Sunday, November 29, 2015

Media use and attitudes report

This report examines children's media literacy. It provides detailed evidence on media use, attitudes and understanding among children and young people aged 5-15, as well as detailed information about the media access and use of young children aged 3-4. Researchers found that only a third of young people aged 12 to 15 knew which search results on Google were ads, while this figure was even lower — less than one in five — for children aged 8 to 11. Other tests showed that 19% of 12- to 15-year-olds  believed that if a search engine listed particular information then it must be true, while  46% of children could say for sure that Google itself was funded by ads.
Children and parents: Media use and attitudes report. (2015). London:  Ofcom.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

School Libraries Work! study

The 2016 edition of Scholastic's School Libraries Work! summarizes major recent research about the impact of school libraries in the U.S.
School Libraries Work!: A compendium of research supporting the effectiveness of school libraries. (2016). New York: Scholastic.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Independent reading and English improvement research

An analysis done by Nation (2014) leads to the conclusion that readers in English as a foreign language can gain about one-half a point on the TOEIC test for every hour of independent English reading. A statistical analysis of progress made by seven adult acquirers of English living in Japan was performed to confirm this conclusion: All were intermediates, but there was considerable variation, with TOEIC scores ranging from 220 to 705. All engaged in self-selected reading,  and took pre and post TOEIC tests. Hours spent reading was shown to be an excellent predictor of gains on the TOEIC, and the rate of improvement was shown to be nearly exactly the same as that reported by Nation.
Krashen, S., & Mason, B. (2015). Can Second Language Acquirers Reach High Levels of Proficiency Through Self Selected Reading? An Attempt to Confirm Nation's (2014) Results. International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching 10 (2): 10-19.
Available at:  OR

Saturday, October 24, 2015

New OECD Report Slams Computers - and Actually Says Why They Can Hurt Learning

Are there computers in the classroom? Does it matter? Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection examines how students’ access to and use of information and communication technology (ICT) devices has evolved in recent years, and explores how education systems and schools are integrating ICT into students’ learning experiences. Based on results from PISA 2012, the report discusses differences in access to and use of ICT – what are collectively known as the “digital divide” – that are related to students’ socio-economic status, gender, geographic location, and the school a child attends. The report highlights the importance of bolstering students’ ability to navigate through digital texts. It also examines the relationship among computer access in schools, computer use in classrooms, and performance in the PISA assessment. As the report makes clear, all students first need to be equipped with basic literacy and numeracy skills so that they can participate fully in the hyper-connected, digitised societies of the 21st century.

OECD (2015), Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris.

Research: Learning Is No Spectator Sport

MOOCs that rely primarily on people watching lectures may be missing an opportunity to help their students learn even more by adding interactive activities. Recent research into massive open online courses suggests that students do six times better in the course by "extra doing."

The printing press long ago and the computer today have made widespread access to information possible. Learning theorists have suggested, however, that mere information is a poor way to learn. Instead, more effective learning comes through doing. While the most popularized element of today's MOOCs are the video lectures, many MOOCs also include interactive activities that can afford learning by doing. This paper explores the learning benefits of the use of informational assets (e.g., videos and text) in MOOCs, versus the learning by doing opportunities that interactive activities provide. We find that students doing more activities learn more than students watching more videos or reading more pages. We estimate the learning benefit from extra doing (1 SD increase) to be more than six times that of extra watching or reading. Our data, from a psychology MOOC, is correlational in character, however we employ causal inference mechanisms to lend support for the claim that the associations we find are causal.

Koedinger, K., Kim, J., Jia, J., Mclaughlin, E., & Bier, N. (2015). Learning is Not a Spectator Sport. Proceedings of the Second (2015) ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale - L@S '15. Retrieved from

OpenEd Assesses 'Most Effective' Online Learning Resources

Animated flashcards and sub-two-minute videos turn out to be the most effective online resources for K-12 against all other common options. That's the finding determined by OpenEd, which recently studied the data generated from the results of assessments given to students who used its free online resources for educational purposes. The company examined the average "effectiveness" of its online instructional resources. That was defined by how well students performed on an assessment covering the same subject or standard category after viewing the resource.

