Living and learning with new media...

A recent report arrived this week: Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of findings from the Digital Youth Project. This joint project was carried out by the University of Southern California and the University of Berkeley. Granted by the MacArthur foundation.

Some major findings from the report are interesting in the frame of mathetic learning.

Youth uses online media in the first place to extend friendships and interests.
The majority of youth is "always on" , contacting friends they know already in real life and just "hanging out"and extending their friendships.
Just a small group is using the web for exploring interests and finding information. Driven by their interests they find peers outside their local community.

Youth engage in peer based, self directed learning online.
By trial and error the majority of youth learns themselves various forms of technical and media literacy. The digital world lowers barriers to self directed learning. "Geeking out" is just for a small part of youth. They dive into a particular topic or explore their talent. This way of behavior erases the traditional markers of status and authority.

New media allow for a degree of freedom and autonomy that is less apparent in an average classroom. Youth respect one another's authority online and they are often more motivated to learn from peers than from adults.

Adults should facilitate young people's engagement with digital media.
They learn basic social and technical skills, demonstrate open and experimental behavior that is certainly not present in all educational institutions.

Adults can play an important role in interest-driven participation.
Although often learning from peers, youth can use adults as more mature role models, and specialized peers.

Tests to measure these capacities are in fact not yet available.

Parallel to these findings are some results from Neuropsychological research:

During young adulthood the brain of pupils is still under heavy construction. Planning and taking well balanced decisions is therefore difficult for them. Experiments, where young adults (12-17 year) were treated as if they could make their own plans completely independent, did not succeed in for instance the Netherlands. Educators discovered that they overestimated these capacities. Adults are better able to take balanced decisions and can play an important role, especially when they are seen as democratic peers, with knowledge at an expert level.



Searching and blogging for mathetics

Is there a correlation between the countries on the top ten list of searching for the word Mathetics and those countries visiting this weblog?

In order to answer this question we used the top ten list and compared it with the results of the counter on our weblog (see picture).
There is indeed a correlation for the top searchers on Google: Australia, United Kingdom and United States. They also are the top of the blog ranking list.
The Philippines and New Zealand also correlate positive. They are on the 8th and 9th place.
Remarkable is the position of Germany. This does not correlate with search behavior on Google. However on the blog ranking list it is on the fifth place.
* There is a correlation for five countries: they search most frequent on Google for the word "mathetics". Those countries are also the most frequent visitors of this weblog.
* Germany is not in the top ten list of Google, but is looking at the weblog rather frequent.
* In both situations (Google and the mathetics blog) there is a fast growing amount of total visits observable.
Many questions arise and remain. One was answered in a pilot study, in the context of the European project Eisweb. There we used a small questionnaire for the participating experts from Universities, Schools of Education, and the students (teachers who worked in their schools for elementary and secondary education). Eleven of them answered four questions:

1. Are you familiar with the word

yes (73%) no (18%) ? (9%)
2. What country are you from?
Austria(2), Netherlands(3), Switserland(1),Czech

3. Is the concept of mathetics playing a role in your

a little (55%); no (27%); ? (18%); yes (0%)
4. Would you like to learn more about mathetics?
Yes (100%)

All this lacks reliability and validity. It is just a pilot, showing a tendency and could be the start for further research. Let me know if you are involved in it or plan to do.

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Mathetics: growing interest divided over the world.

With the help of Google it is possible to see how often words and concepts are being searched. Either all over the world in a particular country or part of that country. Although rather elementary it gives an idea of the popularity of the term or concept in question.

Starting from 2004 there is a more than doubled interest in Mathetics as a search item. The top ten countries, in which the term is searched rather much are:

1. Australia
2. United Kingdom
3. United States
4.South Africa
5. Thailand
6. Singapore
8. Philippines
9. New Zealand
10. Netherlands

Although mathetics got twice as much attention as in 2004, Europe seems to play a minor role in searching the word. Only the United Kingdom and the Netherland have a place in the top ten from this moment. Next question would be to relate this to the educational developments in the countries. Why is there a growing interest and does it correlate with the search interests of people.

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