Virtual School Meanderings

September 28, 2012

September 2012 CTL Research Update

From Wednesday’s inbox…

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September 2012 CTL Newsletter Research Update
Contingent Pedagogies

Improving Student Learning
in Science with Contingent Pedagogies

The Contingent Pedagogies project addresses two challenges in formative assessment: helping teachers respond to the disciplinary substance of student thinking and providing teachers with different routes into the subject matter when they discover student difficulties.

Researchers from SRI International and the University of Colorado at Boulder developed a suite of tools to address these challenges. Tools include pedagogical patterns for formative assessment, questions to elicit student ideas, norms of scientific discourse, talk moves to probe student thinking, and activities to address persistent student difficulties.

A field test with 19 middle school Earth science teachers, 12 of whom participated in professional development and used the tools, revealed that students in Contingent Pedagogies classrooms scored significantly higher than students in comparison groups on assessments targeting core ideas in Earth science. Moreover, lessons of treatment teachers were more likely to use a broader range of academically productive talk moves.


EDM Wordle

Enhancing Teaching and Learning through Educational Data Mining and Learning Analytics

Researchers and developers of online learning systems, intelligent tutoring systems, simulations, games, and learning management systems are exploring ways to better understand and use data from learners’ activities online.

The Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education asked SRI to talk to industry experts and convene a panel of researchers to understand the state of the art, the state of the practice, and the emerging field of learning analytics and educational data mining. The resulting issue brief draws on industry applications to understand what is possible in education and explores challenges and barriers. The report concludes with recommendations for work going forward—not only how to collect, analyze, and visualize data, but also how to help people become smarter consumers of data and how to ensure integrity regarding privacy and ethics issues.

The report was released in draft form in April 2012, and an official release is expected in October 2012 at the Office of Educational Technology website.

Stay Connected  Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page.  Follow SRI International on Twitter


The Latest News

CTL and SRI’s Center for Software Engineering released an open source browser plugin that lets educators enter metadata and paradata about open educational learning resource alignment and quality. The easy-to-use plugin collects, from a user, standards alignment (state and Common Core), quality, tags, and comments about the current web page and submits it to the Learning Registry.

CTL is partnering with the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Center at SRI to develop Inquire, an intelligent textbook system for tablet computers that brings question-answering AI into the classroom. Inquire is part of the ongoing Project Halo research funded by Vulcan Inc. and developed at SRI International. Watch this video on Inquire.


Don’t miss upcoming CTL Research Updates featuring Cornerstone Maths!

Learn about the recent results of the Cornerstone Mathematics project, which has developed technology-based curriculum materials for middle-grades students in England. Results from our pilot study show that students learn complex and important mathematics when using the materials, and teachers find that the materials are easy to use, and more effective than traditional teaching methods.


SRI International (www.sri.com) is an independent, nonprofit research institute. The mission of SRI’s Center for Technology in Learning (CTL) is to improve learning and teaching through innovation and inquiry. Much of our work is conducted in educational settings such as classrooms, afterschool programs, and teacher education programs. Visit ctl.sri.com.
SRI International 333 Ravenswood Ave. Menlo Park, CA 94025

July 1, 2012

June 2012 CTL Research Update

Also from Friday’s inbox…

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January 2012 CTL Newsletter Research Update
Khan Academy logo

How Do Schools Use Khan Academy Resources?

Over the last few years, the Khan Academy has become one of the most popular online resources for math instruction. The Khan Academy website has over 4.5 million unique users per month (two-thirds of whom are in the United States). Since Khan Academy made its debut on the Web, users have viewed more than 125 million videos and solved over 400 million individual math problems. The sheer volume of the traffic that Khan Academy is generating is evidence of the worldwide hunger for free online instructional resources for the teaching of primary and secondary mathematics.

