Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Reading research

The power of reading, the power of libraries and the "summer slide"
Letter published in Language Magazine, May, 2017
Stephen Krashen
http://tinyurl.com/ll3d36s
Language Magazine readers might be interested in a case study that confirms Andrew Johnson's recommendations for dealing with the summer slide in reading  ("Tales of summer," April, 2017).  In a published journal paper, we (Shu-Yuan Lin, Fay Shin, and S. Krashen) described the case of "Sophia," a high school student whose reading test scores dropped during three consecutive academic years, but increased during the summer. In fact, Sophia's fall reading scores were higher than they were the previous spring. What did Sophia do during the summer that caused this improvement? She did not attend special classes, did not get instruction in reading strategies, did not work through vocabulary lists, and did not write book reports. All she did was read for pleasure. According to her mother, Sophia read an average of about 50 books per summer, largely from the local public library. Early favorites were the Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley High series, followed by the Christy Miller series and other books by Francine Pascal, the author of the Sweet Valley series. (Sophia informed us that she was “addicted” to the Christy Miller books; it took her only a week to read the entire series “because I just couldn’t put them down.”)
Sophia’s mother told us that during the school year Sophia was so busy with school work that she had hardly any free time to read. Her mother, in fact, joked that it might be a good idea to keep her daughter at home during the school year in order to increase her scores on standardized tests of reading.
Lin, S-Y, Shin, F., & Krashen, S.  2007. Sophia’s choice: Summer reading. Knowledge Quest 35(4). Available for free download at www.sdkrashen.com, under "free voluntary reading."

Kids Count report

While the percentage of American children living in poverty fell in 2015, many continue to live in high-poverty areas and gains in children's well-being could be lost without continued investment, an annual report from the Annie. E. Casey Foundation finds. The report, which measured child well-being in four areas — economic well-being, education, health, and family and community — found minimal gains in indicators of academic achievement. Although rates of high school completion and fourth-grade reading proficiency improved from 2010 to 2015, the percentage of children not attending pre-K classes has remained largely unchanged since 2009, while the eighth-grade math proficiency rate has gotten slightly worse. The report found progress in a number of health indicators, including the uninsured rate for children, which fell from 8 percent in 2010 to 5 percent in 2015; the share of teens who abuse alcohol or drugs, which fell  from 7 percent to 5 percent; and child and teen deaths, which was down from 26 per 100,000 to 25 per 100,000. The report also notes that racial disparities in child well-being persist.
Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2017). Kids Count. Baltimore, MD: A. E. Casey Foundation. 
http://www.aecf.org/m/databook/2017KCDB_FINAL_embargoed.pdf

Friday, May 19, 2017

YAs use of ebooks study

An online survey distributed to librarians at public libraries across North America established some interesting trends in public librarians’ perceptions of ebooks and teens. Some of the findings of this study are that teen library users strongly prefer to read print books for their recreational reading and show very little interest in ebooks or ebook programs offered by public libraries.Even when public librarians offer ebook programs for teens through school outreach, these programs tend to focus on the titles in the collection and the download process, rather than the specific benefits of ebook reading. More active promotion of these advantages could potentially appeal to teens, especially to non-library users and reluctant readers.
Gray, R., & Howard, V. (2017). Young adult use of ebooks: An analysis of public library services and resources. Public Library Quarterly, 1-4. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01616846.2017.1316149

Thursday, April 27, 2017

School Attitudes about Independent Reading Report

Nearly all teachers and principals believe students should have time for independent reading at school, yet only about a third of teachers set aside time each day for this, according to a recent survey. When independent reading occurs, students spend an average of 22 minutes on it.
Asked about the primary barrier to independent reading time, 9 out of 10 teachers cited "demands of the curriculum." Other findings include:
  • About 1 in 10 teachers have no books in their classroom or personal libraries for students to read. About a third of teachers have fewer than 50 books. And 14 percent have more than 500 books.
  • Many teachers update their classroom libraries infrequently. About a quarter do it every couple of years and 13 percent never do it. 
  • Teachers who do in-class independent reading were asked about its benefits. About 40 percent said "students' skills have increased/ students are achieving more.' A quarter said "students learn to love reading."
  • Nearly 4 in 10 principals said they do not have a full-time school librarian, yet 8 in 10 said a librarian is a critical resource for schools.
  • About half of principals and librarians say they need more culturally relevant books, books in other languages, ebooks, books with diverse characters, and high-interest, low-level books.
  • Nearly 30 percent of principals and librarians said they're able to add new titles to their library "once a year or less." About 20 percent add books at least monthly.
Scholastic. (2017). Teacher & Principal School Report: Focus on Literacy. New York: Scholastic.
http://www.scholastic.com/teacherprincipalreport/literacy.htm

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Wing Institute

The Wing Institute (http://www.winginstitute.org) is an online clearinghouse to facilitate collecting, organizing and analyzing K-12 educational best practices. It includes research summaries and links on various educational factors that result in student success.

