My Nine “Truths” of Data Analysis

Posted on June 06, 2011

Are social media and text messaging negatively impacting high school students?

The way students communicate with one another through social media and text messaging is creeping into high school classrooms across the country. Slang terms and text-speak such as IDK (I don’t know), more about SMH (shaking my head), malady and BTW (by the way) have become a common sight on student assignments, recipe befuddling some high school teachers who are unsure how to fix this growing problem.

Terry Wood, a foreign language teacher at St. Mary’s Ryken High School in Leonardtown, Md., has seen a “dramatic decline” in the writing abilities of her students “due to Tweeting, Facebook, and texting.” “They do not capitalize words or use punctuation anymore,” Wood, a teacher with 10 years of in-class experience, says. “Even in E-mails to teachers or [on] writing assignments, any word longer than one syllable is now abbreviated to one.”

According to a survey of 700 students ages 12 to 17 by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 85 percent of the respondents reported using a form of electronic communication, whether through instant messaging, text messaging, or social media. Growing up in a technological era, high school students may be unaware they are using language shortcuts in the classroom, says Allie Sakowicz, a rising senior at Maine South High School in Park Ridge, Ill.

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“I think that students don’t even realize that they’re doing it,” Sakowicz notes. “When we’re using all this social media we’re not thinking about spelling words right, so naturally that’s going to translate into the classroom.”


In fact, 64 percent of students in the study reported inadvertently using a form of shorthand native to texting or social networking. But, the problem does not end there, as Sakowicz acknowledges that younger teachers see the slang but “let it go.”


“Not that they like it, but they kind of expect it,” she says. “Teachers that are older and aren’t familiar with all the social media devices are really upset that this is what’s becoming of our language.”


[Read about the effort to develop better teacher evaluation systems.]

Author: Ryan Lytle, US News

For over 20 years, viagra I’ve been a data coach for hundreds of teachers, generic first as a top-level official in two Maryland school districts and now on the faculty of a university leadership center. I’ve had mountain-top experiences with school teams whose members really get what it means to use data to inform their instruction, visit this site and I’ve led sessions that were disasters.

Over the years, I have accumulated a set of what I first called “My Ten Commandments of Data Analysis.” Then, I reconsidered one, and “nine commandments” just didn’t sound right. So I now call them “My Nine Truths of Data Analysis.” They are not necessarily the truths, but they are definitely my truths. I would be interested in how they compare with the thoughts and experiences of others.

My first truth. We don’t need “data driven” schools. We desperately need “knowledge driven” schools. There is a big difference. Data are ways of expressing ideas, such as in numbers, sounds, and images, and they have very little value and usefulness in and of themselves. Data are merely the building blocks of the information age.

Data are useless unless they are first organized into meaningful patterns called information. This transformation is, largely, a technical process of summarizing and putting the numbers into usable forms like charts and graphs. Schools are acquiring some skill at this, and commercially developed instructional-management systems (or data warehouses) are facilitating this process. But many schools are still drowning in data and information.

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AuthorRonald S. Thomas, Edweek