SRI International’s Center for Technology in Learning (CTL), with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is studying the adoption of Khan Academy in a wide variety of primary and secondary schools and classrooms in Northern California during the 2011–12 school year. Twenty-one public, charter, and independent schools are participating in the study.  CTL’s research encompasses

  • Case studies to understand how Khan Academy is being used to support math instruction in different school settings
  • Quasi-experimental designs to measure the potential impacts on student learning
  • An analysis of the costs of adoption

A report summarizing the findings for the 2011-12 school year will be available in December.


Follow us at EdEvidence

Building a New Evidence Framework for Innovation and Excellence in Education

Jeremy Roschelle, Director of the Center for Technology in Learning and Karen Cator, Director of Educational Technology for the U.S. Department of Education, hosted a forum at Software & Information Industry Association’s (SIAA) Industry Summit on May 7, 2012, to discuss strategies for evaluating new technologies that quickly gain tens of thousands of users and have the opportunity for very rapid cycles of iterative improvement. Approximately 50 industry leaders were energetically engaged in the discussion. Their input will inform the Evidence Framework for Innovation and Excellence in Education, which explores the range of research approaches that can be appropriate in the study of emerging learning technologies. Learn more about this topic and submit your input by following us @EdEvidence and by visiting evidenceframework.org.


Assisstments logo

SRI Teams Up to Evaluate the Efficacy of Online Homework

SRI, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), and the University of Maine have launched a $3.5 million evaluation of the efficacy of online homework using ASSISTments, a system that offers students instant feedback and support on homework, gives teachers daily reports, and enables adaptive instruction. This research, which builds on numerous smaller scale studies testing various aspects of the system and its implementation conducted over several years, offers the opportunity to combine a rigorous randomized controlled trial with learning analytics based on the comprehensive data recorded as students and teachers use ASSISTments. Read more on previous studies of ASSISTments.

Stay Connected  Click here to go to the SRI Facebook page.  Follow SRI International on Twitter


The Latest News

SRI’s Innovative approach to middle school math learning is highlighted in the SmartPlanet.com article How SRI Aims to Improve Middle School Math Skills.

Read about the CTL-designed prototype science assessment task in the Education Week article A Glimpse of Technology-Enhanced Tests.

The Journal of School Psychology selected the paper by SRI’s Ximena Dominguez, The Role of Context in Preschool Learning: A Multilevel Examination of the Contribution of Context-Specific Behaviors and Classroom Process Quality to Low-Income Children’s Approaches to Learning, as article of the year.

Videos of Cyberlearning Research Summit Talks are available on You Tube. These 25 TED-style talks, organized across five talk sets, present a range of visions for the future of learning with emerging technologies and serve as a high-quality resource for researchers, practitioners, and students to engage with the thoughts of leaders in cyberlearning.


American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2012 Conference Highlights

SRI led an international symposium with research partners from Finland, Australia, Indonesia, and Brunei to describe global and national results from Innovative Teaching and Learning (ITL) Research.

Louise Yarnall presented Using Evidence-Centered Design to Broaden the Range of Cognitive Performances in College Tests and Expert Teaching of Developmental Education: Case Studies of Lesson Features From an Online Knowledge Base.


Coming in Our September Issue!

Learn about the recent results of the Contingent Pedagogies project, which designs tools that help Earth science teachers promote students’ productive participation in scientific practices. Results show that students in the treatment group classrooms scored significantly higher than students in comparison groups on assessments.


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SRI International (www.sri.com) is an independent, nonprofit research institute. The mission of SRI’s Center for Technology in Learning (CTL) is to improve learning and teaching through innovation and inquiry. Much of our work is conducted in educational settings such as classrooms, afterschool programs, and teacher education programs. Visit ctl.sri.com.
SRI International 333 Ravenswood Ave. Menlo Park, CA 94025

January 17, 2012

January 2012 CTL Research Update

Note the blended learning study referenced on the right hand side that I posted about on Sunday (see Study of Miami-Dade’s Virtual Learning Lab Reveals Key Success Factors for “Blended Learning” Programs).

