Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Digital Divide report

 As digital learning is expected to expand, data shows 67% of K-12 schools -- affecting 31.5 million students -- do not meet the recommended threshold of 1 megabits per second per student, according to a national report. Yet, data shows some improvement in median bandwidth per student and costs.

Connect12: 2020 executive summary. (2020). Connected Nation. 

https://connectednation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Connect-K12_final.pdf

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

World Reading Habits in 2020

 A lengthy infographic shows reading habits around the world in 2020. Aspects include reading formats, gender and generation trends, habits by continent -- and the US. 

Cabrera, I. (2020, Nov. 6). World reading habits in 2020. Global English Editinghttps://geediting.com/world-reading-habits-2020/

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Digital shift report

 The sudden shift in digital learning in spring 2020 has resulted in increased usage of digital tools by teachers and students, according to a recent national survey. Teacher viewpoints on what platforms and features are necessary has changed greatly, with more of a need for accessibility and flexibility. Teachers also see the importance of more cross-platform digital resources and want training in gamification. The report also finds stronger appreciation by parents for the value of technology as a learning vehicle and their role in supporting their child’s education from home. Engagement is still cited by education leaders as the top reason for the use of technology in education, but students cite improved outcomes, more personalized learning, better grades, better communication, and being able to collaborate. 

Speak Up National Report. (2020). Digital learning during the pandemic. Project Tomorrow. https://tomorrow.org/speakup/pdfs/2020%20Speak%20Up%20National%20Report.pdf

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Technology as a learning tool report

 The move to digital learning during the pandemic has resulted in a greater appreciation by parents and students for technology as a learning tool, according to a recent report.The report -- based on responses from more than 110,000 students, nearly 12,000 teachers and others --also found the increase in technology use provides more opportunities and context for defining value and rigor of resources. Some other findings were: greater appreciation by parents and students of digital learning, and student awareness of more modalities for learning.

Project Tomorrow. (2020). Digital Learning During the Pandemic: Emerging Evidence of an Education Transformation. Irvine, CA: Project Tomorrow. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

A Comment on “Extensive Reading” Combined with Study Abroad. S Krashen

  

A Comment on “Extensive Reading” Combined with Study Abroad

Submitted for publication

 

O’Neil and Edelman (2020) reported that including an “extensive reading” requirement as part of a study abroad program “had a negative effect on reading affect” (p. 251). 

 

Their subjects were two similar groups of undergraduates studying science and engineering in Japan who participated in a program in the United States that lasted for one month. It included lectures and field trips in science and the local culture, interaction with local university students, and workshops on research in which students presented reports in areas of their interest. The experimental group engaged in extensive reading and controls did not. Questionnaires were administered to both group four months before the program began, at the end of the program, and one year later. 

 

The experimental group experienced a clear decline in their opinion of the “practical value” of the reading program at the end of the program and this opinion had not changed one year later. They also felt more negative about the educational value of the reading program, but when asked one year later, their opinions on this issue were the same as those of control subjects.

This result is clearly inconsistent with the results of a large number of studies showing that programs that encourage self-selected pleasure reading are valued by students (Krashen, 2004, 28-34) and produce clear gains in language development (Mason and Krashen, 2017). 

 

But the “extensive reading” program described by O’Neill and Edelman was not self-selected pleasure reading: it was forced reading (a minimum number of books per week was required), selected from limited range of books to choose from (only books from the Oxford Bookworm Series were made available), and highly constrained book reports were required in which students had to answer specific questions about each book. The decline in attitudes is consistent with what has previously been reported on the effects of book reports and lack of choice (Krashen, 2004, p. 127-128).

 

O’Neil and Edelman conclude that extensive reading should not be combined with study abroad programs. My conclusion is that extensive reading programs, as described here, should be not used at all.1

 

Note

1.     Also of interest is the finding that self-selected pleasure reading programs have been shown to be superior to at least some kinds of study-abroad experiences and “immersion” situations in terms of second language acquisition (Mason and Krashen, 2017). 

 

References

 

O’Neill, B. & Edelman, C. (2020). Assessing the efficacy of extensive reading during study abroad: A time and place for ER? International Journal of Teaching and Educational Research, 19(6), 251-266.

Krashen, S. (2004). The power of reading.  Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. Second edition.

