Interesting thought about academic research

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College libraries are loaded with academic research. Doctoral candidates fill libraries as they attempt to describe the many different states of American education, spewing out reports of varying validity and reliability.

It occurs to me that much of our older research may be pretty useless, though. The world has undergone a paradigm shift. America’s students are becoming steadily more linked into the world wide web and steadily less separable from each other, their electronics providing them with a constant barrage of communication. In the meantime, America has many more young, single parents, resulting in many minimally supervised children. Gangs control some neighborhoods. Demographics are changing all over the place.

From http://www.newgeography.com/content/003834-detroit-why-hast-thou-forsaken-me:

detroit-white-flight-chart

The children of today are not the same children who participated in the studies of the sixties. Their lives are too different. Their educational experience is necessarily different from those children who were young in the mid-1900s.

For example, homework studies of the past may genuinely no longer apply to today’s school population. The conditions of homework have changed too greatly. My students can go home and look up an essay, and then copy and paste that essay into a word document, or simply buy the essay outright. Even if they only copy and paste bits, the effect on learning is profound. The effect on integrity is equally profound.