Monday, April 10, 2017

State of America's Libraries

The State of America's Libraries 2017 features news and commentary on:
  • The Top Ten Most Challenged Books in 2016
  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion in libraries
  • Children's and teen services
  • Public libraries taking action
  • New responsibilities for academic libraries
  • Resources to combat fake news
  • Calls to action in support of libraries 
Rosa, K. (Ed.). (2017). The State of America's Libraries 2017. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Literacy Efforts Analysis

UNESCO's new publication takes stock of youth and adult literacy interventions which have been implemented since 1966, when UNESCO held its first International Literacy Day. It sheds light on the literacy-related challenges the world is now facing, as it embarks on the implementation of the2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The publication begins with an analysis of trends in literacy rates at the regional and global levels, and identifies fifty countries that have made notable progress. It then reflects on emerging conceptions of literacy, from ‘literacy as a stand-alone skill' to 'functional literacy’ for work and livelihood, to 'literacy for empowerment’ of poor and marginalized populations and finally to 'literacy as social practice’, shaped by the cultural context in which it is applied. These four conceptions are illustrated by a wide range of literacy campaigns, programs and policies, implemented within the fifty selected countries. Finally, the publication envisages the possible future of literacy from the perspective of sustainable development, lifelong learning and digital societies, with a focus on the need for urgency of action.
UNESCO. (2017). Reading the past, writing the future: Fifty years of promoting literacy. Paris, France: UNESCO.
http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002475/247563e.pdf

Friday, March 10, 2017

News and Teens Study

In a newly released study, 66% of the children surveyed nationally said they trust "a lot" of the news they receive from their family, compared with 25% who said they trust news organizations.  Just 44% of the children surveyed agreed they can tell fake news stories from real news stories.Youth  consume a wide range of news, often as a byproduct of their frequent use of the mobile devices and social media applications they carry around in their pockets. But they view much of the news they encounter as biased and unreflective of their own experiences. Some other findings about 10-18 year olds' new behaviors follow:
Children often receive news information from their families, friends, and teachers.
Still, children—especially teens—prefer to get their news via social media.
Fake news is still a big problem, not not the only one. What they see and read often makes them feel afraid, angry, and depressed.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Educational opportunities and image study

High school students are willing to ignore educational opportunities when they're concerned about how they'll be viewed by their classmates. Researchers found that educational messages need to be modified, depending on the social culture of the school.
Bursztyn, L., Egorov, G., & Jensen, R. (2017). Cool to be smart or smart to be cool? Understanding peer pressure in education. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economics.
http://www.nber.org/papers/w23020

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Research on girl coding

Middle school is a good time for girls to learn how to code because that's when they are more susceptible to its appeal, according to recent research. The coding appeal then dips in high school and spikes again in college when girls become inspired by teachers and other role models. The study offers insight into factors that create either positive and negative associations with computer science for girls at the middle school, high school and college levels, as well as strategies for educators to make computer science more appealing to girls.
Accenture and Girls Who Code. (2016). Cracking the gender code. Lansing, MI: Accenture.
https://www.accenture.com/us-en/cracking-the-gender-code

Tech use almot universal for US children under 6: survey

A new national survey of technology use by children under 6 indicates that 85 percent of parents allow their young children to use technology in the home. More than three quarters of parents surveyed said they use tech along with their children on a daily basis for up to two hours, with television, tablets, smartphones and computers the most frequently used. Parents are the most influential media role models for children, and should focus on content quality more than quantity.
Erikson Institute. (2016).  Technology and young children in the digital age. Chicago, IL: Erikson Institute.
https://50.erikson.edu/technology-use-almost-universal-children-6/

