Tuesday, April 24, 2012

School libraries research

The latest research on behalf of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, begun in April 2009, seeks to (a) construct a picture of the status of New Jersey's school libraries in terms of their informational-transformational-formational dimensions, (b) to understand the contribution of quality school libraries to education in New Jersey; (c) to understand some of the contextual and professional dynamics that enable and inhibit school libraries to contribute significantly to education in New Jersey, and (d) to make recommendations to NJ stakeholders to develop a sustained and long term program of capacity building and evidence-based continuous improvement of school libraries in New Jersey. Phase one and two have recently been published. "Schools without libraries minimize the opportunities for students to become discriminating users in a diverse information landscape and to develop the intellectual scaffolds for learning deeply through information. Schools without libraries are at risk of becoming irrelevant."
Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries. (2012). Phase 2 report -- Goal one: Student learning. Princeton, NJ: Rutgers University.

Libraries and social media research

Different modes of participation with digital media, in fact, support the development of a wide range of new media literacies. This study leverages Ito’s framework to provide context to understand what it means to use digital media for learning and how to apply these lessons learned in libraries.
C. Shoemaker, H. Martin, B. Joseph (2010) How Using Social Media Forced a Library to Work on the Edge in Their Efforts to Move Youth From “Hanging Out” to “Messing Around, Journal of Media Literacy Education 2:2 (2010) 181 – 184.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Middle school algebra study

Exposing struggling students to algebra in middle school may not improve their math test scores and may, in fact, lead to lower grade-point averages and reduced chances of taking and passing more advanced math courses in high school, according to two new studies from California and North Carolina show.
“It is possible for children in 8th grade or even younger to take algebra and do well in algebra, but not all students, and the defining characteristic seems to be prior knowledge,” researcher Loveless said in an interview. “If a student is well prepared, algebra is a good thing regardless of the student’s age,” he said, “but if a student is not prepared, it can be a bad thing, regardless of the student’s age. Developmental readiness shouldn’t mean a developmental mandate.”
Taylor, D., Kurlaender, M., & Rose, H. (2012). Access to Algebra I: The Effects of Online Mathematics for Grade 8 Students. Presentation at the American Educational Research Association conference, Vancouver, April.
Clotfelter, Ca., Ladd, H., & Vigdor, J. (2012). The aftermath of accelerating algebra. Duke University.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

California suspension report

Students who are racial minorities or who have disabilities are suspended at higher rates than other students in California schools, according to a UCLA analysis. Researchers, who studied data from nearly 500 school districts in the state, say the findings amount to a civil rights issue, and note that federal law requires schools to provide behavioral support and services for students with disabilities.
Losen,D., Martinez, T., & Gillespie, J. (2012). Suspended education in California. Los Angeles: UCLA Center for Civil Rights Remedies.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ebook study

A recent reprrt found that 78% of adults read a book in the past year, and 14% of these readers borrowed the most recent book they read from a library. ALA President Molly Raphael noted, “Much of the report confirms trends to which we’ve been eyewitnesses: Four times the number of people report reading ebooks on a typical day now compared with only two years ago." The research also suggests that more formats (print, audio and electronic options) are a boon for power readers. The average reader of e-books has read more books in the past 12 months that those who read only in print. And 30 percent of those who read e-content (including long-form digital content such as e-books, news articles, magazines and journals) now spend more time reading, and this figure is even higher for people who own e-readers and tablets. Of great concern, though, are findings that there is a significant gap in those who have read an e-book in the last year versus those who did not based on level of education and income (34 percent of those who read an e-book had some college education, compared to 19 percent of high school graduates or less education; and 38 percent of those with household incomes greater than $75,000 had read an e-book, compared with 20 percent of those with incomes less than $30,000), and that fewer people overall are reading books. The percentage of adults who said they had NOT read a book in the last year or did not answer the question is 22 percent – which is greater than the percentage of adults who read an e-book. This compares to past Gallup surveys about reading in which 17 percent of adults did not answer the question or reported not reading in the past year in 2005, or 12 percent who reported this was the case in 1978, when the first Gallup survey took place.
Another issue to watch is the availability of e-content. While a majority reports they find e-content in the format they want, 23 percent say the material they want is “only sometimes,” “hardly ever” or never available.
Pew Internet and American Life Project. (2012). The Rise of E-Reading. Washington, DC: Author.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

cyberbullying study

A recent study showing students have earlier access to mobile devices has shed new light on cyberbullying research. The study found that about 20% of students surveyed had a cellphone by the third grade and 90% were online. By middle school, about 83% had a mobile device. "Education on cyberbullying and cyberbehaviors needs to begin well before [m]iddle [s]chool," asserted the researcher.
* By Middle School, 90 percent to 91 percent of children say that they can use their cell phones to text message and access the Internet.
* Approximately 35 percent to 40 percent of elementary school children report being targets of bullying, while 50 percent to 53 percent of middle and high school students say they've been targets.
* In-school bullying decreases as children age, however cyberbullying increases as children get older.
Englander, S. (2012). Research findings: MARC 2011 survey grades 3-12. Bridgewater, MA: Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center.

Social networking and employability study

A study of social networking found significant correlations between profile quality and academic performance, hirability, and job performance.
Kleumper, D., Rosen, P, & Mossholder, K. (2012). Social networking websites, personality ratings, and the organizational context: More than meets the eye? Journal of Applied Social Psychology. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2011.00881.x

Pennsylvania School Library study

In 2011, school libraries throughout Pennsylvania responded to a survey commissioned by the state legislature. The survey asked questions about school library staffing, staff activities, collections, technology, hours and access, visits, expenditures, and more. Consistently with previous school library impact studies, this analysis found that test scores tend to be significantly higher for schools that have full-time certified school librarians as well as for those that have such a librarian with support staff. The second phase of this study is based on qualitative surveys of administrators, teachers, and librarians.
Lance, K. (2012). Assessing the Infrastructure Needs of 21st Century School Library Program. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Reluctant male readers and ereaders study

Previous research in the field has shown that upper elementary and middle school students tend to read less than younger students because of time spent with their friends and in other activities. Also, these same students, particularly boys, may not value reading as much as they did when they were younger. Among those students, research has shown that low-skilled readers have trouble starting, continuing and finishing a book, and that they are stymied by vocabulary and reading comprehension challenges. Skilled readers, on the other hand, enjoy books. Researchers have suggested that technological gadgets, enlarged text and a more favorable environment might encourage reluctant readers. For those reasons the authors pursued a study to see how reluctant readers would respond to e-readers. The study study presents reasons e-readers may be beneficial, in particular, to reluctant readers in middle grades.
Williams-Rossi, Miranda, T., Johnson, K., & McKenzie, N. (2012). Reluctant Readers in Middle School: Successful Engagement with Text Using the E-Reader. International Journal of Applied Science and Technology.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Social network rankings study

Pinterest is now the number three most-popular social network in the U.S., behind Facebook and Twitter. A new report shows Pinterest got 21.5 million visits during the week ending Jan. 28, a nearly 30-fold increase over a comparable week in July. The report, which tracks visits rather than unique visitors, is based on web traffic and doesn’t factor in visits from mobile sites. Not surprisingly, the site skews female with a 60/40 ration of women to men visitors.
Tatham, M. (2012). The 2012 digital marketer. Costa Mesa, CA: Experian.