Sunday, November 29, 2015

Media use and attitudes report

This report examines children's media literacy. It provides detailed evidence on media use, attitudes and understanding among children and young people aged 5-15, as well as detailed information about the media access and use of young children aged 3-4. Researchers found that only a third of young people aged 12 to 15 knew which search results on Google were ads, while this figure was even lower — less than one in five — for children aged 8 to 11. Other tests showed that 19% of 12- to 15-year-olds  believed that if a search engine listed particular information then it must be true, while  46% of children could say for sure that Google itself was funded by ads.
Children and parents: Media use and attitudes report. (2015). London:  Ofcom.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

School Libraries Work! study

The 2016 edition of Scholastic's School Libraries Work! summarizes major recent research about the impact of school libraries in the U.S.
School Libraries Work!: A compendium of research supporting the effectiveness of school libraries. (2016). New York: Scholastic.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Independent reading and English improvement research

An analysis done by Nation (2014) leads to the conclusion that readers in English as a foreign language can gain about one-half a point on the TOEIC test for every hour of independent English reading. A statistical analysis of progress made by seven adult acquirers of English living in Japan was performed to confirm this conclusion: All were intermediates, but there was considerable variation, with TOEIC scores ranging from 220 to 705. All engaged in self-selected reading,  and took pre and post TOEIC tests. Hours spent reading was shown to be an excellent predictor of gains on the TOEIC, and the rate of improvement was shown to be nearly exactly the same as that reported by Nation.
Krashen, S., & Mason, B. (2015). Can Second Language Acquirers Reach High Levels of Proficiency Through Self Selected Reading? An Attempt to Confirm Nation's (2014) Results. International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching 10 (2): 10-19.
Available at:  OR

Saturday, October 24, 2015

New OECD Report Slams Computers - and Actually Says Why They Can Hurt Learning

Are there computers in the classroom? Does it matter? Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection examines how students’ access to and use of information and communication technology (ICT) devices has evolved in recent years, and explores how education systems and schools are integrating ICT into students’ learning experiences. Based on results from PISA 2012, the report discusses differences in access to and use of ICT – what are collectively known as the “digital divide” – that are related to students’ socio-economic status, gender, geographic location, and the school a child attends. The report highlights the importance of bolstering students’ ability to navigate through digital texts. It also examines the relationship among computer access in schools, computer use in classrooms, and performance in the PISA assessment. As the report makes clear, all students first need to be equipped with basic literacy and numeracy skills so that they can participate fully in the hyper-connected, digitised societies of the 21st century.

OECD (2015), Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris.

Research: Learning Is No Spectator Sport

MOOCs that rely primarily on people watching lectures may be missing an opportunity to help their students learn even more by adding interactive activities. Recent research into massive open online courses suggests that students do six times better in the course by "extra doing."

The printing press long ago and the computer today have made widespread access to information possible. Learning theorists have suggested, however, that mere information is a poor way to learn. Instead, more effective learning comes through doing. While the most popularized element of today's MOOCs are the video lectures, many MOOCs also include interactive activities that can afford learning by doing. This paper explores the learning benefits of the use of informational assets (e.g., videos and text) in MOOCs, versus the learning by doing opportunities that interactive activities provide. We find that students doing more activities learn more than students watching more videos or reading more pages. We estimate the learning benefit from extra doing (1 SD increase) to be more than six times that of extra watching or reading. Our data, from a psychology MOOC, is correlational in character, however we employ causal inference mechanisms to lend support for the claim that the associations we find are causal.

Koedinger, K., Kim, J., Jia, J., Mclaughlin, E., & Bier, N. (2015). Learning is Not a Spectator Sport. Proceedings of the Second (2015) ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale - L@S '15. Retrieved from

OpenEd Assesses 'Most Effective' Online Learning Resources

Animated flashcards and sub-two-minute videos turn out to be the most effective online resources for K-12 against all other common options. That's the finding determined by OpenEd, which recently studied the data generated from the results of assessments given to students who used its free online resources for educational purposes. The company examined the average "effectiveness" of its online instructional resources. That was defined by how well students performed on an assessment covering the same subject or standard category after viewing the resource.

Schaffhauser, D. (2015, September 23). OpenEd Assesses 'Most Effective' Online Learning Resources. The Journal. Retrieved from

Paper cited can be accessed at

Theory of mind selectively predicts preschoolers’ knowledge-based selective word learning

Preschoolers who scored higher on "theory of mind" tests were better at discerning between accurate and inaccurate sources of information, according to a study published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology. Study co-author Patricia Brosseau-Liard notes empathy is only one factor contributing to selective learning.

Children can selectively attend to various attributes of a model, such as past accuracy or physical strength, to guide their social learning. There is a debate regarding whether a relation exists between theory-of-mind skills and selective learning. We hypothesized that high performance on theory-of-mind tasks would predict preference for learning new words from accurate informants (an epistemic attribute), but not from physically strong informants (a non-epistemic attribute). Three- and 4-year-olds (= 65) completed two selective learning tasks, and their theory-of-mind abilities were assessed. As expected, performance on a theory-of-mind battery predicted children's preference to learn from more accurate informants but not from physically stronger informants. Results thus suggest that preschoolers with more advanced theory of mind have a better understanding of knowledge and apply that understanding to guide their selection of informants. This work has important implications for research on children's developing social cognition and early learning.

Brosseau-Liard, P., Penney, D. and Poulin-Dubois, D. (2015), Theory of mind selectively predicts preschoolers’ knowledge-based selective word learning. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 33: 464–475. doi: 10.1111/bjdp.12107