Study on narrowing the gender gap in spatial reasoning

Research shows that while young women excel in social perspective-taking, there may be a gender gap in spatial perspective-taking. In a study about closing gender gaps in spatial ability, researchers found that making changes to tasks, such as changing perspective, helped narrow the gap.
Tarampi, M., Heydari, N., & Hegarty, M. (2016).  A tale of two types of perspective taking; Sex differences in spatial ability.   Psychological Science, 27(11). 1507-1516.
http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797616667459

Parents' perception about school tech use survey

K-12 public school parents around the United States are not overly impressed on the use of education technology in their students' schools. While 87 percent of parents buy into the possibilities of technology to positively influence student learning, just 35 percent among those respondents whose children use devices in school say their children have learned more because of tech. However, parents see a link between smart implementation of technology and personalized education.
YouGov. (2016). Learning Assembly public school parent poll.
https://innovationassembly.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/learning_assembly_national_survey_results.pdf

Reading promotion strategies study

A study was conducted to identify the different strategies elementary and middle school librarians in Puerto Rico are currently using to promote reading appreciation. Some of the conclusions indicate that school librarians consider Library Week a key activity for the promotion of reading appreciation, and the Internet as a key resource for the implementation of the different activities they design. The conclusions also acknowledge that school librarians face different challenges, the most difficult being collaboration and support from the students’ parents. The school librarian as motivational agent and strategist for reading appreciation.
Dominguez, N. et al. (2016). The school librarian as motivational agent and strategist for reading appreciation. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 48(3), 236-246.

Where Teachers Get Tech Help Study

By a margin of about five to one, teachers prefer to solve their own tech problems without the help of the IT department.Educators' top choice for solving their tech troubles is online searches, with 37 percent citing that as their preferred source for help with technology. Coming in second was peers, at 23 percent. The help desk/IT department ranked third at 17 percent, followed by the instructional technologist at 11 percent. Students rounded out the top 5 preferred sources of tech help at 4 percent. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed indicated they have adequate support and training for the use of technology in the classroom. For their part, most teachers said they see themselves as at least competent in their tech abilities. The top hardware used include: desktop computers, laptops, cameras, interactive whiteboard, projectors. Top software include: presentation, word processing, gradebook, online video service, classroom management software.
Nagel, D., & Schaffhauser, D. (2016). Where do teachers turn for tech help? THE Journal.
https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/10/27/where-do-teachers-turn-for-tech-help.aspx

Thursday, January 5, 2017

MS computer use study

A working paper has suggested that the availability of personal computers at home don't stunt the social development of students in grades 6-10 or displace their engagement in sports or clubs.
Fairlie, R. (2016). The Effects of Computers on Children’s Social Development and School Participation: Evidence from a Randomized Control Experiment. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.
http://www.nber.org/papers/w22907

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Librarians' impact briefs

Three briefs from the American Library Association illustrate librarians' impact on communities, especially in terms of entrepreneurship, service to veterans, and broadband adoption and use.
   ALA Office for Information Technology Policy. (2016). One small business at a time. Washington, DC: Author. http://bit.ly/2fyDaQQ
   ALA Office for Information Technology Policy. (2016). Libraries help adn hour our veterans. Washington, DC: Author.  http://bit.ly/2fyDaQQ

   ALA Office for Information Technology Policy. (2016). America's libraries: Powering broadband access, adoption, and use. Washington, DC: Author.  http://bit.ly/2fyDaQQ

Quality Counts report

This annual looks at the steps states are taking to turn ESSA's blueprint into a finished structure—and the challenges of doing it by the 2017-18 school year. The report also features comprehensive, summative grades for the nation and the states on a range of custom indicators developed over the years by the Education Week Research Center: the Chance-for-Success Index, the K-12 Achievement Index, and the school finance analysis.
Education Week. (2017). Quality counts 2017.  Bethesda, MD: Education Week.
http://www.edweek.org/ew/toc/2017/01/04/index.html?cmp=eml-eb-sr-qc17

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Generation Z view of ed tech survey

Generation Z students -- those born in or after 2001 -- view technology overall as beneficial to learning, according to a recent survey. The findings show a difference of opinion on educational apps, however, with 80% of teachers saying apps make learning more fun, compared with 51% of students.The one thing students and teachers of all ages agreed on? Interaction between students and teachers is the #1 most important part of a classroom learning environment.
Quizlet. (2016).Quizlet insights. San Francisco, CA: Quizlet.
https://quizlet.com/blog/survey-results-student-teacher-generations

