Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Libraries as Innovative Learning Spaces

Here is a very interesting article from The Huffington Post on teens and education:

When Youth Own the Public Education Agenda
Mimi Ito

As a parent and educator who is also an anthropologist committed to appreciating youth perspectives, I stand at the cusp of two different learning cultures--one that is about youth-driven social engagement and sharing, and the other that is embodied in educational institutions' adult-driven agendas. My biggest challenge has been to find what it would take to get alignment between the energy that kids bring to video games, text messaging, and social network sites and the learning that parents and educators care about.

She particularly likes what Chicago Public is doing at their main library:

YouMedia is all about fulfilling the traditional goals of education, but through innovative means keyed to today's networked and digital media environment.

Here is a video:

Can we get this at the Monroe Library? Pretty please?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

How Distracted Can Teens Get and Still Function?

Early this week David shared this New York Times article with me, which is definitely worth discussion:

Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction
Published: November 21, 2010

As a distractable (yet pretty productive) person myself, I found this article very interesting.

Sam Crocker, Vishal’s closest friend, who has straight A’s but lower SAT scores than he would like, blames the Internet’s distractions for his inability to finish either of his two summer reading books. “I know I can read a book, but then I’m up and checking Facebook,” he says, adding: “Facebook is amazing because it feels like you’re doing something and you’re not doing anything. It’s the absence of doing something, but you feel gratified anyway.” He concludes: “My attention span is getting worse.”

And its not just the busy that seems to be the problem, but the effects of not getting true rest:

In that vein, recent imaging studies of people have found that major cross sections of the brain become surprisingly active during downtime. These brain studies suggest to researchers that periods of rest are critical in allowing the brain to synthesize information, make connections between ideas and even develop the sense of self. Researchers say these studies have particular implications for young people, whose brains have more trouble focusing and setting priorities. “Downtime is to the brain what sleep is to the body,” said Dr. Rich of Harvard Medical School. “But kids are in a constant mode of stimulation.”

If you want to see a great visual representation of how wired in teens are, watch the movie Easy A (I caught it at the Crest last night and thought it was the best teen movie I've seen in ages)...the gossip scene are a wonderful embodiment of the way teens have not just become wired in, but to each other.

Can they disconnect when they need to? Can you?