Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Technology as a learning tool report

 The move to digital learning during the pandemic has resulted in a greater appreciation by parents and students for technology as a learning tool, according to a recent report.The report -- based on responses from more than 110,000 students, nearly 12,000 teachers and others --also found the increase in technology use provides more opportunities and context for defining value and rigor of resources. Some other findings were: greater appreciation by parents and students of digital learning, and student awareness of more modalities for learning.

Project Tomorrow. (2020). Digital Learning During the Pandemic: Emerging Evidence of an Education Transformation. Irvine, CA: Project Tomorrow. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

A Comment on “Extensive Reading” Combined with Study Abroad. S Krashen

  

A Comment on “Extensive Reading” Combined with Study Abroad

Submitted for publication

 

O’Neil and Edelman (2020) reported that including an “extensive reading” requirement as part of a study abroad program “had a negative effect on reading affect” (p. 251). 

 

Their subjects were two similar groups of undergraduates studying science and engineering in Japan who participated in a program in the United States that lasted for one month. It included lectures and field trips in science and the local culture, interaction with local university students, and workshops on research in which students presented reports in areas of their interest. The experimental group engaged in extensive reading and controls did not. Questionnaires were administered to both group four months before the program began, at the end of the program, and one year later. 

 

The experimental group experienced a clear decline in their opinion of the “practical value” of the reading program at the end of the program and this opinion had not changed one year later. They also felt more negative about the educational value of the reading program, but when asked one year later, their opinions on this issue were the same as those of control subjects.

This result is clearly inconsistent with the results of a large number of studies showing that programs that encourage self-selected pleasure reading are valued by students (Krashen, 2004, 28-34) and produce clear gains in language development (Mason and Krashen, 2017). 

 

But the “extensive reading” program described by O’Neill and Edelman was not self-selected pleasure reading: it was forced reading (a minimum number of books per week was required), selected from limited range of books to choose from (only books from the Oxford Bookworm Series were made available), and highly constrained book reports were required in which students had to answer specific questions about each book. The decline in attitudes is consistent with what has previously been reported on the effects of book reports and lack of choice (Krashen, 2004, p. 127-128).

 

O’Neil and Edelman conclude that extensive reading should not be combined with study abroad programs. My conclusion is that extensive reading programs, as described here, should be not used at all.1

 

Note

1.     Also of interest is the finding that self-selected pleasure reading programs have been shown to be superior to at least some kinds of study-abroad experiences and “immersion” situations in terms of second language acquisition (Mason and Krashen, 2017). 

 

References

 

O’Neill, B. & Edelman, C. (2020). Assessing the efficacy of extensive reading during study abroad: A time and place for ER? International Journal of Teaching and Educational Research, 19(6), 251-266.

Krashen, S. (2004). The power of reading.  Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. Second edition.

Mason, B., & Krashen, S. (2017). Self-selected reading and TOEIC performance: Evidence from case histories. Shitennoji University Bulletin, 63, 469-475. https://tinyurl.com/yc9tc8ha

Mason, B., & Krashen, S. (2019). Hypothesis: A Class Supplying Rich Comprehensible Input is More Effective and Efficient than “Immersion.” IBU Journal of Educational Research and Practice, 7: 83-89. https://tinyurl.com/y4zdwmmz

 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Digital literacy and online learning

 Digital literacy skills among students and their parents were often lacking during remote learning in the spring, according to a survey of more than 700 teachers in 40 states. Data showed students and parents often have the skills to consume technology but not to create with it, such as using Google Docs to collaborate and joining Zoom calls.

Pacheco-Guffrey, H. (2020). https://www.edsurge.com/news/2020-10-01-sudden-shift-to-online-learning-revealed-gaps-in-digital-literacy-study-finds

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Best practices for online instruction study

 There is no "right" way to adopt remote instruction, according to a recent study. Its review of 12 schools revealed several best practices, including innovative instruction, support for students with special needs and a focus on social and emotional learning.  Among areas of best practices includes providing support and adjustments, innovative instructional approaches; big-picture planning and establishing core principles; designing data-intensive approaches; creating supportive school-student connections; and building relationships with families and communities. 

