Wednesday, June 29, 2016

STEM OERs study

This study outlines the significance of studying pressing issues related to use of digital resources in the K–12 environment, and uses the Quadratic Usage Framework of K–12 technology adoption to contextualize the results of a qualitative synthesis of published research. Many traditional issues relating to educators’ access, skill, policy, and motivation to use digital learning resources emerged clearly from the body of literature.

Luetkemeyer, Jennifer, and Marcia Mardis. “Applying the Quadratic Usage Framework to Research on K–12 STEM Digital Learning Resources.” School Libraries Research, 19.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Teacher stress study

Teacher burnout is linked to higher levels of stress hormones in their students. When teachers are stressed, so are their student, according to a new study. “Teachers who experience higher levels of burnout report to be more stressed, less effective in teaching and classroom management, less connected to their students, and less satisfied with their work,” the study authors write. Burned out teachers may also have fewer resources and support, which could also contribute to student stress.
Oberle, E., &U Schonert-Reichl, K. (2016). Stress contagion in the classroom? The link between classroom teacher burnout and mornig cortisol in elementary school students.  Social Science & Medicine, 159(June), 30-37.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

School library advocacy research

This case study investigated the effectiveness of one advocacy effort in response to a call for support
of a national petition in support of school libraries (i.e., ESEA reauthorization). The study has import for the design and development of successful advocacy efforts.
 Burns, Elizabeth, Sue Kimmel, and Gail Dickinson. “Anatomy of Advocacy: A Case Study of the White House Petition.”  School Library Research Vol. 19 (2016).

School library advocacy research

This case study investigated the effectiveness of one advocacy effort in response to a call for support
of a national petition in support of school libraries (i.e., ESEA reauthorization). The study has import for the design and development of successful advocacy efforts.
 Burns, Elizabeth, Sue Kimmel, and Gail Dickinson. “Anatomy of Advocacy: A Case Study of the White House Petition.”  School Library Research Vol. 19 (2016).

Teachers and technology survey

Seventy-three percent of teachers participating in a recent survey said they use open educational resources more often than traditional textbooks. The survey also showed that technology has changed how a majority of the teachers manage their time and approach to instruction; most teachers apply tech to classroom lecture time (84%) and differentiated instruction (74%).
TES Global. (2016).  Teachers and technology survey. San Francisco, CA: Author.

Common Core impact study

Test scores vary little between states using Common Core State Standards and those not using the standards, according to a recent report Data show Common Core is changing instruction, with 45% of teachers emphasizing nonfiction in 2015, up from 38% in 2011. Principals are most likely to influence instruction by developing and setting educational goals for their schools.
Brown Center on Education Policy. (2016). Brown Center report on American education. Washington, DC: Brookings Institute.

IT leadership survey

Student data privacy and security are among many IT leaders' to-do lists, according to an annual survey. Data show top concerns also include broadband and network capacity issues. Districts are turning to digital learning materials, and 99% intend to incorporate OERs. Furthermore, nearly 80% of IT leaders use online productivity tools.
CoSN. (2016). K-12 IT leadership survey report.  Washington, DC: OcSN.

Schools' use of digital content study

The use of digital content is on the rise in American schools. Eight in 10 K-12 schools and districts are using some form of it, primarily as classroom curriculum but also to round out e-book collections in a library or media center. The most desired content is English/language arts, requested by 74%  of teachers. Science follows at 62%, math at 61% and social studies at 56%. Within the category of ELA, the primary preference for digital content is informational texts and literary non-fiction aligned to units of study, sought by 74% of teachers. The content is being used primarily on laptops (75%), according to 2,033 school and district administrators who responded to a survey run by two education organizations. Tablets come in second with 62%, and PCs follow with 4 %. Smartphones are used to consume digital content at 17% of respondent schools.
ASCD. (2016). Digital content goes to school. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Libraries' values report

A new report finds that 76% of respondents believe libraries serve the educational needs of their communities “very well” or “pretty well.” Library users tend to think of themselves as “lifelong learners”—97% of users say the term applies “very well” or “pretty well”; 98% of library website users feel the same way. Additionally, these views arise in a context where strong majorities of adults consider themselves “lifelong learners” and libraries around the country are working to fit their programs and services into local educational ecosystems. As a rule, libraries’ performance in learning arenas gets better marks from women, blacks, Hispanics, those in lower-income households, and those ages 30 and older. The report also found out that many do not know about key education services that libraries provide.
Libraries and learning. (2016). Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.

