Educators from school districts across the nation – from the most underserved to the most affluent – made significant strides in embracing and using technology tools to start the school year. Unfortunately, that balance still has not been fully achieved by all students.
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
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.
Wednesday, November 11, 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 Editing. https://geediting.com/world-reading-habits-2020/
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
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
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
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
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).
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 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
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
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
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:
Gill, B., Goyal, R., & Hotchkiss, J. (2020). Operating schools in a pandemic. Princeton, NJ: Mathematica.https://mathematica.org/our-publications-and-findings/publications/operating-schools-in-a-pandemic-predicted-effects-of-opening-and-quarantining-strategies
- 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.
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
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.
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
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.
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
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 (PL) approaches have become increasingly common across the United States. PL aims to create individual learning experiences and pathways for students. Despite its popularity, little data exists on the prevalence of PL practices and the conditions needed to support high-quality PL implementation, particularly in high schools. This report presents findings from high school teachers taken from RAND's 2018 American Teacher Panel. The findings should be useful to practitioners, professional development and support providers, researchers, and policymakers interested in understanding how high school teachers are using PL practices and which supports and resources they need to use them effectively.
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Friday, June 12, 2020
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
COVID-19 and the State of K–12 Schools
Thursday, April 16, 2020
- 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
“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
Lee, N. (2020). Bridging digital divides between schools and communities. Washington, DC: Brookings Institute.
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Office of English Language Acquisition. (2020). English learners: Demographic trends. Washington, DC: US Department of Education.
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
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.
Moeller, J. et al. (2020). High school students' feelings. Learning & Instruction, 66 (April).
Tuesday, February 4, 2020
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