Mason, B., & Krashen, S. (2017). Self-selected reading and TOEIC performance: Evidence from case histories. Shitennoji University Bulletin, 63, 469-475. https://tinyurl.com/yc9tc8ha

Mason, B., & Krashen, S. (2019). Hypothesis: A Class Supplying Rich Comprehensible Input is More Effective and Efficient than “Immersion.” IBU Journal of Educational Research and Practice, 7: 83-89. https://tinyurl.com/y4zdwmmz

 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Digital literacy and online learning

 Digital literacy skills among students and their parents were often lacking during remote learning in the spring, according to a survey of more than 700 teachers in 40 states. Data showed students and parents often have the skills to consume technology but not to create with it, such as using Google Docs to collaborate and joining Zoom calls.

Pacheco-Guffrey, H. (2020). https://www.edsurge.com/news/2020-10-01-sudden-shift-to-online-learning-revealed-gaps-in-digital-literacy-study-finds

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Best practices for online instruction study

 There is no "right" way to adopt remote instruction, according to a recent study. Its review of 12 schools revealed several best practices, including innovative instruction, support for students with special needs and a focus on social and emotional learning.  Among areas of best practices includes providing support and adjustments, innovative instructional approaches; big-picture planning and establishing core principles; designing data-intensive approaches; creating supportive school-student connections; and building relationships with families and communities. 

 LiBetti, A., BGraziano, L., & Schiess, J. (2020). Promise in the time of quarantine.  Bellwether Education Partners and Teach For America.   https://bellwethereducation.org/sites/default/files/PromiseInQuarantineBellwetherFinal.pdf


In a second report, researchers investigate the relationship between teachers' reports of their students' internet access and their interaction with students and families during school closures related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. These data are drawn from the American Instructional Resources Survey (AIRS), which was fielded in May and June 2020 and included questions to teachers regarding their instruction during school closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. When teachers deliver remote instruction, their capacity to communicate with students and their families is shaped by home internet access. Researchers found that half of teachers estimated that all or nearly all of their students had access to the internet at home, and teachers in schools located in towns and rural areas, schools serving higher percentages of students of color, and high-poverty schools were significantly less likely to report that all or nearly all of their students had access to the internet at home. These data suggest that existing inequities for students in rural and high-poverty schools might be exacerbated by students' limited access to the internet and communication with teachers as remote instruction continues.

Stelitano, L., et al. (2020). the digital divide and COVID-19. Rand.  https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA134-3.html?utm_source=WhatCountsEmail&utm_medium=NPA:2559:6359:Sep%2024,%202020%206:03:48%20AM%20PDT&utm_campaign=NPA:2559:6359:Sep%2024,%202020%206:03:48%20AM%20PDT


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Cyberbullying study

A massive study on the effects of bullying uncovered that social media are considered the biggest threats for cyberbullying. The study found some worrying effects from bullying, but on a positive note, it includes advice on coping mechanisms as well (from adults who were bullied as children). 

Childhood bullying. (2020). Injuryclaimcoach. https://www.injuryclaimcoach.com/childhood-bullying.html

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Research on K12 educational practices during the pandemic

To determine effective ways to deliver education during the pandemic, agent-based computational models ran thousands of simulations of infection spread across more than 100 different school situations, varying by school level, school size, operating strategy, approach to quarantines and closures, and the local community’s COVID-19 infection rate. The results offer educators and civic leaders a set of comparable schools to their own, and provide insights beyond the heated political rhetoric about the best approaches for individual communities and schools to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while providing meaningful learning opportunities. Key findings include:

  • Precautions such as requiring masks and limiting the mixing of students outside of classes can measurably reduce infection spread in schools.
  • Hybrid approaches where smaller groups of students wearing masks attend in person part time dramatically reduce the total number of likely infections in a school.
  • Infection rates in elementary schools are likely to be lower than in secondary schools employing the same operating strategies.
  • Part-time hybrid operation is far more effective at reducing infections than temporarily closing the school building each time an infection is detected.
  • In schools that are using a part-time hybrid approach, quarantining close contacts of individuals with detected infections is sufficient to keep the school’s infection rate low, while closing entirely reduces the number of days that students can attend with no demonstrable benefit in further reducing infections.
  • Schools using a hybrid approach in a community with a moderate infection rate are likely to experience little or no unplanned disruption in the number of days students can come to school.
  • Regardless of precautions taken, there is a chance that a school could have an infection on its first day of operation.
Gill, B., Goyal, R., & Hotchkiss, J. (2020).  Operating schools in a pandemic.  Princeton, NJ: Mathematica.


Pandemic impact on students

 Some high-school students feel more motivated to learn in school than online and do not have equal access to remote instruction, according to a national survey administered in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, from March 26 to April 1. Results also show the toll of the pandemic on students' mental health, with one sharing it felt like life was in chaos. "Most, but not all, students had access to the technology needed for online learning; however, many found it difficult to adapt." The study recommends addressing inequities of access to technology and Internet, addressing food insecuriy, considering the whole student, improving online instruction and materials.