The State of America's Libraries 2016

ALA's report shows that libraries of all types add value in five key areas: education, employment, entrepreneurship, empowerment, and engagement. Local and national studies cited within the report show that libraries are advancing multiple literacies and fostering a digitally inclusive society. The value of certified school librarians continues to grow as administrators and teachers seek education resources to better serve tech-savvy students. For example, in 2010 only 35% of school librarians indicated they were acquiring digital content. By 2015, that number had increased to 69%. This trend is reflected across a variety of formats, particularly databases, ebooks, periodicals, videos, and games.
American Library Association. (2016). The state of America's libraries 2016. Chicago, IL: ALA.

Friday, June 24, 2016

State standards implementation study

New K–12 standards for mathematics and English language arts and literacy adopted recently in most states are more rigorous and far-reaching than most previous state standards. Some evidence suggests that teachers are not prepared to help students meet those standards. However, we have very little concrete information about how state standards are connected to what teachers think and do in their classrooms. This report examines teachers’ implementation of the standards, including use of instructional materials, perceptions about standards-aligned content and approaches, and student engagement. Results are intended to help states or districts reflect upon areas where teachers may benefit from guidance about how to address their state standards.
Opter, V., Kaufman, J., & Thompson, L. (2016). Implementation of K-12 state standards for mathematics and English language arts and literacy. RAND Corporation.

Access to technology-based learning experiences study

A coalition that includes the US Department of Education has collaborated with education leaders nationwide to release a report that offers a blueprint on providing equitable access to technology-based learning experiences. The report highlights key considerations, such as privacy and security, and recommends ways of improving access and instruction.
U.S. Dept. of Education. (2016). National Education Technology Plan: Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education.

Principal knowledge about teacher librarians study

An older study found that 65% of principals indicated that their primary source of knowledge of the instructional role of the school librarian was derived from interactions with the school librarians during their career.
Alexander, L. B., R. C. Smith, and J. O. Carey. 2003. “Education reform and the school library media specialist.” Knowledge Quest 32(2):10–13.

News evaluation study

A new study shows that trust and reliability in news can be broken down into specific factors, such as accuracy, timeliness and clarity. The study also finds that in the digital age, several new factors largely unexamined before—such as the intrusiveness of ads, navigability, load times and having the latest details—also are critical in determining whether consumers consider a publisher competent and worthy of trust.
Media Insight Project. (2016). What makes people trust news? Arlington, VA: American Press Institute.

Teacher empathy impact study

A new study suggests that even a minor attitude adjustment among teachers can have a dramatic effect on those rates: Middle school math  teachers encouraged to be more empathetic saw student suspensions drop by half. How teachers view their students’ needs can have a direct impact on student performance. The study also highlighted the importance of teacher expectations. The study suggests that “by changing the mindset of just one of their teachers, students had better behavior across all of their classes.”
Okonofua, J., et al. (2016). Brief intervention to encourage empathic discipline cuts suspension rates in half among adolescents. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the USA,10; 113:5221.

Blended/hybrid/online instruction report

A new national report found that participation in online and blended learning schools is increasing, despite evidence that students are struggling in them and performance and school outcomes are consistently below traditional public schools. Students enrolled in virtual and blended schools are performing poorer in key subject areas — such as English Language Arts and math — than their counterparts at brick-and-mortar schools. Also, students at blended (or hybrid) schools, which combine face-to-face instruction in classrooms with virtual instruction, scored the same as or worse than those at virtual schools full-time on performance measures, according to the report.
Miron, G., & Gulosino, C. (2016). Virtual schools report 2016. Boulder, CO: National Education Center.

Parent read aloud behavior study

Despite evidence that early reading experiences help shape a child's brain, a new survey shows that parents and caregivers aren’t reading to children early or often enough. Fewer than half of parents report reading aloud every day with their children, while 4 in 10 parents say their children spend too much time watching TV.
Read aloud survey report. (2016). Alden, MI: Read Aloud.

