Jeff Yearout, Ed Tech Treehouse, sent me a link to this article in the Wichita Eagle. Although the article is framed around the concept that we're losing our boys, it seems pretty clear to me that the real issue is engagement.

As the article states, both boys and girls believe that much of what is occurring in their classrooms is tediously boring and/or irrelevant to their current and future lives. Are boys more likely than girls to withdraw from or rebel against unengaging, seemingly-irrelevant course content? Are girls more likely than boys to sublimate their desires to do the same? I don't know. Someone better-versed in school psychology and/or sociology will have to answer those questions. But I do know this:

If schools (and universities) want to be relevant to today's youth, they are going to have to find ways to become more engaging in order to compete with the interactive, individualizing, empowering technologies that adolescents are using out of school.

As educators, we are in a battle for eyes, ears, and brainwaves. So far many of us are losing (and, as a result, so are our students).