Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Student independent reading report

Students generally do not select challenging nonfiction for independent reading, according to a recent report. While students' selection of nonfiction has increased by 5%, the number still is below recommendations in the Common Core State Standards.  Findings also indicated that reading peaked at 6th grade, and that girls outread boys.
The study is based on Accelerated Reader data.
Renaissance Learning. (2014). What Kids Are Reading. Wisconsin Rapid, WI: Renaissance Learning.
http://doc.renlearn.com/KMNet/R004101202GH426A.pdf

Thursday, November 13, 2014

School libraries and eboo survey

E-book usage is slowly growing among school libraries, with elementary schools showing the largest usage rates of one book for every three students, according to a report from the School Library Journal. Findings from the survey of 835 school libraries indicate that limited access to e-readers was the top reason schools are slow to adopt e-books, and iPads were the top devices used for reading.
School Library Journal. (2014). Ebook Usage in U.S. School (K–12) Libraries. 
http://www.slj.com/2014/11/books-media/ebooks/ebooks-take-hold-slowly/#_
http://www.thedigitalshift.com/research/ebook-usage-u-s-school-k-12-libraries-2014-report/

Friday, November 7, 2014

Personalized education impact research

Students who participate in personalized-learning programs may perform better on computerized reading and math assessments, according to a recent study. However, the researchers caution against attributing the gains solely to such programs. Moreover, there remain practical and systemic barriers to expanding programs that aim to tailor instruction to individual students’ needs and skills.

Rand Corporation. (2014). Early Progress: Interim Report on Personalized Learning. Seattle, WA: Gates Foundation.
http://collegeready.gatesfoundation.org/sites/default/files/Early%20Progress%20Interim%20Report%20on%20Personalized%20Learning%20-%20Executive%20Summary_0.pdf 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Exercise for productivity research

Second- and fourth-grade students in Canada were more attentive and less fidgety in class after spending four minutes engaged in physical activity, according to a recent study by researchers at Queen's University. They found that engaging students in what they called FUNtervals improved students' attention and performance in school.
Gurd BJ, Le Mare L, and Ma JK. Classroom-based high-intensity interval activity improves off-task behaviour in primary school students. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 2014.
http://www.medicaldaily.com/fun-exercise-boost-kids-attention-school-performance-all-it-takes-4-minutes-308922

Digita learning report

This national study examines the state of digital learning today and highlights the need for high-quality, actionable data on the digital learning tools and methods students use. Student choice at the state level, student choice at the course level, and the existence and strength of charter school laws are three predictors of how strong a state’s digital learning opportunities are likely to be. Overall, more students than ever before have access to digital learning opportunities, including online and blended learning, but state policies and other factors often limit digital learning’s availability.
The researchers outlined four main reasons schools are increasingly incorporating digital learning opportunities into teaching and learning:
1. Improving student access to a variety of schooling options
2. Ensuring that students reach their maximum achievement levels
3. Increasing technology skills, which parents, teachers, and stakeholders believe to be essential for college- and career-ready students
4. Reducing costs
Most school districts use digital learning tools and resources, but the extent, type, and goal of that use vary widely.
Different grades use digital content and tools differently, too, according to the report:
  • High schools tend to offer fully online courses and many forms of digital content.
  • Elementary schools tend to offer self-paced interactive activities that are topic-focused and collaborative
  • Middle schools are a hybrid of high schools and elementary schools, in which younger middle school students are more likely to use interactive and skill-based lessons, while older middle school students use other forms of digital content and begin venturing into online learning opportunities

Evergreen Education Group. (2014).  Keeping Pace with K-12 Digital Learning.
http://kpk12.com/
 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Deeper learning research