College-career readiness report

A recent report shows 31% of high-school students follow a college-ready curriculum, and 13% engage in career-preparation courses. Students from low-income families have less access to college- and career-readiness curricula, compared with students from families in top income brackets, data show. The report spells out the sequence and types of courses that would be considered as a college-prep curriculum, a career-prep curriculum, a combination of both and a curriculum that is neither. "A college-prep curriculum, for instance, would include three credits in math, including Algebra II. A career-prep curriculum, on the other hand, would include three or more credits in a “broad career field such as health science or business.”
Meandering Toward Graduation: Transcript Outcomes of High School Graduates(2016). Washington, DC: Education Trust.

Notetaking by handwriting vs. keyboard study

Handwriting appears to focus classroom attention and boost learning in a way that typing notes on a keyboard does not, new studies suggest. Students who took handwritten notes generally outperformed students who typed their notes via computer, researchers found. Compared with those who type their notes, people who write them out in longhand appear to learn better, retain information longer, and more readily grasp new ideas.
Mueller, L., & Oppenheimer, D. (2014). The pen is mightier than the keyboard. Psychological Science (April 23).

Parent perception of offspring achievement research

Most parents want their children grades K-8 to go to college, and most also believe their child is performing at or above grade level, but their beliefs about their children's academic achievement doesn't reflect national assessment data, according to a new report. It found that while most parents have high expectations of their children's academic achievement and deep engagement with their development, they don't have a realistic understanding of how well their children are doing, and they need tools to help them help their children.
Hart Research. (2016). Parents 2016: Hearts and Minds of Public School Parents in an Uncertain World.

Information seeking behaviors study

This research paper compared Colorado Springs and Kampala (Uganda) upper elementary students' dispositions in seeking information. Dispositions of effective learners -- independence, creativity, self-motivation, and resilience -- were correlated with AASL learning standards. Both groups had an affinity for play and tendancy for creative. US students had more noncompetitive dispositions.
Crow, Sherry, and Lisa Kastello. (2016). The Dispositions of Elementary School Children of Individualistic and Collectivist Cultures Who Are Intrinsically Motivated to Seek Information. School Library Research.

Children's tech consuption report

More than half of kids aged 3–16 — including a quarter of those aged 3 and 4 — access the Internet at least daily, according to the latest Kids Tech report. Some findings include:
·                   For all kids, watching free videos is the most popular online activity, but for teenagers social media and instant messaging or e-mailing rank higher;
·                   70 percent of parents with children aged 3–12 said they had parental controls in place to restrict internet access for their children, and the same portion said they use time limits;
·                   Television is still king among video platforms, being cited as the most frequently watched;
·                   More than a third of all kids interviewed said they consume video on a mobile device at least once a day;
·                   The most common way to find new videos and apps is through recommendations from friends.
Kids tech. (2016). Herefordshire, UK: FutureSource Consulting.

1-1 laptops and student achievement research

In 1-to-1 classrooms – where each student has his/her own computing device – an increase in student achievement has been “undeniably and reliably” observed. “The most common changes noted in the reviewed studies [of 1-to-1 classrooms versus no computer classrooms] include significantly increased academic achievement in science, writing, math and English; increased technology use for varied learning purposes; more student-centered, individualized and project-based instruction; enhanced engagement and enthusiasm among students; and improved teacher-student and home-school relationships.”
Zheng, B., et al. (2016).Learning in one-to-one laptop environments: A meta-analysis and research synthesis. Review of Educational Research. 

English learner instruction research

Research on teaching English learners found that the most common types of instructon include: pullout/push-in tutoring, sheltered English instruction, and bilingual instruction.  English-learners in bilingual programs had language arts and math scores that grew as fast or faster than those of ELLs in sheltered English immersion, but students in developmental bilingual programs showed slower growth in math than those in other types of bilingual and sheltered-English instruction.Effective strategies for teaching academic content to ELs include:
  Teach a set of academic vocabulary words intensively, over several days and a variety of activities.
  Integrate instruction in spoken and written English into content-area teaching, such as using science laboratory reports to teach writing in English.
  Provide ongoing, structured chances to develop writing skills.
  Provide small-group interventions for students struggling with specific problems in literacy or language development.

