Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Parents' attitudes about public schools

Americans Value Digital Learning in Schools
The 2011 PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools found that 91 percent of Americans and 95 percent of parents polled indicated that students need access to computer technology and the internet to ensure academic success. At the same time, researchers also found that most Americans believe schools already have the computer technology needed for education as 74 percent said schools should invest in more technology, compared to 82 percent in 2000. The report also found that Americans are open to instruction over the Internet if it offers students a higher quality experience than having an educator present in the classroom.
Bushaw, W., & Lopez, S. (2011). Betting on teachers. Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Students' views and use of technology

Technology skills are essential to a successful future, according to students surveyed in the second annual 21st-Century Classroom Report, a nationwide survey of more than 1,000 high school students, faculty and IT staff. The report seeks to understand how students and faculty want to use technology, measure how classroom technology is evolving and identify opportunities for continued growth.
Key findings:
High school faculty’s vision of a 21st-century classroom is evolving to include wireless Internet, interactive whiteboards and digital content - a year ago, faculty limited must-have technology to an Internet connection, teacher computing device and LCD projector
Most students still use technology more outside of school than in class. While nearly all students - 94% - say they use technology to study or work on class assignments at home, only 46% of faculty say they regularly assign homework that requires use of technology
73% of IT professionals report that their districts are currently using or considering using digital content
Just 39% of students say their high school is meeting their technology expectations

CDW Government LLC (2011). 2011 CDW-G 21st-Century Classroom Report. Vernon Hills, IL: Author.

Reading achievement and teacher librarians

Laying off librarians has a negative effect on fourth grade reading scores (2004 to 2009): "fewer librarians translated to lower performance—or a slower rise in scores—on standardized tests." Most important, Lance and Hofshine present evidence showing that the negative effect was due specifically to laying off librarians, not overall staff changes.
"We found that 19 of the 26 states that gained librarians saw an average 2.2 percent rise in their National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth-grade reading scores. Meanwhile, 9 of the 24 states that lost librarians had a 1 percent rise … the increase in scores of states that gained librarians was two times that of states that lost librarians. Scores remained unchanged for 6 states that gained librarians and 12 that lost librarians. Three states that lost librarians had an average decline of -1 percent, and one state that gained librarians experienced a -0.5 percent decline in scores."
" … the magnitude and significance of the relationship between librarian staffing and test performance was reduced only very slightly when taking into account overall staff changes in schools … Whether a school had a librarian remained an important factor in reading test performance, regardless of what was happening with overall staffing numbers."
Correlation between percent change in school librarians and percent change in reading scores for all students: r = .567. Correlation when controlled for percent change in total school staff: r = .562 (partial correlation).
Lance, K., & Hofshine, L. (2011). Something to Shout About: New research shows that more librarians means higher reading scores. School Library Journal, Sept. 1.

Information provided by Stephen Krashen

Social media and plagiarism

Social media sites are sources of plagiarism in student work

Social-networking and homework-help sites are becoming increasingly popular sources of plagiarism in student papers, according to a new analysis by, a website that checks a database and the Internet for prior published work. The findings reflect the rising use of online sources by students, as well as highlight a need for students to develop better research skills and learn how to determine which sites are legitimate and how to source them.

Turnitin. (2011). Plagiarism and the web. Oakland, CA: Turnitin.