Deeper Learning Approach Shows Positive Student Gains
      The idea that students need to develop a deeper understanding of content and the ability to apply what they learn in one area to another area are major premises of new learning standards, such as the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. A new study now shows that schools promoting the practices of what's called "deeper learning" are getting better results from their students. According to the American Institute for Research,
deeper learning consists of three elements: a "deeper understanding of core academic content"; "the ability to apply that understanding to novel problems and situations"; and "development of a range of competencies," such as communication, collaboration, "learning to learn," development of an academic mindset and self-control.
     The organization examined outcomes for students attending schools that participate in a deeper learning network community of practice. Researchers compared 13 "network" schools against non-network schools with similar levels of incoming student achievement rates and comparable levels of federal, state and local funding. All are public high schools with student populations that include students of color, English language learners and students from low-income families.
     The study found that the network schools tackled development of deeper learning competencies in different ways. Most used project-based learning to help students master core academic content areas and critical thinking skills, but the structure of those projects varied across schools. Students at these schools reported "greater opportunities" to engage in deeper learning than the students in non-network schools. The network schools, for example, put a bigger emphasis on internship opportunities, study groups and student participation in decision-making.
 American Institute for Research.  (2014). Study of deeper learning: Opportunities and outcomes.
http://www.air.org/project/study-deeper-learning-opportunities-and-outcomes

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Literacies divide

Three recent studies reveal the impact of poverty on information and digital literacy.

A new study shows that a separate gap has emerged, with lower-income students again lagging more affluent students in their ability to find, evaluate, integrate and communicate the information they find online. Although the study is based on a small sample, it demonstrates a general lack of online literacy among all students, indicating that schools have not yet caught up to teach the skills needed to navigate digital information. Seventh grade students from a school in a community where the median family income was more than $100,000 demonstrated slightly more than one extra school year’s worth of online reading ability compared with students from a community where the median family income was close to $60,000. Despite the higher rates of academic Internet use among the more affluent students in the study, a little more than a quarter of them performed well on tasks where they were required to discern the reliability of facts on a particular web page. Only 16 percent of the lower-income students performed well on those tasks.
The New Literacies of Online Research and Comprehension: Rethinking the Reading Achievement Gap
Donald J. Leu, Elena Forzani, Chris Rhoads, Cheryl Maykel, Clint Kennedy and Nicole Timbrell
14 SEP 2014 | DOI: 10.1002/rrq.85



In  a $20 million project carried out there beginning in 2003, laptops were randomly assigned to public middle school students. The benefit of owning one of these computers, researchers later determined, was significantly greater for those students whose test scores were high to begin with.
Shapley, K. (2009). Evaluation of the Texas Technology Immersion Pilot: Final Outcomes for a Four-Year Study (2004-05 to 2007-08). ERIC.http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED536296




     Researchers are also documenting a digital Matthew Effect, in which the already advantaged gain more from technology than do the less fortunate. As with books and reading, the most knowledgeable, most experienced, and most supported students are those best positioned to use computers to leap further ahead.
     This may stem in part from the influence of adults on children’s computer activities. At the more affluent neighborhood library,  young visitors to the computer area were almost always accompanied by a parent or grandparent. Adults positioned themselves close to the children and close to the screen, offering a stream of questions and suggestions. Kids were steered away from games and toward educational programs emphasizing letters, numbers and shapes. When the children became confused or frustrated, the grownups guided them to a solution.
     At the less affluent library, children manipulated the computers on their own, while accompanying adults watched silently or remained in other areas of the library altogether. Lacking the “scaffolding” provided by the richer parents, the poorer kids clicked around frenetically, rarely staying with one program for long. Older children figured out how to use the programs as games; younger children became discouraged and banged on the keyboard or wandered away.
These different patterns of use had quantifiable effects on the children’s learning. More affluent preschoolers encountered twice as many written words on computer screens as did the poorer children; the more affluent toddlers received 17 times as much adult attention while using the library’s computers as did their less privileged counterparts. The researchers documented differences among older kids as wellNeuman, S., & Celano, D. (2012). Worlds apart. American Educator (fall), 13-23.
https://www.aft.org/pdfs/americaneducator/fall2012/Neuman.pdf