Sparks, S. (2016). Teaching English-Learners: What Does the Research Tell Us? Education Week (May 11).

Information behaviors research book

The  4th edition of the book Looking for Inforrmation presents a comprehensive review of more than a century of research on information behavior (IB) and related topics, with over 1,500 citations to relevant works, together with complete reference list, glossary of key terms, and subject and author indexes.  In addition to now being co-authored, this new text includes significant structural and content changes from earlier editions.
Case, D., & Given, L. (2016). Looking for information: A survey of research on information seeking, needs, and behaviors (4th ed.). West Yorks, UK: Emerald.

Print vs digital reading study

There's new reason to believe so-called "digital natives" really do think differently in response to technology: It may be "priming" them to think more concretely and remember details rather than the big picture when they work on a screen. Among young adults who regularly use smartphones and tablets, just reading a story or performing a task on a screen instead of on paper led to greater focus on concrete details, but less ability to infer meaning or quickly get the gist of a problem, found a series of experiments. Using a digital format can develop a "mental 'habit' of triggering a more detail-focused mindset, one that prioritizes processing local, immediate information rather than considering more abstract, decontextualized interpretations of information. 
Flanagan, M., & Kaufman, G. (2016). High-Low Split: Divergent Cognitive Construal Levels Triggered by Digital and Non-digital PlatformsCHI '16: Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

Laptop use and student achievement study

Laptop use in the classroom may be a distraction for some students, according to a study from economists at West Point. Data show students with the highest ACT scores and grade point averages who used laptops in class scored lower than peers who did not have access to the technology. In contrast, there wasn’t much of a difference between students with low ACT scores — those who were allowed to use laptops did just as well as those who couldn’t. 
Carter, S., Greenberg, K., & Walker, M. (2016).  The impact of computer usage on academic performance. Cambridge, MA: MIT.

Display size study

More than half of students (58%) in a recent study couldn't read content displayed on a 70-inch flat panel in an average-sized classroom. The findings are consistent with the 4/6/8 Rule for display size recommendations, a "long-standing guideline commonly used by AV integrators and installers for determining the appropriate sized displays for different environments," as well as the InfoComm DISCAS draft standard, according to a press release. "Using the DISCAS draft standard to calculate the Farthest Viewing Distance for Basic Decision Making, a 70-inch display would not be recommended for viewing text-based educational content at distances of approximately 18 feet and beyond."
(2016). Choosing the right classroom display.  EPSON.

Rural schools and transformatoin study

A study of rural schools implementing one of four turnaround model under the federal School Improvement Grant program found that few rural schools fully implemented all the "transformation" model, and that implementation challenges were more common for strategies related to staff and community engagement than they were for curriculum- and data-related approaches. Findings include:
- More schools reported facing implementation challenges related to ensuring high-quality staff and engaging families and communities than challenges related to improving instruction.
- The more strategies for which principals reported receiving technical assistance, the more strategies they reported that their school had fully implemented.
Scott, C., & Costler, N. (2016). Reshaping rural schools in the Northwest region. Institute of Education Sciences.

Rural schools and transformatoin study

A study of rural schools implementing one of four turnaround model under the federal School Improvement Grant program found that few rural schools fully implemented all the "transformation" model, and that implementation challenges were more common for strategies related to staff and community engagement than they were for curriculum- and data-related approaches. Findings include:
- More schools reported facing implementation challenges related to ensuring high-quality staff and engaging families and communities than challenges related to improving instruction.
- The more strategies for which principals reported receiving technical assistance, the more strategies they reported that their school had fully implemented.
Scott, C., & Costler, N. (2016). Reshaping rural schools in the Northwest region. Institute of Education Sciences.

Students' digital skills research

A survey of how 4th and 5th grade students read online finds that girls significantly outperform boys on a test of digital skills such as searching for and communicating information. That's despite the fact that boys seem to engage in more digital activities than girls, and that they have more confidence in their online skills than girls do. The survey also found, in contrast to previous research, that students are doing more of their digital activities in school than out of school. On the other hand, other research has also shown that boys have more confidence in their abilities than girls, in particular when it comes to technology. Boys also reported engaging in online activities more often than girls, both in school and out of school. 
Amy C. Hutchison, Lindsay Woodward, Jamie Colwell. (2016). What Are Preadolescent Readers Doing Online? An Examination of Upper Elementary Students’ Reading, Writing, and Communication in Digital Spaces. Reading Research Quarterly.