 LiBetti, A., BGraziano, L., & Schiess, J. (2020). Promise in the time of quarantine.  Bellwether Education Partners and Teach For America.   https://bellwethereducation.org/sites/default/files/PromiseInQuarantineBellwetherFinal.pdf


In a second report, researchers investigate the relationship between teachers' reports of their students' internet access and their interaction with students and families during school closures related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. These data are drawn from the American Instructional Resources Survey (AIRS), which was fielded in May and June 2020 and included questions to teachers regarding their instruction during school closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. When teachers deliver remote instruction, their capacity to communicate with students and their families is shaped by home internet access. Researchers found that half of teachers estimated that all or nearly all of their students had access to the internet at home, and teachers in schools located in towns and rural areas, schools serving higher percentages of students of color, and high-poverty schools were significantly less likely to report that all or nearly all of their students had access to the internet at home. These data suggest that existing inequities for students in rural and high-poverty schools might be exacerbated by students' limited access to the internet and communication with teachers as remote instruction continues.

Stelitano, L., et al. (2020). the digital divide and COVID-19. Rand.  https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA134-3.html?utm_source=WhatCountsEmail&utm_medium=NPA:2559:6359:Sep%2024,%202020%206:03:48%20AM%20PDT&utm_campaign=NPA:2559:6359:Sep%2024,%202020%206:03:48%20AM%20PDT


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Cyberbullying study

A massive study on the effects of bullying uncovered that social media are considered the biggest threats for cyberbullying. The study found some worrying effects from bullying, but on a positive note, it includes advice on coping mechanisms as well (from adults who were bullied as children). 

Childhood bullying. (2020). Injuryclaimcoach. https://www.injuryclaimcoach.com/childhood-bullying.html

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Research on K12 educational practices during the pandemic

To determine effective ways to deliver education during the pandemic, agent-based computational models ran thousands of simulations of infection spread across more than 100 different school situations, varying by school level, school size, operating strategy, approach to quarantines and closures, and the local community’s COVID-19 infection rate. The results offer educators and civic leaders a set of comparable schools to their own, and provide insights beyond the heated political rhetoric about the best approaches for individual communities and schools to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while providing meaningful learning opportunities. Key findings include:

  • Precautions such as requiring masks and limiting the mixing of students outside of classes can measurably reduce infection spread in schools.
  • Hybrid approaches where smaller groups of students wearing masks attend in person part time dramatically reduce the total number of likely infections in a school.
  • Infection rates in elementary schools are likely to be lower than in secondary schools employing the same operating strategies.
  • Part-time hybrid operation is far more effective at reducing infections than temporarily closing the school building each time an infection is detected.
  • In schools that are using a part-time hybrid approach, quarantining close contacts of individuals with detected infections is sufficient to keep the school’s infection rate low, while closing entirely reduces the number of days that students can attend with no demonstrable benefit in further reducing infections.
  • Schools using a hybrid approach in a community with a moderate infection rate are likely to experience little or no unplanned disruption in the number of days students can come to school.
  • Regardless of precautions taken, there is a chance that a school could have an infection on its first day of operation.
Gill, B., Goyal, R., & Hotchkiss, J. (2020).  Operating schools in a pandemic.  Princeton, NJ: Mathematica.


Pandemic impact on students

 Some high-school students feel more motivated to learn in school than online and do not have equal access to remote instruction, according to a national survey administered in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, from March 26 to April 1. Results also show the toll of the pandemic on students' mental health, with one sharing it felt like life was in chaos. "Most, but not all, students had access to the technology needed for online learning; however, many found it difficult to adapt." The study recommends addressing inequities of access to technology and Internet, addressing food insecuriy, considering the whole student, improving online instruction and materials.

Croft, M. et al. (2020). HIgh school students' experiences in March during the coronavirus pandemic. Iowa City, IA: ACT Center for Equity in Learning.  https://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/R1841-covid-insights.pdf