to candy cigarettes.
I don't know of any employers who insist that employees smoke to keep their jobs. However, I do know of a growing number of companies that require staff members to use social networking applications. For example, all journalists for Business 2.0 magazine must blog and a major newspaper recently imposed the same requirement for its reporters. Not to mention the companies that now Google employees' names and take disciplinary action when they find inappropriate material posted online.
I prefer to compare use of social networking applications to driving. We all know that putting a teenager behind the wheel of a car can be dangerous--even deadly. However, we also recognize that not being able to drive is a serious social and economic handicap for most Americans. And so, we don't forbid our children to drive and we don't wait until they're legal driving age, hand them a set of car keys, and then hope for the best. Instead, we make every effort to teach them how to drive sensibly and responsibly. In most cases, this works.
We need to treat social networking the same way, by teaching students how to use them constructively and avoid pitfalls. Will this approach protect every teen? No. However, ignoring social networks and leaving kids to their own devices leads to more harm than good, and causes us to lose valuable opportunities to teach students to take advantage of this powerful tool for collaboration.

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Posted by sjbrooks_young at 7:25 PM PST
Updated: Monday, 4 December 2006 7:28 PM PST
Sunday, 19 November 2006
Snap Preview Anywhere
Topic: Emerging Technologies

Snap Preview Anywhere is a new free tool released just last week. It allows Webmasters to add site previewing capability to webpages. Try hovering your mouse over the Snap Preview Anywhere link to see what I mean.

The thinking behind this is that site visitors can save time by viewing a quick snapshop of links provided on a site before deciding whether or not to click on the link and navigate away from your site. I can see some real possibilities for both education websites and blogs.

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Posted by sjbrooks_young at 11:01 PM PST
Updated: Sunday, 19 November 2006 11:03 PM PST

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