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



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 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