Digital learning tools study

Digital learning tools that fit well within existing classrooms and don't disrupt the educational status quo tend to be the most widely adopted, despite their limited impact on student learning, an analysis of ed-tech products designed for higher education concludes. Experts say that pattern is also reflected in K-12, raising tough questions about whether many ed-tech vendors' emphasis on quickly bringing their products to scale is actually hampering the larger goal of improving schools. The researchers  identified three common factors among those products that scaled most rapidly: a promise of cost savings for schools, no requirements for face-to-face training, and an ability to be easily integrated into existing teaching and learning practices. "There is a lot of research showing that more comprehensive technology interventions tend to have more positive results in both sectors," said Barbara Means, the director of the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International, the nonprofit research center that conducted the new analysis. "To create an education technology tool that can have an impact, but also be adopted in many classrooms, requires thinking about supports for teachers, resources for instruction, and rethinking the way time is used within schools."
Center for Technology in Learning. (2016). Popularity of ed tech not necessarily linked to products' impact. Education Week (May 10).

Graduation study

This special report examines "tried and true" principles of school improvement, and highlights stories from districts across the country that have integrated those principles into innovative new designs for high schools. This special report also includes the latest original graduation-rate analysis from the Education Week Research Center. The center calculates graduation rates for the nation and every state. Find out where the major gains are across the country and what has driven the all-time high in graduation rates.
Education Week. (2016). Diplomas count.  Bethesda, MD: Author.

Digital surveillance study

Students may be under "constant digital surveillance and marketing at school," according to the National Education Policy Center. The report shows that some firms provide free services to schools and, in turn, collect data about students' online activities. The report considers how schools facilitate the work of digital marketers and examine the effects of their tracking of and marketing to children.
Boninger, F., & Molnar, A. (2016). Learning to be watched: Surveillance culture at school. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center.

Student online behavior study

     Students should encounter smaller online risks to help prepare them to handle bigger risks, according to a study by researchers at Pennsylvania State University. "Our stance is that teens will inevitably be exposed to some level of online risk; thus, they need to learn how to deal with it before the risk becomes too great," the researchers wrote. 82% of the study participants reported at least one "risk event." On average they reported about three risk events during the study; the range was from zero to 15. The most common type — reported by 74% of participants — was exposure to explicit content, which in two-thirds of the incidents occurred accidentally. 15% reported online harassment, 24 percent information breaches and 28% at least one sexual solicitation.
     The teen participants seemed to cope with their online problems fairly well by ignoring the content (40% of the time) or leaving the site, confronting the offender or fixing it themselves (47%). They were most likely to communicate with someone else regarding an online harassment incident and least likely to communicate about exposure to explicit content. For online harassment, specifically, 77% of the reports said that teens told their mothers, 11% told their best friends, and 11% reported it to the social media website. 49% were considered resolved by the time the teen recorded their diary entries; 17% were considered "so insignificant" to the teens that they felt no resolution was required.
Wisniewski, P., et al. (2016). Dear diary: Teens reflect on their weekly online risk experiences.  Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, p. 3919-3930

Nation's report card 2106

     About one-third of high-school students are ready for entry-level college courses, according to the Nation's Report Card. Data also show a one-point decrease in average math scores in 2015, compared with 2013, and a five-point decline in average reading scores, compared with data from 1992. Only 37% are prepared for college-level math and reading. Furthermore,the percentage of students scoring below a basic level increased.
     While 32% of white students and 47% of Asian students scored at proficient or above in math, only 7% of black students and 12% of Hispanic students did.Similar gaps were present in reading: 46% of white students and 49% of Asian students scored at or above proficient, while only 17% of black students and 25% of Hispanic students did so.
National Assessment of Educational Progress. (2016). The nation's report card. Washington, DC: Author.