Schaffhauser, D. (2015, September 23). OpenEd Assesses 'Most Effective' Online Learning Resources. The Journal. Retrieved from

Paper cited can be accessed at

Theory of mind selectively predicts preschoolers’ knowledge-based selective word learning

Preschoolers who scored higher on "theory of mind" tests were better at discerning between accurate and inaccurate sources of information, according to a study published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology. Study co-author Patricia Brosseau-Liard notes empathy is only one factor contributing to selective learning.

Children can selectively attend to various attributes of a model, such as past accuracy or physical strength, to guide their social learning. There is a debate regarding whether a relation exists between theory-of-mind skills and selective learning. We hypothesized that high performance on theory-of-mind tasks would predict preference for learning new words from accurate informants (an epistemic attribute), but not from physically strong informants (a non-epistemic attribute). Three- and 4-year-olds (= 65) completed two selective learning tasks, and their theory-of-mind abilities were assessed. As expected, performance on a theory-of-mind battery predicted children's preference to learn from more accurate informants but not from physically stronger informants. Results thus suggest that preschoolers with more advanced theory of mind have a better understanding of knowledge and apply that understanding to guide their selection of informants. This work has important implications for research on children's developing social cognition and early learning.

Brosseau-Liard, P., Penney, D. and Poulin-Dubois, D. (2015), Theory of mind selectively predicts preschoolers’ knowledge-based selective word learning. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 33: 464–475. doi: 10.1111/bjdp.12107

The Hechinger Report: Data comparing graduation rates of urban, suburban areas

An analysis of 2009 graduation rates found that 60.9 percent of high-schoolers in cities graduated across the country, compared with 75.3 percent in suburbs. (Towns and rural districts were in the middle, graduating 71.7 percent and 75 percent of students, respectively.) This report breaks down the numbers for various Metro areas and looks at how similar -- and different-- they are.

Butrymowicz, S. (2015, September 28). Struggling cities and excelling suburbs: A repeated pattern around the country - The Hechinger Report. Retrieved from

Study: Computer games can boost literacy

A study by Hiller Spires, a professor of Literacy and Technology at North Carolina State University takes a look at how computer games can increase literacy in middle-school aged boys (a demographic that traditionally begins to loose interest in reading). A 2011 study found that teenage boys were able to read above grade level while playing computer games, even though they tested two grade-levels below on standardized reading tests.

Just as literacy practices are contextualized in social situations and relationships, game players establish shared language and understandings within a game; in essence, they gain fluency in specialized languages. This commentary explores the importance of digital game-based learning for schooling, the relationship between game-based learning, and results from Crystal Island, a NSF-funded research project on digital gameplay. Suggestions for how teachers can use games in the classroom are highlighted.

Spires, H. (in press). Digital game-based learning: What's literacy got to do with it? Journal of Adolescent and Adult Learning.

The 2015 School CIO Summit Report: Focus on STEM & Inquiry-Based Learning

Two days prior to the ISTE 2015 Conference, a select group from the SchoolCIO community convened in Philadelphia to discuss the topics of STEM and inquiry-based learning. The days were filled with presentations from expert panelists representing The Franklin Institute, Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, the School District of Philadelphia, and the US Department of Education. This special report offers highlights from the event, including plenty of tips and resources you can implement in your district, including:

 *   The STEM Crisis: Myth or Fact?
 *   STEM and Inquiry-Based Learning: Successes, Challenges, and Takeaways
 *   Rethinking Learning Environments
 *   Building and Funding Your Infrastructure
 *   PLUS: interviews with CIOs, The Latest Edtech News & Surveys, and More

*Requires a School CIO subscription to access.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Technology integration British survey findings

About 25% of teachers in Great Britain believe that using digital learning tools improves students' achievement by at least one grade, according to a recent YouGov study of 3,000 schools. About one-third of teachers who said they use technology in the classroom say they plan to integrate more of it into their lessons.
 Generation Tech: Exploring technology in education. (2016). Virgin Media. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Online and offline reading ability

As an extension of traditional literacy, online research and comprehension needs to be addressed. This study examined possible differences in the levels of online and offline reading, focusing on socio-economic situations of the students. Significant gaps occur in both cases.
Leu Donald J., Forzani Elena, Rhoads Chris, Maykel Cheryl, Kennedy Clint & Timbrell Nicole (2015). The New Literacies of Online Research and Comprehension: Rethinking the Reading Achievement Gap. Reading Research Quarterly, 50(1), 3759.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Graphic Novels and Literacy

This report examines a teenage acquirer of English as a second language living in Arizona, Ramon, whose interest in the Naruto manga series appeared to be the cause of a dramatic improvement in his school performance and English language development.
Henkin, V. and Krashen, S. 2015. The Naruto breakthrough: The home run book experience and English language development. Language Magazine 15(1): 32-25, published as "The Home Run book experience."


