Thursday, April 18, 2013

Workplace skills and knowledge report

This scholarly report addresses many questions educators are asking about teaching to make sure students get the college and career readiness skills they need to prosper in the 21st century. The report has a comprehensive index that educators will find useful for research on particular topics of interest as they implement Career Technical Education, Common Core, the Next Generation Science Standards and STEM programs and initiatives. The report describes  key skills that increase deeper learning, college and career readiness, student-centered learning, and higher order thinking. These labels include both cognitive and non-cognitive skills- such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, effective communication, motivation, persistence, and learning to learn. 21st century skills also include creativity, innovation, and ethics that are important to later success and may be developed in formal or informal learning environments. This report also describes how these skills relate to each other and to more traditional academic skills and content in the key disciplines of reading, mathematics, and science.In addition, features related to learning these skills are identified, which include teacher professional development, curriculum, assessment, after-school and out-of-school programs, and informal learning centers such as exhibits and museums.
Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century. (2013). Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

College readiness survey

This survey revealed a disconnect on the crucial question of college readiness. Eighty-nine percent of high school teachers surveyed said students who finished their classes were well or very well prepared for college work in those subjects. But 26 percent of college instructors say incoming students are well or very well prepared for first-year courses, the survey found. The results echoed previous findings in 2009, even though there has been intensive focus on college readiness in recent years.
ACT National Curriculum Survey. 2013.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

School library audiobooks and reading study

A study was conducted to determine the impact of the use of audiobooks with struggling readers in a school library audiobook club. The participants met weekly in the school library with the school librarian and researchers to discuss audiobooks and make reading recommendations to their peers. Standardized test data as well as pre- and post- study interviews and surveys, teacher questionnaires, parent questionnaires, and student interviews were analyzed. The findings indicated that struggling readers’ use of audiobooks had a positive impact on reading skills and attitudes toward reading. These findings are significant given the dearth of research directly related to the impact of audiobooks, despite the prevalent usage of audiobooks.

Whittingham, Jeff; Huffman, Stephanie; Christensen, Rob; and McAlister, Tracy. “Use of Audiobooks in a School Library and Positive Effects of Struggling Readers’ Participation in a Library-Sponsored Audiobook Club.” School Library Research, 16.

High school students research skills research

To better understand how high school students apply their information literacy skills when conducting research and how these students carry out research projects, researchers asked a group of 289 high school seniors to complete an information literacy survey related to the research process. In addition, approximately ten percent of these students were randomly selected and asked to participate in an interview to provide more in-depth information about their perspectives on finding and using information. Results indicate the study participants were able to use library resources to locate and use information, that they used a variety of resources, and that they considered themselves successful library users. However, participants voiced a need for help in deciding which resources are best to use and how to identify important information from those resources. These high school seniors also wanted to learn more about how to use books for research. Although these students indicated they may need assistance when doing research, they rarely asked the school librarians for help. These findings are discussed in the context of the role of school librarians.
Kovalik, Cindy; Yutzey, Susan; and Piazza, Laura. “Information Literacy and High School Seniors: Perceptions of the Research Process.” School Library Research, 16.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Australian teacher librarian impact study

A recent Australian School Library Association (ASLA) report highlighted the positive role of teacher librarians in supporting future learning within the school. A summary of key points in the report include:
 ·         a review of the global environment in which modern learners and educators are immersed,
·         the educational implications of trends affecting contemporary schooling,
·         the means of evaluating education outcomes, 
·         key alerts on the critical role of the teacher librarian, and
.      need for enhanced professional education and employment opportunities for teacher librarians.

Australian School Library Association. (2013). Future learning and school libraries.

