Odds and Ends December 15, 2009

Teens and Sexting

The Pew Research Center released a study today on Teens and Sexting. The study claims that only 4% of teens aged 12 to 17 admit to sending sexually provocative while 15% of the same group claimed to have received a sexually provocative message. Older teens are more likely to engage in sexting. Apparently ownership of the cellphone makes teens more willing to engage in sexting. Guess they feel they don’t have to show the phone to Mom and Dad since they don’t pay. Surprise! There are three main reasons for sexting: Texts between romantic partners, messages shared outside the relationship, and messages sent to someone in hopes of starting a romantic relationship.

Finally the sub-$100 notebook

I have been predicting notebook computers would sink below the $100 level for a couple of years. The One Laptop per Child project came close but could not make the magical price point. Engadget posted today about a laptop called the CherryPal that goes for $99. Don’t expect a lot from this machine. It has a 400 MHz processor, 256 MB of memory and a 2GB flash drive. Beats nothing and its a start.

Interesting ways to use Google Wave

Mashable posted four interesting ways to use the new Google Wave. Some of these should provide thought for school projects:

  1. Manhunt: Keep track of news stories as they happen using a variety of sources. Sounds like Twitter.
  2. The Declaration of Independence: This could make for an interesting exercise for Social Studies classes. Think of all the historical documents that could be revised by collaborative groups of students.
  3. Role playing games: A creative teacher could make this work for studying all kinds of topics. Great Expectations: The Role Playing Game anyone?
  4. A way to share embedded video.

Making lectures come alive

Mashable posts nine ways for presenters to engage with their audiences with social media. One thing that intrigued me was an app called Hotseat. The app was created by Purdue University so collaborative discussions could be done in and out of the classroom. Students can use Twitter, Facebook, a web application, and mobile phones to interact with the teacher and other members of the class to provide input and additional discussion. Now a bigger reason for students to text in class.

Barbarians at the gate

Yesterday a teacher asked me for the key to our new wireless network access for a student who wanted to use his netbook in class. The problem is that it is a big secret amongst the technology staff. There is a guest access setup but a login was still needed. When I explained I did not have access to the logins she asked what good was our wireless access if students cannot get access. A good question.

Today I got a login for the guest access but was told it should not be shared with teachers or students. Apparently there is a concern that if a student loses or damages a personal laptop the district could be held liable. Also, it is feared students could use proxy servers to get around security to access forbidden sites.

With the proliferation of Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices and more students getting their own netbooks the day is soon coming to reckon with giving access. Guess our district needs to start working up a policy for student use of district Internet access with personal equipment. My vote, have a form which students and parents sign that spells out how the network is to be used, what constitute inappropriate use, and release the district from liability if a student accesses inappropriate sites or bypasses security protocols.