Student tech and engineering proficiency study

     Forty-three percent of students scored proficient on the National Assessment of Educational Progress's technology and engineering literacy test. Data show girls outperformed boys on the exam by three percentage points. The test was designed to measure students’ abilities in areas such as understanding technological principles, designing solutions and communicating and collaborating. Girls were particularly strong in the latter.
     There also were large racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps, mirroring results on standardized tests in other subjects. Just 25 percent of students who received free and reduced-price lunch scored proficient, compared to 59 percent of more affluent students. Eighteen percent of black students and 28 percent of Latino students scored proficient, for example, compared to 56 percent of white and Asian students. The test was particularly difficult for students learning English as a second language: Five percent of them scored proficient. And 60 percent of private school students were proficient, outperforming their public-school peers, 42 percent of whom were proficient.
National Assessment of Educational Progress. (2016). The nation's report card: Technology and engineering literacy. Washington, DC: NAEP. 

Tech-enhanced instruction study

This national report focuses on the emergence of pixel based digital tools, specifically, videos, games, animations and simulations, as legitimate vehicles for learning. Key findings follow:
  • Simulations are more widely used by teachers in virtual classes (23%) and teachers who have implemented a flipped learning model (26%) or a blended learning model (17%).
  • 78% of middle school students tap into online videos, and 61% are playing online games, all in service of various types of self-directed learning goals.
  • School principals (84%) are almost unanimous in their belief that the effective use of technology within instruction is important for student success. However, they do acknowledge challenges or barriers to meeting the expectation of effective technology usage.
  • Half of administrators note that the implementation of digital content resources such as videos, simulations and animations was already generating positive student outcome results
  • Almost 60% of technology leaders say that one-quarter of instructional materials in their schools today are digital, not paper-based; 26% say that their level of paperless-ness is 50%.
  • The top subject areas in which the students in grades 6-12 watch videos to support homework, research projects or studying are science (66%), math (59%), social studies/history (53%) and English/language arts (45%).
  • When asked what was holding back further expansion of their digital learning visions, 57% of principals say the lack of teacher training on how to integrate digital content within instruction is their top barrier.
Speak Up. (2016). From Print to Pixel: The role of videos, games, animations and simulations within K-12 education. Irvine, CA: Author.

Teachers and student behavior study

Schools must do more to address behavioral issues among students, according to 90% of teachers and administrators responding to a recent survey. The report is based on online surveys from 2,500 teachers and administrators, with many acknowledging the link between academic achievement and meeting students' behavioral, social and emotional needs. Some findings follow:
  • 74 percent of surveyed educators said that addressing the needs of students whose academic challenges are rooted in social and emotional issues should be a top priority for their school, although only 56 percent said it currently is;
  • The most common strategy for dealing with behavioral issues is a system of rewards and consequences;
  • 57 percent of teachers and 67 percent of administrators said the main challenge to  implementing a school- or district-wide climate and culture initiative is inconsistency on the types of behaviors that are tracked, monitored and rewarded.
YouGov and Kickboard. (2016). The State of Climate & Culture Initiatives in America's Schools. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Common Core and Career Readiness study

A new report that surveys curriculum nationally found that many people in education and the workplace don’t think some of the English Language Arts and math standards — which are being used in most states — are what students and workers need to be successful in college and career. Employers say that important skills that ensures success include conscientiousness, ethical use of information, face-to-face oral communication.  In addition, gaps appear between some Core standards and what college instructors consider important for students to succeed — especially in the area of writing. 

ACT. (2016). National curriculum survey. Iowa City, IA: Author.

Teachers and friendship study

Students learning in classrooms in which they perceive teachers as warm, respectful and trustworthy may be more likely to form and continue interracial friendships, according to a recent study.What’s more, students’ perceptions of their teachers—who may treat children in the same class differently, for example—influenced the rate of growth in same-race friendships from the fall to the spring. "When teachers [show] that everyone is valued ... that everyone deserves warmth and support, then that trickles down to the students, particularly at this age," said  the study's lead author.
Cappella, E.(2016). When black and white children grow apart. Atlantic (June 14).

STEM education report

When it comes to STEM education, high school students in the United States want to see changes made to teaching methods and more access to resources outside of the classroom. Students want more tangible learning opportunities. Respondents said that common teaching methods, such as teaching from the textbook, are less engaging than hands-on learning methods.