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[ NNSquad ] Re: Irresponsible science and academic fraud

Title: Re: [ NNSquad ]  Irresponsible science and academic fraud

I look forward to your essay.  I’ve read the study. It says a couple of things about 5th-8th graders that make intuitive sense:

In other words, computers and internet access are not a “magic bullet” for educational achievement, particularly for the disadvantaged students, and, in certain circumstances, can be counter-productive.  An earlier European study reached similar conclusions about “crowding out” and suggested that over-exposure to computers and the internet in these early years of intellectual development produced great keyboarding skills that would prepare the students to compete for low-paying data entry jobs but not for jobs requiring intellect. It seems reasonable to consider the possibility of adverse impacts under the admonition of “first, do no harm”.

>From this report’s CONCLUSION:

“This evidence is consistent with the view that internet
service, and technology more broadly, is put to more productive use in
households with more effective parental monitoring of child behavior.  For 
school administrators interested in maximizing achievement test scores, or
reducing racial and socioeconomic disparities in test scores, all evidence
suggests that a program of broadening home computer access would be 
counterproductive.  Of course, administrators may have other goals aside
from improving math and reading test scores. Computer literate students may 
enjoy improved job opportunities later in life, or may be poised to take
better advantage of online resources once their internal mechanisms for
behavioral regulation have fully developed. ... It is not clear, however,
whether computer literacy actually leads to better employment outcomes,
and also not clear whether access to home computers in the early secondary
school years is critical to later computer literacy. [p.35]”

On 6/28/10 6:16 PM, "Bob Frankston" <Bob19-0501@bobf.frankston.com> wrote:

The more I think about it the worse these studies are. They are fraudulent. If do real science and try to isolate the factors you’ll find that the one factor most antithetical to these results is the broadband business model. I argue that keeping that service-based pricing out of the home was a key enabler what we’ve gained from today’s connectivity.
I can understand companies proffering marketing bad studies as marketing hype – that’s their job. But when academics get in the business that’s irresponsible and even fraudulent. Sometimes it’s just a result of sloppy work, especially with statistics which get tricky. In statistics people can also fall back an accepted practices such as significance testing even if they turn out to be very problematic.
But these kind of studies, Duke is far from alone and I haven’t look at this one in particular, have no such excuse. They are simply a race to publish and prove their thesis. This is also normal part of the grant process – you better know the answer before you “waste” the government’s money on “research”. I put all this in quotes to emphasize factors that prevent discovery.
I’m mulling an essay on this. The general topic is too deep and pervasive but focusing on broadband might be useful for making the point.
Too bad people don’t understand science and see it as discovering the one true truth rather than refining our ability to deal with an ambiguous world. The idea of revealing the truth is more religion than science and leads us to confirm our naïve assumptions rather than challenging them.
And it leads to terrible policy decisions
From: Frank A. Coluccio [mailto:frank@fttx.org]
Sent: Monday, June 28, 2010 17:45
To: Bob Frankston
Cc: oia@lists.bway.net; lauren@vortex.com
Subject: Re: [OIA] FW: [ NNSquad ] Duke Univ. study claims universal home access to broadband would *widen* math/reading achievement gaps

Bob, you've touched on a recurring theme whose frequency and breadth is on the rise and expanding near-universally. I'm currently discussing the "NBN" prospects of several countries with their leading proponents who are holding out social agendas and attempting, whether wittingly or not, to shoehorn network infrastructure, which has already been contaminated by "broadband", to meet the contours of specific vendors' municipal applications (similar to the far-sweeping social platforms now being proffered by vendors doing exactly the same thing under the guise of CSR, or corporate social responsibility) in the most gratuitous and self-serving ways. It's pervasive. Green, smart-grid, broadband, the list goes on. This is what happens when the elasticity of legitimate enterprise reaches its limit and becomes entirely exhausted: Madison Avenue FUD.

--- Bob19-0501@bobf.frankston.com wrote:

From: "Bob Frankston" <Bob19-0501@bobf.frankston.com>
To: "Open Infrastructure Alliance" <oia@lists.bway.net>
Cc: 'Lauren Weinstein' <lauren@vortex.com>
Subject: [OIA] FW: [ NNSquad ] Duke Univ. study claims universal home access to broadband would *widen* math/reading achievement gaps
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2010 17:11:57 -0400

FYI. I really need to write a full essay on the fallacy of using these kind
of results to justify bad policies. We can think of many other policies. For
example, training people to work at MacDonald's will improve their job
prospects but nowhere near as much as educating them with skills to learn or
train themselves for whatever job happen in the future.

Settling for broadband is like getting a bad loan to buy a year's supply for
first class train tickets instead of buying a car you can afford that will
take you where you choose to go, especially to local destinations.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bob Frankston [mailto:Bob19-0501@bobf.frankston.com]
Sent: Monday, June 28, 2010 17:09
To: 'Lauren Weinstein'; 'nnsquad@nnsquad.org'
Subject: RE: [ NNSquad ] Duke Univ. study claims universal home access to
broadband would *widen* math/reading achievement gaps

The problem with these studies is that they are correct but the policy
implications are limiting. Sure broadband will improve skills. The danger
comes when we use it to justify giving away our infrastructure to service
providers. We could accomplish this an much more if we take other approaches
without the negatives of the broadband business model.

-----Original Message-----
From: nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org
[mailto:nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org] On Behalf Of
Lauren Weinstein
Sent: Monday, June 28, 2010 16:54
To: nnsquad@nnsquad.org
Subject: [ NNSquad ] Duke Univ. study claims universal home access to
broadband would *widen* math/reading achievement gaps

Duke Univ. study claims universal home access to broadband would
*widen* math/reading achievement gaps

http://bit.ly/czWVww  (Calder Center [PDF])

NNSquad Moderator

Open Infrastructure Alliance