Boys' reading report

The UK's National Literacy Trust has published a report on  boys' reading issues. They explain the gap, noting the factors of gender identity, school, and home. They also provide several key recommendations to address the problem. Read the report at

State of America's Libraries report

The State of America's Libraries 2013: A Report from the American Library Association is the new digital supplement from April 2013's American Libraries. This very special online-only issue details issues affecting libraries this year and beyond: how communities use libraries; the changing state of ebook distribution and copyright; the rise of digital content; the impact of social media; outreach and diversity trends; a look at the top ten frequently challenged books; and more.  The report explains libraries' transformative potential, notes the focus on digital content, discusses censorship (Captain Underpants was the more frequently challenged book in 2012), and acknowledges the gloomy outlook for school libraries. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

School district library supervisor study

A new survey findings offer a revealing glimpse at the job titles, education, major roles and responsibilities, and the
challenges faced by school district library supervisors. This national study, carried out by researchers at the
University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies, represents the first of its kind since the late 1960s. It will
provide important baseline information for future research in the profession. The survey population included 290 supervisors in the largest districts, as defined by student populations of more than 25,000, and the largest district in each state not meeting the population criteria. Among the highlights:
  • 93 percent of supervisors reported that they were responsible for providing professional development for their building-level librarians;
  • 47 percent said they were responsible for providing technology support to staff;
  • 24 percent were responsible for collection development;
  • 12 percent were responsible for hiring school librarians;
  • 10 percent were responsible for evaluating school librarians.

Supervisors were asked about changes over time, from one school year to the next, in categories related to funding, staffing, and technology. The aim was to see how many experienced major changes, and to highlight commonalities in some of the challenges these supervisors face. This data will form an important baseline for future research into trends in district library services and the impact on building-level programs.
Among the results:
  • 42 percent reported a decrease in funding for building-level library programs from the 2011-12 school year to the 2012-13 school year;
  • 42 percent reported a decrease in staffing for building-level library programs from 2011-12 to this year;
  • 22 percent saw a decrease in technology funding.
The research team also asked about any changes to areas related to the school library’s role in the curriculum. Some highlights:
  • 78 percent reported that the emphasis on content standards increased from 2010-11 to 2011-12;
  • 60 percent reported that the emphasis on information literacy increased from 2010-11;
  • 58 percent said the time spent communicating the library’s contribution to student achievement increased from 2010-11.
Weeks, A. (2013). The Lilead Project. College Park, MD: University of Maryland.

School librarian collaboration report

A new report reveals that school librarians are highly involved leaders playing a critical role in their schools through consistent and sustained collaboration with other educators, and that they deliver professional development to peers, educators, and staff in their schools. The report details key findings from a nationwide survey of more than 2,400 educators from all grade levels and subject areas.
Survey findings indicate that many schools are not structured to support the professional collaboration educators identified as important in strengthening their practice. Despite this, educators are participating in some forms of school-based collaboration, and school librarians are often participating at rates equal to or greater than other educators. With the already small amount of time set aside for collaboration during the school day dwindling, a substantial number of school librarians are participating in professional learning networks on their own time. Fifty-one percent reported seeking and sharing ideas at least weekly in online networks and communities. Of those school librarians participating in the survey, 66 percent indicated they also provide professional development to peers and other educators, and 58 percent provide these services to staff inside their school. Further, 60 percent indicated their decision to do so was voluntary.

National Center for Literacy Education. (2013). Remodeling Literacy Learning: Making Room for What Works, Urbana, IL: Author. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Collection of media use statistics

This telecommunications company collects media use statistics from dozens of studies, and provides some useful infographics.
TGS Global. (2012). Media use statistics. Cambridge, MA: TSG Global.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Project-based learning research review

Edutopia conducted a literature review on project-based learning research.  Their series of five articles note how researchers define project-based learning, review some of the possible learning outcomes, provide recommendations of evidence-based components for successful PBL, list some best practices across disciplines, and offer a comprehensive annotated bibliography with links to all the studies and reports cited in these pages.
Edutopia. (2013).  Project-based learning research review

Media and children's behavior study

A long-term study group in Britain that has been following 19,000 children born in 2000 and 2001, found that those who watched more than three hours of television, videos or DVDs a day had a higher chance of conduct problems, emotional symptoms and relationship problems by the time they were 7 than children who did not. The study, of a sample of 11,000 children, found that children who played video games — often age-appropriate games — for the same amount of time did not show any signs of negative behavioral changes by the same age.
Center for Longitudinal Studies. (2013). Millennium Cohort Study. London: Author.