school_makes_me_screen

Recently Google posted this very interesting and highly informative piece describing their process for indexing web pages. Basically, the more something is written about on the web, and the more relevant and fresh content is, the more the search engines sit up and take notice.

Armed with that understanding, I find this post on the education blog known as Dangerously Irrelevant very troubling… yet not surprising.

The blog post showed a Google search of the phrase "school makes me." Google's auto-complete function then filled in the rest of the sentence, displaying a number of its top hits, including "school makes me feel stupid", "school makes me sad", and "school makes me depressed." Only one of the top nine -- school makes me happy -- was at all positive.

I then followed the author's advice, and searched the phrase in Google myself. The results I got -- shown in the photo above -- were almost identical to his.

The author went on to say that, as a follow up, he presented this phrase to some real live high school students, an experiment that yielded far more favorable results, including "school makes me have fun" and "school makes me be ready to be someone."

So what conclusions are we to draw? Surely different people will interpret all of this differently, but I do know that there is enough evidence to suggest that much of what gets put on the internet -- including social media -- comes in the form of a complaint.

Now certainly, many students, teachers, administrators, and parents have reasons to complain. But, like the author of the blog post, I know that there are many out there who have positive experiences with school. I suppose it's human nature, really, to complain loudly while we praise quietly, if at all.

I have long believed that if you are happy with or thankful for the job someone is doing, you should tell them. I also believe that a letter recognizing the good work of a school employee, sent to a principal, superintendent, or school board, is just about the best gift you can give to that person who's the subject of the letter.

LF_OM_teamBut perhaps these days, that's not enough.

So how about the next time you have (or your child has) a great day at school, you let the world know in whatever thoroughly-modern medium you like best. A blog post about an interesting lesson. A shout-out tweet to ABC Elementary for a terrific curriculum fair. Some virtual applause on Facebook for a school employee's extra special hard work. Or perhaps an Instagram photo like this one, showing some very excited members of the victorious Odyssey of the Mind team from the middle school in Lake Forest, Delaware... letting it all go to their heads!