Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Teenagers who get less than 6.5 hours of sleep each night have twice the risk of developing high blood pressure than those who get more rest, researchers report. Teens with troubled sleep had more than triple the risk. The survey of 238 youngsters found they got an average of 7.7 hours of sleep each night, while the recommendation for the age group is nine hours.
Redline, S. (2008, Sep. 2). Hypertension. Circulation.
College students' reading comprehension may not be hampered by interruptions from instant messages, but researchers found that those who try to multitask by reading an assignment and text messaging at the same time are about 15 minutes slower in working through their reading assignments versus their peers who work sequentially.
Bowman, L. (2008, Aug.). Media and Internet Psychology. American Psychological Association conference, Boston.
WestEd. (2008). Trends in California Teacher Demand: A County and Regional Perspective. San Francisco: Author.
U.S. colleges should shift away from their reliance on using ACT and SAT scores as the bar for college acceptance and toward admissions exams that better correspond with high school coursework and achievement, asserts a yearlong study.
National Association for College Admission Counseling Commission. (2008). Report of the Commission on the Use of Standardized Tests in Undergrduate Admissions. Arlington, VA: Author.
Schools that cancel class for unscheduled purposes, such as snow days, can see a drop in student proficiency, according to findings by University of Maryland researchers. So far, however, there's been little research on whether additional class time can boost scores even though extended-learning initiatives are becoming more widespread.
Marcotte, Dave E. and Hemelt, Steven W.,Unscheduled School Closings and Student Performance(July 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2923
Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1001409
Monday, September 22, 2008
Some 38% of U.S. eighth-graders are now taking algebra or other advanced math classes, but many may be missing out on arithmetic fundamentals, according to a new report based on National Assessment of Educational Progress data. Some misplaced students "don't know very much math at all and yet they're taking courses in advanced math," said the report's author, Tom Loveless. "It might make everyone feel better, but the whole arrangement is counterfeit."
Loveless, T. (2008). Brookings Institute.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
As gadgets with digital audio capability proliferate, podcast downloading continues to increase. Currently, 19% of all internet users say they have downloaded a podcast so they could listen to it or view it later. This most recent percentage is up from 12% of internet users who reported downloading podcasts in our August 2006 survey and 7% in our February-April 2006 survey.
Still, podcasting has yet to become a fixture in the everyday lives of internet users, as very few internet users download podcasts on a typical day. Even of those who say they download podcasts, just 17% do so on a typical day.
Madden, M. (2008). Podcast Downloading. Washington, DC: Pew Internet and American Life Project.
Between 75% and 80% of internet users have looked online for health information. This latest Pew Internet Project survey confirms that information gathering has become a habit for many Americans, particularly those in the 55% of households with broadband connections. Home broadband has now joined educational attainment, household income and age as the strongest predictors of internet activity.
Fox, S. (2008). The engaged e-patient population. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project.
Key findings include:
Libraries reported double-digit growth in online services: audiobooks and podcasts (up 33 percent), video (up 32 percent), homework resources (up 15 percent), e-books (up 13.5 percent) and digitized special collections (up almost 13 percent);
Funding data indicate libraries are relying more on non-tax funding sources;
66 percent of public libraries offer free wireless access, up about 12 percent over last year;
Almost two-thirds of all public libraries provide 1.5Mbps or faster Internet access speeds, with a continuing disparity between urban (90 percent) and rural libraries (51.5 percent);
74 percent of libraries report their staff helps patrons understand and use e-government services, including enrolling in Medicare and applying for unemployment;
73.4 percent of libraries provide technology training to library patrons;
Staffing levels are not keeping pace with patron demand -- both for those staff who provide training and other direct patron services, as well as those who maintain the IT infrastructure;
While the number of Internet computers available to the public climbed for the first time in several years, one in five libraries report there are consistently fewer computers than patrons who wish to use them throughout the day.
The ALA Office for Research & Statistics and the Information Institute at Florida State University. (2008). Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study 2007-2008. Chicago, ALA.
A look at standardized test scores from 1965 by two University of Chicago Graduate School of Business economists was able to compare the results of students based on the relative levels of television penetration in their regions. The research suggests that exposure to television in early childhood correlates with higher test scores, especially among children in homes where English was not the first language.
Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapiro. (2008). Preschool Television Viewing and Adolescent Test Scores: Historical Evidence from the Coleman Study. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 123(1), 279-323.
A CDC study shows more than one in 20 Americans over age 12 suffers from depression, with higher rates among women, blacks and baby boomers aged 40 to 59. Almost 80% of depressed people reported functional impairment, with 27% saying their depression makes it extremely difficult to work, get things done at home and get along with others.
Pratt, L., & Brody, D. (2008). Depression in the United States Household Population, 2005-2006. Atlanta, GA: Center for Disease Control.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db07.pdf Atlanta, GA: Center for Disease Control.