Croft, M. et al. (2020). HIgh school students' experiences in March during the coronavirus pandemic. Iowa City, IA: ACT Center for Equity in Learning.  https://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/R1841-covid-insights.pdf 


Saturday, August 29, 2020

Research on school libraries and student well-being

 This paper explores how school libraries may support student well-being by operating as safe spaces for young people, promoting and resourcing mental health and well-being initiatives, and supporting and promoting bibliotherapeutic practices and reading for pleasure. It then highlights implications for future research to support the development of a sound, research-supported evidence base for advocacy moving forward.

Merga, M. (2020). How can school libraries support student wellbeing? Evidence and implications for further research. Journal of Library Administration, 60(6), 660-673.


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Writing time study

 Students are not spending enough time writing, according to a recent report. The findings, based on data from the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress, found that about 25% of middle-and high-school students write for 30 minutes a day, and even fewer say they do argumentative writing weekly. Schools are not making writing a priority, and writing does not occur across the curriculum. Black and Hispanic students are more likely to be graded on "mechanics and conventions" (25 percent) compared to 18 percent of White students. A potential explanation for this, researcher Picou wrote, is that Black and Hispanic students were "more likely to have accents, dialectic differences or speak another language at home, which educators may classify as deficient."

Picou, A. (2020). Are schools making writing a priority? Learning Agency Lab.

https://www.the-learning-agency-lab.com/the-learning-curve/are-schools-making-writing-a-priority

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Student motivation during COVID-19 survey

 During coronavirus-related school closures in the spring, students' ability to motivate themselves to complete schoolwork varied by age, with 57% of fifth-graders saying they were able to stay motivated compared with 26% of 12th-graders, a survey finds. Distractions at home were the most common reason students cited for lack of motivation, followed by feeling stressed or depressed. 

Large numbers were able to navigate the mechanics of accessing and turning in their schoolwork (87 percent and 79 percent, respectively). Nearly six in 10 (57 percent) said they spent more time than usual on activities they enjoyed. And half reported that they were able to focus on their learning.

But remote learning didn't always result in a lot of learning. Challenges were especially high for low-income and Latinx students, who cited lack of ready access to the internet and computing devices more than other groups of students. Also, female students and those who identify in a way other than male or female reported struggling more with mental health and well-being (57 percent and 70 percent, in order) more than male students (38 percent).

Students weigh in: Learning & well-being during COVID-19. (2020). San Francisco, CA: YouthTruth. https://youthtruthsurvey.org/students-weigh-in/#studentvoice


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Personalized Learning Perceptions Study

 

Elizabeth D. Steiner, E., Doss, C., & Hamilton, L. (2020). High school teachers' perceptions and use of personalized learning. Santa Monica, CA: Rand.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Mobile device affect on students

A national survey of educators and interviews with school principals reveal big concerns about how the proliferation of digital devices is affecting K-12 education. Two-thirds of students use smartphones in schools, 90% of high schoolers use them on campus. While such devices facilitate communication and remediation through relevant apps, it also facilitates distractions, misbehavior, and cheating, Nevertheless, usage will probably increase. 
Smartphones and other devices in schools. (2020). Education Week. https://www.edweek.org/media/tc2020%20survey%20report%206.5.20.pdf

Friday, June 12, 2020

Libraries Respond: COVID-19 Survey

As a follow up to PLA’s March 2020 Public Libraries Respond to COVID-19 Survey, a new American Library Association (ALA) survey of U.S. libraries documents a shift in services to support students, faculty, and communities at large during the crisis and phased preparations for the months ahead. More than 3,800 K-12 school, college and university, public, and other libraries from all 50 states responded to the survey between May 12–18, 2020.
While virtually all libraries (99%) report limited access to the physical building, survey respondents shared leaps in the use of digital content, online learning, and virtual programs. Several themes emerged from the survey results, including that libraries are: involved in community crisis response, cautiously planning for re-opening facilities, committed to meeting the educational needs of students and researchers, and experiencing ongoing or increased demand for library programs and services.
COVID-19 crisis response: of respondents involved in community crisis response, the majority reported new partnerships, distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE), addressing food insecurity, and sharing accurate community information and resources.
Caution with facility re-opening: Virtually all libraries have expanded virtual and phone services during the crisis, continuing a trend of library activities beyond physical walls. The survey finds that most libraries have limited access to their buildings while they work to establish health and safety protocols for staff, social distancing requirements for patrons, and processes for sanitizing materials. Curbside pickup, delivery, and by-appointment services are the most common next steps as national and state/local guidance evolve. Over one-third (37%) of respondents expect phased re-opening in June and July, and almost half (47%) are unsure when buildings will begin to re-open to the public.
American Library Association. (2020).  Libraries respond: COVID-10 survey. Chicago, IL: Author.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