Parents and student-data privacy survey

About 1 in 5 parents participating in a survey said they realize there are federal laws regarding student-data privacy. 94% said they should be informed when their child's information is shared.
Future of Privacy Forum. (2016). Beyond one classroom: Parental support for technology and data use in schools. Washington, DC: Future of Privacy Forum.
https://fpf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Beyond-One-Classroom.pdf

Teaching and technology report

Educators should not view technology as a threat, but instead use it to solve three key challenges (lack of expert teachers, when teachers must tackle an array of student needs, when teachers need to teach more than academic content), according to a recent report. The paper details how technology can help automate some tasks and improve teaching and learning.
Arnett, T. (2016). Teaching in the machine age. Lexington, MA: Christensen Institute.
http://www.christenseninstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Teaching-in-the-machine-age.pdf

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Gendered perceptions about math performance

Teachers' perceptions about boys' and girls' math skills may affect girls' confidence in math, according to a study. Researchers found that teachers as early as kindergarten perceive boys as having higher math abilities than girls.
Cimpian, J. et al. (2016). Have gender gaps in math closed? AERA Open, 2(4).  
http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2332858416673617#abstract-1

Digital multitasking research

Some research finds that digital multitasking distracts from learning, but other research shows that some distractions can boost learning.
Song, J., & Bedard, P. (2014). Paradoxical benefits of dual-task contexts of visuomotor memory. Psychological Science, 26(2), 148-158.
http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0956797614557868
Pea, R. et al. (2012). Media use, face-to-face communication, media multitasking, and social well-being among 8-to 12-year-old girls. Developmental Psychology, 48(2), 327.

School-College dual enrollment study

A new study finds that colleges and universities are using dual-enrollment programs as recruiting tools, as well as to serve students who seek a challenge. The study also discusses barriers to such dual programs.
Kilgore, W., & Taylor, A. (20160. Dual enrollment in the context of strategic enrollment management. Washington, DC: AACRAO.
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/high_school_and_beyond/161004_AACRAO_Report.pdf


LGBT challenges

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths in middle and high school encounter more difficulties and are less likely to graduate than their peers, according to a recent report. Data also show that many teachers and staff in schools feel unprepared to address the challenges faced by the students.
Greytak, E. et al. (2016). From teasing to torment: School climate revisited. New York, NY: Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
https://www.glsen.org/sites/default/files/TeasingtoTorment%202015%20FINAL%20PDF%5B1%5D_0.pdf

Technology influence on children survey

A majority of parents participating in a survey by children's television network Sprout said technology has a positive influence on their children, but many also said they could use resources to help guide their children's daily tech use.
Barr, R., & Linebarger, D. N. (Eds.). (2016). Media Exposure During Infancy and Early Childhood: The Effects of Content and Context on Learning and Development. New York, NY: Springer.

Use of data for research

According to a recent report K-12 schools in the United States have failed to harness data to improve student performance and close achievement gaps. The report offers suggestions to help policy makers overcome these challenges, such as:
  • Encourage smarter data collection and management;
  • Encourage interoperability;
  • Empower students and parents by providing access to their data;
  • Promote data-driven decision making;
  • Push back against baseless fears;
  • Develop a data-driven school district to serve as a model; and
  • Use data to promote education equity.
New, J. (2016). Building a data-driven education system in the United States.  Washington, DC: Center for Data Innovation.
http://www2.datainnovation.org/2016-data-driven-education.pdf

US school ebook usage survey

This survey notes the increasing foothold of ebooks in K12 schools and their libraries, largely due to etextbooks and 1:1 laptop programs. The report also mentions the advantages of ebooks.
Collette, M. (2015). Getting to E. School Library Journal, 61(9), 28-31.  
http://www.slj.com/2015/09/technology/getting-to-e-the-state-of-the-school-ebook-market/

Surveillance report

A report from the  examines privacy protections for school surveillance. The report identifies the benefits and potential problems posed by school surveillance. It also suggests six principles to guide state policymakers toward effective, balanced policies.
National Association of State Boards of Education. (2016). School Surveillance: The Consequences for Equity and Privacy. Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Boards of Education.
http://www.nasbe.org/education-leader/school-surveillance-the-consequences-for-equity-and-privacy/