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Media literacy education

Several good research articles on media literacy education are included in the two recent issues of the Journal of Media Literacy Education. Global aspects are also addressed.
Critical Media Literacy and Gender: Teaching Middle School Students about Gender Stereotypes and Occupations
Laurel Puchner, Linda Markowitz, and Mark Hedley
A Theory-Grounded Measure of Adolescents' Response to Media Literacy Interventions
Kathryn Greene, Itzhak Yanovitzky, Amanda Carpenter, Smita C. Banerjee, Kate Magsamen-Conrad, Michael L. Hecht, and Elvira Elek
The Role of Collaboration and Feedback in Advancing Student Learning in Media Literacy and Video Production
Carl M. Casinghino
Building a Global Community for Media Education Research
Paul Mihailidis, Renee Hobbs, Julian McDougall, and Richard Berger
Media Literacy, Education & (Civic) Capability: A Transferable Methodology
Julian McDougall, Richard Berger, Pete Fraser, and Marketa Zezulkova
Digital Competence Assessment. A Proposal for Operationalizing the Critical Dimension
Ida Cortoni, Veronica Lo Presti, and Pierluigi Cervelli
The New Curricula: Propelling the Growth of Media Literacy Education
Tessa Jolls

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

International rep[orts about education

A new OECD report on youth, skills and employabilty comments on the struggle young people have in gaining entry to the workforce. In some OECD countries, one in four 16-29 year olds is neither employed nor in education or training. Find the report, OECD Skills Outlook 2015, at

A United Nations global survey, MyWorld2015 Analytics, aims to capture people's voices, priorities and views, so world leaders can be informed as endeavor to define global goals. The highest priority, globally, is that everyone has access to a good education. Check the survey results at You can filter the results by country, gender, education levels and age groups.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Teens' favorite social media

According to a recent report, among UK and US teens, YouTube is seen as the coolest social network (followed by Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and Snapchat). The report was based on data from a survey of 7,890 Internet users in the United States and 8,010 Internet users in the United Kingdom, age 16-64.
GlobalWebIndex. (2015). GWI Social. London: Author.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Smartphone use survey

This survey analyzed teen smartphone usage by site (e.g., Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are the most popular social media sites) and demographics. 92% of teens go online daily, and a quarter state that they go online, mainly by phone, “constantly.” African Americans were most likely to have a smartphone; of teens who did not have such a phone, only two-thirds went online daily.

Pew Research Center. (2015). Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015: Smartphones Facilitate Shifts in Communication Landscape for Teens. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.

Digital learning by teens survey

Based upon a nationwide survey, this annual analysis examines K-12 students’ learning environments: using tablets, learning in blended or online learning environments, and STEM experiences. The researches found that student access to technology tools and resources results in: deeper and more sophisticated learning; higher estimation of technology, greater college-career readiness, and builds self-directed independent learning ethos.

Project Tomorrow. (2015). Digital learning 24/7: Understanding technology-enhanced learning in the lives of today’s students. Irvine, CA: Project Tomorrow.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Digital vs. print media reading and gender

Girls have more firmly embraced digital literacy and formats such as Facebook, email and text message, while boys are more comfortable with traditional printed media such as comics, manuals and newspapers, according to a study published by the National Literacy Trust.
The snapshot – based on responses from 32,000 pupils at more than 130 schools in the UK – found that girls continue to outpace boys in their enthusiasm for reading outside school at all age levels, with black girls in particular showing a prodigious appetite for literature.
Girls studying for GCSEs, for example, were more likely to read emails and social network sites than boys of the same age – and were also more likely to read fiction, suggesting that the growth of digital media has not diminished the popularity of literature.
Boys studying for GCSEs were more likely than girls to read print products such as comics, with 38% saying they read newspapers at least once a month compared with 30% of girls of the same age.
Overall, boys reported lower levels of enjoyment from reading than their female peers, according to the figures compiled by the trust. Boys also tended to read less often and think less positively about reading than girls did.
National Literacy Trust. (2015). Children's and young people's reading in 2014. London: National Literacy Trust.