COVID-19 and the State of K–12 Schools

COVID-19 and the State of K–12 Schools

Results and Technical Documentation from the Spring 2020 American Educator Panels COVID-19 Surveys

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Student social skills and screen time study


A new study suggests that, despite the large amount of time spent on smartphones and social media, young people today are just as socially skilled as those from the previous generation. Researchers compared teacher and parent evaluations of children who started kindergarten in 1998, six years before Facebook launched, with those who began school in 2010, when the first iPad debuted. The findings show that both groups of kids received similar ratings on their interpersonal skills, including the ability to form and maintain friendships and get along with those who are different. The two groups were also rated similarly on self-control, such as the ability to regulate their temper. There was one exception, however: Social skills were slightly lower for children who accessed online gaming and social networking sites several times a day.
Downey, D. B., & Gibbs, B. G. (2020). Kids These Days: Are Face-to-Face Social Skills among American Children Declining?. American Journal of Sociology125(4), 1030-1083.

Survey of digital material use by teachers

This researh adds new insights from English language arts (ELA), math, and science teachers on their use of digital materials. Drawing on data from the spring 2019 American Instructional Resources Survey, researchers share the digital materials that ELA, math, and science teachers across the United States reported using regularly for instruction during the 2018–2019 school year. Researchers then examine how teachers' use of these materials compares with their use of comprehensive curriculum materials, as well as teacher-reported barriers to digital material use. Researchers also explore several hypotheses regarding factors that might influence digital material use.

Key Findings

  • Most teachers use digital materials both for planning and classroom instruction. However, they use these materials to supplement other curriculum materials rather than as main materials.
  • For all subjects, the top digital materials used during instructional time include a mix of general resources, such as YouTube, and content-specific resources, such as ReadWorks and Khan Academy.
  • Teachers who used standards-aligned curricula, who had more low-income students, or who attended certain teacher preparation programs were more likely to use digital materials.
  • Expense was the most commonly cited barrier to digital material use, even more so among teachers with more low-income students.

Tosh, K., et al. (2020). Digital instructional materials: What are teachers using and what barriers exist? Santa Monica, CA: Rand.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

How schools should respond to pandemics.



“This resource provides the text of state statutes and regulations—as well as noncodified guidance from state health and education agencies—that relates to pandemic planning for schools. This tool is designed as a resource for educators, policymakers, and general audiences to learn more about pandemic planning for schools within their states; it is not designed to provide a comprehensive analysis of these policies.”
Nunez, B. (2020, Mar. 11).  As COVID-19 Spreads, Most States Have Laws That Address How Schools Should Respond to Pandemics.  ChildTrends. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

How to bridge homework gap with tech study

Enhancing connections between schools and communities could help close digital divides and curb the "homework gap," according to a study of schools in Alabama and Arizona. The study finds that bridging this divide relies on robust in-school technology programs and relevant community connections.
Lee, N. (2020). Bridging digital divides between schools and communities. Washington, DC: Brookings Institute.
https://www.brookings.edu/research/bridging-digital-divides-between-schools-and-communities/
 

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Social-emotional learning


Schools that prioritize emotional and social development and other soft skills over test scores enable students to perform better in school and later in life, according to a Northwestern University study of more than 150,000 Chicago high-school students. "What we're showing is that schools that actually cause kids to become more gritty, those kids tend to be likely to persist more in college," says economist and study author Kirabo Jackson. Jackson has calculated that schools that build social-emotional qualities such as the ability to resolve conflicts and the motivation to work hard  are getting even better short-term and long-term results for students than schools that only boost test scores. The schools that develop soft skills produced students with higher grades, fewer absences and fewer disciplinary problems and arrests in high school. Later, the students who attended these high schools graduated and went to college in higher rates. 