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January 2012 CTL Newsletter Research Update

CyberLearning Logo The Cyberlearning Summit: Discussing Big ideas at the Intersection of Emerging Technology and Research on Learning

On January 18, researchers and policymakers will gather in Washington, DC, for the first Cyberlearning Summit.

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, The Cyberlearning Research Summit is a high-profile gathering in Washington, DC, featuring top-quality research-based speakers who will share visions for the future of learning with emerging technologies. Organized by CTL and the Lawrence Hall of Science, the day will be filled with TED-like talks about what cyberlearning is, what it can become, and the transformative potential it has to shape learning and our future. If you’re not attending in person, you can still be part of the summit by watching the webcast and participating virtually.

Go to cyberlearning.sri.com to learn more about the speakers, read abstracts of their talks, and participate in helping create definitions for each topical area on the wiki. We welcome and encourage new voices to join in the conversation.


SunBay LogoSRI Teams up to Improve Middle School Mathematics Education in Florida

Since 2009 the SunBay Digital Mathematics Project has been dramatically improving middle school mathematics education in Pinellas County, Florida. SunBay Math emphasizes the foundational big ideas that are critical to students’ deep conceptual understanding of mathematics and helps students at all skill levels bring these concepts to life by linking the dynamic representations to engaging stories as well as to other mathematical representations such as graphs, tables, and equations. SunBay provides teachers with intensive professional development to engage students in learning mathematics through the use of dynamic representations and corresponding research-tested learning modules.

The SunBay project is a collaboration between SRI International, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP), the Helios Education Foundation, the Pinellas Education Foundation, and the Pinellas County School District in Florida. Given SunBay Math’s proven record of success, the program won a highly competitive Next Generation Learning Challenge (NGLC) award to increase its scope in Pinellas County. Read more at sunbay.sri.com and USFSP.


Click to read the ITL ReportTaking a LEAP: ITL Research Findings Lead to a School-Based PD Program

SRI released the report Innovative Teaching and Learning (ITL) Research 2011 Findings: Evolving Educational Ecosystems at the Microsoft Partners in Learning’s Global Research Forum on November 2011 in Washington, DC. As the global lead for ITL Research, SRI collaborated with local partners to examine innovative teaching practices in 159 schools in Australia, England, Finland, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, and Senegal. The report describes factors that support innovative teaching and learning at multiple levels of the educational ecosystem, from school culture to national policy, and points to the central role of learning activity designs that give students opportunities to build 21st century skills.

Beginning in 2012, the project turns its methods and results into a new professional development program called LEAP21, offering teachers around the world a way to evaluate and strengthen the 21st century learning opportunities they offer students.

Stay Connected  Follow us on Facebook   Follow SRI International on Twitter


The Latest News

New SRI Report funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reveals Key Success Factors for Blended Learning Programs
As online learning programs become prevalent in U.S. schools, school and district leaders, teachers, and policymakers are looking for the best ways to use technology to enhance learning. A new SRI report, Implementing Online Learning Labs in Schools and Districts, provides such a guide for creating successful blended learning programs that can benefit many students.

CTL’s Barbara Means Testifies Before Congress on Successful K-12 Education
On October 12, 2011, Barbara Means, Ph.D., CTL’s director of evaluation, testified before the Congressional Subcommittee on Research and Science Education. In the hearing, “What Makes for Successful K-12 STEM Education: A Closer Look at Effective STEM Education Approaches,” the subcommittee reviewed the report, Successful K-12 STEM Education Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Dr. Means is a member of the Committee on Highly Successful Schools or Programs for K-12 STEM Education, which wrote the report. View the webcast of the hearing.


Coming in Our June Issue!

SRI is conducting research on the use of Khan Academy’s online math resources in schools in five locations in California. The research, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is examining the ways the resources are being used with different student populations and in different instructional settings as well as the potential benefits of use to students’ learning and attitudes toward math. Learn more about this exciting new project in our June newsletter.


