Friday, March 26, 2010


• MARCH 2, 2010
Education Unit Helps Lift Pearson's Net Profit
Education and publishing company Pearson PLC reported a 46% jump in 2009 net profit to £425 million ($648 million) Monday, boosted by an education business that CEO Marjorie Scardino says could be helped further by U.S. President Barack Obama's push for common state standards in math and reading.
Pearson's North American education division, which comprises the company's largest business and includes Prentice Hall, reported £2.47 billion in sales for 2009, a 5% increase at constant exchange rates.
Overall, the company reported £5.62 billion in sales, up 4% at constant exchange rates from £4.81 billion last year.
The education division's growth could be boosted in the U.S. in the coming year as 48 states develop common core education standards for math and language arts as part of a voluntary state-led effort encouraged by the White House, Ms. Scardino said.
The implementation of core standards would reduce the burden Pearson faces in adapting materials to individual state requirements. It could also open up an opportunity for Pearson to win a new contract measuring the progress of that common-standards initiative. The degree to which Pearson will reap benefits depends on how many states ultimately opt into the common standards and how specific they are.
Ms. Scardino said Pearson could also benefit from $4.35 billion in "Race to the Top" grants the Obama administration will begin distributing to states this year for education innovation and reform. Data systems that measure student success, one of Pearson's key product areas, are an emphasis of the grant plan.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Library computer study

Millions of People Rely on Library Computers for Employment, Health, and Education

77 million people used library computers and Internet access in past year, nearly one-third of Americans age 14 or older,used a public library computer or wireless network to access the Internet in the past year The report is based on the first, large-scale study (50,000 surveys from 400 public libraries) of who uses public computers and Internet access in public libraries, the ways library patrons use this free technology service, why they use it, and how it affects their lives.

Low-income adults are more likely to rely on the public library as their sole access to computers and the Internet than any other income group. Overall, 44 percent of people living below the federal poverty line used computers and the Internet at their public libraries.

Americans across all age groups reported they used library computers and Internet access. Teenagers are the most active users. Half of the nation's 14- to 18-year-olds reported that they used a library computer during the past year, typically to do school homework.

The use of library technology had significant impact in four critical areas: employment, education, health, and making community connections. In the last 12 months:
o 40 percent of library computer users (an estimated 30 million people) received help with career needs. Among these users, 75 percent reported they searched for a job online. Half of these users filled out an online application or submitted a resume.
o 37 percent focused on health issues. The vast majority of these users (82 percent) logged on to learn about a disease, illness, or medical condition. One-third of these users sought out doctors or health care providers. Of these, about half followed up by making appointments for care.
o 42 percent received help with educational needs. Among these users, 37 percent (an estimated 12 million students) used their local library computer to do homework for a class.
o Library computers linked patrons to their government, communities, and civic organizations. Sixty-percent of users - 43.3 million people - used a library's computer resources to connect with others.

The library's role as a technology resource has exploded since 1996, when only 28 percent of libraries offered Internet access. Today, almost all public libraries offer visitors free access to computers and the Internet. Unfortunately, up to a third of all libraries say they lack even minimally adequate Internet connections to meet demand. More report that they cannot provide the access their patrons truly need.

University of Washington Information School. (2010).
Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

American education reports

The Brookings Institution published three reports on American education. One shows that the gender gap is closing in mathematics performance, but that boys are falling behind on reading. Two other reports focus on California education. One shows that low-performing schools usually do not improve over time. In examining California charter schools, conversions look more like traditional public schools than start-up charters.
Brookings Institution. (2010). Brown Center Report on American Education.

Video game study

Boys who received video systems immediately spend more time playing video games and less time engaged in after-school academic activities than comparison children. They also had lower reading and writing scores and greater teacher-reported academic problems at follow-up than comparison children. Amount of video-game play mediated the relationship between video-game ownership and academic outcomes. Results provide experimental evidence that video games may displace after-school activities that have educational value and may interfere with the development of reading and writing skills in some children.
Weis, R., and Cerankosky, B. (2010, March). Effects of Video-Game Ownership on Young Boys’ Academic and Behavioral Functioning. Psychological Science.

Technology study

Education Week's annual Technology Counts examines district-level technology use, including library media technology. Statistics are drawn from the US Department of Education and other sources.
For instance,
* 72% elementary/82% secondary schools provide online access to the library catalog for all students
* 60% elem./68% secondary schools provide online access to databases for all students
* 89.5% have automated circ systems, and 87.2% have student/teacher access to them
* The average # of computers in elementary school libraries is 12.2; for secondary it is 26.4, and almost all have Internet connectivity.
Education Week (2010). Technology Counts.

Wikipedia study

A study at the University of Washington Information School showed that college students “frequently used Wikipedia for background information, but less often than they used other common resources, such as course readings and Google. Architecture, engineering, and science majors were more likely to use Wikipedia for course-related research than respondents in other majors.” (from American Libraries)
Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg (2010). How today's college students use Wikipedia for college-related research. First Monday, 15(3).

Hispanic Youth report

"A new report released by the National Council of La Raza examines the status of Hispanic youth in the United States, ages 15 to 24. The report shows that more than one in five (21.4%) Hispanics ages 16–24 has dropped out of high school. The Hispanic population is on the rise nationally and will account for about 30% of the U.S. population by 2050." (American Libraries)
National Council of La Raza (2010). America’s Tomorrow: A Profile of Latino Youth