STEM interest and readiness

Many 2016 high school graduates are interested in STEM majors and careers, but few are well prepared to succeed in first-year college STEM courses. The report found that 48% of the nearly 2.1 million 2016 U.S. high school graduates who took the ACT test had an interest in STEM majors or careers; however, only 26 percent of those graduates met or surpassed the ACT College Readiness Benchmark in STEM.
ACT. (2016). The conditions of STEM 2016. Iowa City, IA: ACT.
http://www.act.org/content/act/en/research/condition-of-stem-2016.html

Online harassment report

A new report gives a comprehensive picture of Americans' experiences with online harassment and abuse, finding that most US Internet users have witnessed online harassment, and almost half have personally experienced it.
Lanhart, A., & Zickuhr, K. (2016). Olnline harassment, digital abuse, and cyberstalking in America.  New York, NY: Data & Society Research Institute.
https://www.datasociety.net/pubs/oh/Online_Harassment_2016.pdf

Student dropout report

Some students -- almost 7% -- who leave school for four weeks or more return to school, according to data. This trend means schools have new opportunities to re-engage at-risk students. The federal study found that students in the poorest 20 percent of families nationwide were generally more likely than those from other income groups to both stop out or drop out. The researchers found that the later students “stopped out” of school, the less likely they were to graduate and the more likely they were to become dropouts.
Dalton, B., Ingels, S., & Fritch, L. (2016). High School Longitudinal Study. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.
https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2015/2015037rev.pdf

Literacies instruction trends

There is no consensus on exactly how digital skills should be incorporated into literacy instruction. Practitioners have few guidelines, and many are simply adapting their lessons as they see fit. But many literacy experts do agree on at least one thing: that all students should be learning with a mix of print and digital texts—even the very youngest. Data show that schools vary in their approach to reading and literacy because of a lack of consistent standards.
Hawley, K. (2016). The changing face of literacy.  Bethesda, MD: Education Week.
http://www.edweek.org/ew/collections/changing-literacy/index.html

School readiness report

Based on a comprehensive review of cognitive and developmental psychology studies, this paper finds that school readiness is multifaceted and not limited to early reading and mathematics skills, but rather includes a wide range of components including executive function skills, curiosity, language, socio-emotional well-being, motor skills, and health.  This position paper aims to highlight these skills and the conditions that best support children’s future success in school and life, and to guide educators and others (including families) in designing learning experiences and  environments to support this development.
Center for Childhood Creativity. (2016). Reimagining school readiness: A position paper with key findings.  San Francisco, CA: Center for Childhood Creativity.
 http://centerforchildhoodcreativity.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/03/SchoolReadinessPositionPaper_Issuu.pdf 

Connected learning white paper

This white paper synthesizes currently dispersed research, worked examples, and best practices associated with promoting connected learning and 21st century skills in libraries. The white paper provides examples of connected learning in libraries, discusses opportunities and challenges associated with introducing connected learning in diverse library settings, and reviews existing resources for public librarians who wish to implement connected learning principles in their youth programming. The white paper also describes how the ConnectedLib Project is addressing gaps in the existing connected learning research and resources for libraries.
Hoffman, K. et al. (2016). Connected libraries: Surveying the current landscape and charting a path to the future. Seattle, WA: ConnectedLib Project.
http://connectedlib.ischool.uw.edu/connected-learning-in-libraries 

BYOD Policies Report

A new study examined seven benefits and three categories of constraints (technical, personal and social) of instituting bring your own device (BYOD) policies in schools.
Song, Y., & Kong, S. (2016). Affordances and constraints of BYOD for learning and teaching in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 32(Jan.), 39-46.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1096751616300549

Equity priority

A new research project finds that the overwhelming majority of educators agree that equity in education for all children should be a national priority. Teachers and principals also agree (87%) that “many of their students face barriers to learning that come from outside the school environment.” While a greater percentage of educators in high-poverty schools (98%) report having students with barriers, two-thirds say the same in low-poverty schools.
Scholastic. (2016).  Equity in education. New York: Scholastic.
http://www.scholastic.com/teacherprincipalreport/

ELL language learning and achievement

The earlier that English-language-learner students are reclassified as English-proficient, the more likely they are to graduate high school. The researchers found that the graduation rate gap between students who were reclassified as English-proficient in elementary school and students who are still ELLs in high school was striking, the latter less likely to graduate.
Huang, M. et al. (2016). English learner students' readiness for academic success. San Francisco, CA: WestEd.
https://www.wested.org/resources/english-learner-students-readiness-for-academic-success/