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SRI International (www.sri.com) is an independent, nonprofit research institute. The mission of SRI’s Center for Technology in Learning (CTL) is to improve learning and teaching through innovation and inquiry. Much of our work is conducted in educational settings such as classrooms, afterschool programs, and teacher education programs. Visit ctl.sri.com.
SRI International 333 Ravenswood Ave. Menlo Park, CA 94025

January 15, 2012

Study of Miami-Dade’s Virtual Learning Lab Reveals Key Success Factors for “Blended Learning” Programs

This passed over my electronic desk from some source on Friday…

Study of Miami-Dade’s Virtual Learning Lab Reveals Key Success Factors for “Blended Learning” Programs

Menlo Park, Calif. — December 15, 2011 — As online learning programs become prevalent in U.S. schools, school and district leaders, teachers, and policy makers are looking for the best ways to use technology to enhance learning. A new SRI International report, Implementing Online Learning Labs in Schools and Districts, provides such a guide for creating successful blended learning programs that can benefit many students.

The report summarizes lessons learned from the pilot year (2010-2011) of the Virtual Learning Lab program, a collaborative effort between the Miami-Dade County public school district—one of the largest in the country—and the Florida Virtual School—a state-wide, Internet-based public high school with the highest enrollment in the country. SRI researchers collected information on 5,500 students in 38 public high schools through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and site visits to seven schools.

“We found that how schools implement blended learning—such as orientation sessions to prepare students and staff for what may be a new style of learning—makes a huge difference in student experiences and ultimately on student outcomes,” said Marianne Bakia, Ph.D., senior policy analyst at SRI International’s Center for Technology in Learning and lead author of the report. “This report provides a guide and starting point for high schools implementing a mix of online and classroom learning. In addition, the report provides research-based recommendations for schools with traditionally underserved students and offers recommendations for new, targeted efforts to help support student success.”

To help all students succeed in online learning lab programs, SRI found that schools should provide for students: orientation programs, ongoing support through lab facilitators, opportunities for interaction, and additional access to Internet-enabled computers outside of the scheduled lab time. There should be sufficient Internet connectivity, equipment, and technical support to allow all of the students to complete assignments on time, communicate with online instructors, and work off-site.

The report also details how to choose online courses and plan for staffing, technological, and financial needs.

This report was developed by SRI International with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

About SRI’s Education Research
SRI conducts education research in three main areas: education reform, education policy, and the application of technology to improve education. Our researchers study reforms that hold promise for improving the K-16 system of schooling and lifelong learning and evaluate the design, implementation and impact of educational programs, especially those targeted at disadvantaged students. We also undertake projects to examine the design, implementation and impact of policies, programs and practices in the areas of early childhood, special education, school partnerships, and community services and strategies. One of our missions is to improve teaching and learning by conducting research on the innovative design, use and assessment of interactive learning environments. A particular focus is helping educational technology firms improve their products by providing research insights and strengthening educational designs.

About SRI International
Silicon Valley-based SRI International, a nonprofit research and development organization, performs sponsored R&D for governments, businesses, and foundations. SRI brings its innovations to the marketplace through technology licensing, new products, and spin-off ventures. Commemorating its 65th anniversary in 2011, SRI is known for world-changing innovations in computing, health and pharmaceuticals, chemistry and materials, sensing, energy, education, national defense, and more.

October 17, 2010

Boise State Team Focuses On Virtual Labs For Teaching The Science Of Geochronology – UPDATE

This scrolled through my Facebook news stream a few days ago.


Click on the image or visit http://news.boisestate.edu/update/2010/10/11/boise-state-team-focuses-on-virtual-labs-for-teaching-the-science-of-geochronology/

Basically, just a news update from the information I passed on in Funding Award Notice: K-12 Virtual Labs For Teaching The Science Of Geochronology. And once again, congratulations to Ross and his team at Boise State!!!

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