Education Featured Article
December 13, 2012
Whatever Happened to the Oregon Trail? American Middle Schoolers Seriously Put the Rest of Us to Shame
By Allison Boccamazzo, TMCnet Web Editor
It seems that the majority of all young students from the 80’s, 90’s and early millennium would unashamedly agree that today’s educated youth are being crafted into suspiciously over-stimulated, miniature-sized adults. Today’s educational agenda is so drastically different from when we were kids that it’s hard to believe children no longer drop holiday cards on each other’s desks, awkwardly bring their pets in for show and tell and no longer need to learn the harsh realities of the 19th century pioneer life on the Oregon Trail.
Above, sweet memories. (It should rather be from ages 10 to awesome) Image via Wikipedia
Perhaps the starkest difference between these two times is the way research was conducted. Remember blowing the dust off a thick Encyclopedia to write that research paper? To do that today, kids are operating some of the world’s largest, most popular search engines (and they’re probably doing it on their own tablets, too).
Last week, the Pew (News - Alert) Internet and American Life Project revealed the results of a survey of over 2,400 middle school students and high school teachers, showing that 94 percent of teachers said their students were “very likely” to use Google (News - Alert) to conduct research, while 75 percent said the same for the popular, non-profit search engine, Wikipedia.
As the rest of us watch our old practices slip away, today’s middle school students increasingly embrace the methods of today’s modern age. So much so that only 18 percent of teachers reported their students to be very likely to turn to textbooks for research. Even more, only 12 percent said their students were very likely to use any other kind of printed book at all.
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