This is still a working paper, which means it has not yet been peer-reviewed and may still undergo revisions. In February 2020, Jackson presented these early findings at conference of the National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research.




https://caldercenter.org/publications/school-effects-socio-emotional-development-school-based-arrests-and-educational

Pre-Service School Librarians’ Perceptions



New research explores graduate-level instruction on research designs and methods for pre-service school librarians. For their study, the research team f, examined the question, “How should a school library program prepare pre-service school librarians to integrate research into their future practice?” Using a focus group of pre-service school librarians, the team critically examined instruction through an existing two-course sequence of research methods in education with an emphasis on school libraries.
DiScala, Jeffrey, Elizabeth A. Burns, and Sue C. Kimmel. 2020. “Pre-Service School Librarians’ Perceptions of Research Pedagogy: An Exploratory Study.” School Library Research, 23.
http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/pubs/slr/vol23/SLR_PreserviceSchoolLibPerceptions_V23.pdf

Skills for coding


The ability to learn languages is a better predictor of success in computer programming and coding than math skills, researchers  found. The study points to stereotypes and math prerequisite courses as barriers to attracting more diversity to coding and connects coding more to the cognitive skills needed to learn languages and the working memory of students.


Prat, C.S., Madhyastha, T.M., Mottarella, M.J. et al. Relating Natural Language Aptitude to Individual Differences in Learning Programming Languages. Sci Rep 10, 3817 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-60661-8

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Study on Rise of ELLs

English-language-learner enrollment in K-12 schools has increased by more than 1 million students since 2000, according to a new report. There are now an estimated 4.9 million children in U.S. public schools learning the English language. These students are in classrooms in most school systemsand enrollment is surging in states across the South and Midwest that had almost no English-learners at the turn of the century. California has the greatest number and percentage: 20.2%.
Office of English Language Acquisition. (2020). English learners: Demographic trends. Washington, DC: US Department of Education.
https://ncela.ed.gov/files/fast_facts/19-0193_Del4.4_ELDemographicTrends_021220_508.pdf 
and
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "Local Education Agency Universe Survey," 2000–01 through 2016–17. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d18/tables/dt18_204.20.asp?current=yes

Friday, February 14, 2020

Predicting Student Achievement Study

Students' third-grade reading and math tests have an 80% likelihood of predicting outcomes in 10th grade, according to a recent study. Data from students across six states also link students' academic mobility to socioeconomic factors.
A student's ranking in his state's 3rd grade reading and math tests was 80 percent predictive of his 10th grade performance, after controlling for errors in state test measurements, the researchers found. That meant a student struggling in the bottom quarter of 3rd graders in her state was very likely to end up performing in the lowest 25 percent of 8th graders—and to end up in the same percentile in 10th grade. If a school district provided academic mobility one standard deviation higher than the average of districts in its state, its struggling 3rd graders on average improved nearly 6 percentile points on the state rankings by grade 8 and became nearly 8 percentage points more likely to graduate high school on time.
While the vast majority of students graduated high school, students' 3rd-grade achievement was still 25 percent to 35 percent predictive of whether they earned a diploma in four or five years. Urban students who struggled in 3rd grade were much less likely to graduate than those who attended rural or suburban schools. It is surprising at how little chance low-performing students had of changing their academic ranking within any of the districts across all six states.
Goldhaber, D. (2020). National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research.
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2020/02/Academic_mobility_low.html

High school students' emotions study

When researchers  asked more than 21,678 U.S. high school students to say how they typically felt at school, nearly 75 percent of their answers were negative. "Tired" topped the list, followed by "bored" and "stressed," with positive words like "happy" distantly following.Students reported feeling boredom and stressed, but in the moment they reported feeling calm, happy, and relaxed even more often. What didn't change was the one "feeling" the researchers hadn't expected at all: Students overwhelmingly reported feeling tired. It was the only feeling consistently named by more than half of the students. The study also found that boys and girls tended to experience school differently. Girls reported more negative feelings than boys overall, and in the moment, girls were much more likely to say they were stressed. As of 2016 the National Sleep Foundation found that 87 percent of high school students in the United States sleep significantly less than the recommended 8 to 10 hours per night. And on the heels of the Yale study, another in the journal Molecular Psychiatry also found that even preteen students who got insufficient sleep had higher rates of anxiety, depression, impulsive behavior, and poor cognitive performance. 
Moeller, J. et al.  (2020).  High school students' feelings. Learning & Instruction, 66 (April).
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2019.101301


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Group Work Study

Students learn best from one-on-one interaction with an adult, but group work follows as a strong alternative, according to an analysis of 71 studies -- mostly from the US and UK. Data shows that students benefit from working in pairs, as well as in groups of three or four. The ones that produced the strongest learning gains for peer interaction were those where adults gave children clear instructions for what do during their conversations. The instructions force children to debate and negotiate, during which they can clear up misunderstandings and deepen their knowledge.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Winstone, N. E., Leman, P. J., & Avery, R. E. (2019). How effective is peer interaction in facilitating learning? A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000436
https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2019-75000-001?doi=1