Girls who show little initial interest in science may still excel if their parents and teachers help them build confidence in the subjects, according to a new study. "The relationship between confidence and interest is close," says researcher Nadya Fouad. "If they feel they can do it, it feeds their interest." parent support and expectations emerged as the top support in both subjects and genders for middle- and high-school students. Also powerful for younger girls were engaging teachers and positive experiences with them. Both boys and girls perceived that teachers thought boys were stronger at math and science. For boys this represented a support, while for girls it acted as a barrier. Top barriers for all age groups and disciplines were test anxiety and subject difficulty, but these differed between boys and girls. In addition, the genders formed their perceptions of math or science based on the barriers and supports, but they often arrived at different views.
Ultimately, it's perception, more than reality, that affects the person's academic and career choices, says Fouad.
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee (2008, September 8). Tracking The Reasons Many Girls Avoid Science And Math. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/09/080905153807.htm
This Report focuses on the law – in particular, on copyright and related rights issues. As the laws of the countries discussed in the report demonstrate, in many cases exceptions and limitations do not accommodate the actions required for digital preservation. The copyright and related rights issues, and various strategies to address them, are discussed in detail in the report.
Library of Congress. (2008). International Study on the Impact of Copyright Law on Digital Preservation. Washington, DC: Author.
Fry, R., & Gonzales, F. (2008). One-in-Five and Growing Fast: A Profile of Hispanic Public School Students. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center.
Economic & Social Research Council (2008, September 5). Computerized Whiteboards Improve Classroom Learning, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/09/080904082744.htm
Students with good "number sense" -- the innate ability to rapidly estimate the number of items in a group -- tend to earn better math grades across their academic careers, according to new research. A study involving 64 14-year-olds found that the teenagers who did well on a test that measured their "number sense" were much more likely to have gotten good grades in math classes. The researchers discovered that a child's ability to quickly estimate how many things are in a group significantly predicts their performance in school mathematics all the way back to kindergarten. "Humans actually have two separate senses of mathematics," Halberda said. "We have this intuitive sense of numbers that you and I use when we are looking at the bus, and we have a second system, which is what we use to learn in school. It relies on language, and only humans have that."
Halberda, J., & Feigenson, L. (2008, Sep. 7). Individual differences in non-verbal number acuity correlate with maths achievement Nature.
Education Week. (2008). Leading for learning.
This study traces the implementation of a reading coach program to provide on-site support to teachers in Florida middle schools and its impact on teachers, principals, school climate, and student achievement. Includes literature review and recommended models.Marsh, J. et al. (2008). Supporting Literacy Across the Sunshine State: A Study of Florida Middle School Reading Coaches. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.
Edward Flores and Harry Pachon. (2008). Latinos and Public Library Perceptions. Dublin, OH: OCLC.
U. S. students are doing better in elementary school and middle school, but key indicators show little progress among high school and college students, according to a recent report. Last year, tests showed 33% could read and do math at grade level, compared with 25% in 2000, according to Education Department data. Minority students are doing better, too. The percentage of black and Hispanic students who could read and do math at grade level was 35% that of white children last year, the department found. But that has increased from 23% in 2000.
U. S. Dept. of Education. (2008). Indicators to Track Nation's Education Progress. Washington, DC: Author.
Pew Internet & American Life Project. (2008). Teens, video games, and civics. Washington, DC: Author.
Another case for gaming in libraries
A Mills College report makes a very strong case for gaming in libraries, even though it doesn’t mention libraries at all. Gaming as part of civic engagement can be listed as another benefit. “These results suggest that the frequent concerns in the media and elsewhere about the ennui and disconnection among those who play video games for long periods of time may be misplaced…. Teens who play games socially (a majority of teens) are more likely to be civically and politically engaged than teens who play games primarily alone. Interestingly, this relationship only holds when teens play alongside others in the same room.”
Mills College Civic Engagement Research Group. (2008). The Civic Potential of Video Games. Chicago: MacArthur Foundation.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
A new report finds that the United States, in order to be globally competitive and for states to attract growth industries and create jobs, requires a fresh approach to education that recognizes the importance 21st-century skills play in the workplace. The report notes that as the world continues to shift from an industrial economy to a service economy driven by information, knowledge, and innovation, cultivating 21st-century skills is vital to economic success.
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2008). 21st Century Skills, Education, and Competitiveness
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Teens' high-school niche and their understanding of how to leverage their own popularity may predict how well they navigate complex social structures later in life, as well as their own feelings of well-being in adulthood, according to new findings.
Prinstein, M. (2008).
McElhaney, K. , Antonishak, J., & Allen, J. (2008). "They Like Me, They Like Me Not": Popularity and Adolescents' Perceptions of Acceptance Predicting Social Functioning Over Time. Child Development, 79(3), 720-731.