Virtual School Meanderings

April 1, 2014

SRI Education Research Presented at AERA 2014

Note the digital learning presentations…

Meet SRI Education at AERA 2014

SRI Education researchers will present their latest findings at the American Education Research Association (AERA) 2014 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA from April 3-7. We hope you can join us.

Topics addressed in some of our 27 presentations include:

  • Assessment
  • Early Learning
  • Digital Learning
  • STEM Education
  • Postsecondary Preparation and Access
  • Teacher Quality
  • Research Methods

View the complete list of SRI Education presentations. (here’s a printable version)

About SRI Education

SRI Education programs help identify trends, understand outcomes, and guide policy and practice. We work with state and federal agencies, private foundations, nonprofit organizations, and commercial clients to provide research-based solutions to challenges posed by rapid social, technological, and economic change.

SRI Education is part of SRI International, a nonprofit research and development institute based in Silicon Valley. Innovations from SRI International have created new industries, billions of dollars of marketplace value, and lasting benefits to society—touching our lives every day.

SRI International
333 Ravenswood Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025

February 5, 2014

Center for Technology in Learning Research Update – February 2014

Another item from Monday’s inbox…

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Center for Technology in Learning - Insightful design, research, and evaluation of innovative learning environments and assessments. SRI Education - Addressing<br />
critical questions about education through innovation and rigorous research.” src=”” width=”290″ /> </a></div>
<h1>Center for Technology in Learning Research Update – February 2014, Issue 17</h1>
<h1>Webinar: <a href=Jeremy Roschelle: “Convergent Conceptual Change” — Reflections on a JLS Article that lasted 20 years

Vialogue: Barbara Means: The Effectiveness of Online and Blended Learning: A Meta-Analysis of the Empirical Literature

Article: Learning From Science: Case Studies of Science Offerings in Afterschool Programs

Award: Dan Zalles’s Curriculum “The Heat is On: Understanding Local Climate Change” Selected for On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection

Don’t miss our June Research Update, featuring:

Barbara Means’ new book, Learning Online: What Research Tells Us About Whether, When and How

Learning Online draws implications for institutional and state policies that would promote judicious uses of online learning and effective implementation models. Available for Preorder.

Results from our Khan Academy Evaluation

Learn about the results of our study of the adoption of Khan Academy in primary and secondary schools and classrooms in northern California.

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

Email CTL

Curiouis George Apple Picking

Low-income Preschoolers Learn Mathematics Through Media-Rich Curriculum Supplement

Children from low-income communities were better prepared for success in kindergarten when their preschool teachers used a 10-week PBS KIDS Transmedia Math Supplement in their classrooms. A new experimental study commissioned by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and conducted jointly by Education Development Center and CTL researchers found that preschool children’s early mathematics skills—counting, number recognition, and subitizing—increased when their teachers incorporated lessons that used educational video and games from public media, along with hands-on manipulatives and books. Teachers using the PBS KIDS supplement also reported increased confidence with understanding mathematics concepts and using technology and media to support early learning.

This research was conducted as part of the evaluation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Ready to Learn initiative. Learn more about the study and check out the project website, which includes the full report as well as media coverage of the study. Also check out our blog post Positive Results When Preschoolers Use Media-Rich Math Curriculum Supplement.

Associate professor Michelle Williams (left) and Angela DeBarger watch as U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow learns about the STEMGenetics curriculum.

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow Attends STEMGenetics Demo at Glencairn Elementary School

On January 21, 2014, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow visited Glencairn School in East Lansing, Michigan, to attend a STEMGenetics demonstration. Developed by Dr. Angela DeBarger of SRI Education and Dr. Michelle Williams of Michigan State University, the NSF-funded STEMGenetics program gives students an early advantage in learning foundational principles of the life sciences. “By growing plants right in the classroom and having students predict how traits will be expressed, science teachers at Glencairn and across the school district are educating students about life sciences in a fun, innovative way,” said Senator Stabenow. “It was great to see firsthand how STEMGenetics will help prepare our children for future success.” The STEMGenetics curriculum model is scalable, utilizing open-source, interactive learning technologies. Learn more about the Senator’s visit.


Photo courtesy of Jeff Seguin, Michigan State University College of Education.

Associate professor Michelle Williams (left) and Angela DeBarger watch as U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow learns about the STEMGenetics curriculum.

2014 Cyberlearning Summit

The 2014 Cyberlearning Summit, hosted by the NSF-funded Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning (CIRCL), will take place June 9-10 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Call for Participation and Speaker Nominations is now available. The summit will feature important advances in cyberlearning research that are ready to share with a broader audience. The premier summit held in January 2012 featuring talks on “big ideas” was highly recognized, and the archived videos of presentations continue to be widely used. Apply to attend and nominate speakers you think would represent the field of cyberlearning well.

SRI Education 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
SRI Education 333 Ravenswood Ave. Menlo Park, CA 94025

© 2014 SRI International

September 20, 2013

Research News from SRI Education: Technology in Learning Updates

From Monday’s inbox…

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SRI International - R&D for Government and Business

Research News from SRI Education: Technology in Learning Updates – September 2013

Funded: West Virginia Schools to Participate in Evaluation of Math Curriculum That Uses Technology to Increase Student Achievement

Read the EdSurge article “What Research Says About Game-Based Learning” on the SRI Project Research on Assessment in Games (GlassLab-Research)

Blog Post: How Can We Ensure K-12 Student Success in Online Algebra Courses?

Don’t miss our January Research Update Featuring Findings from the Evaluation of the Ready to Learn Initiative

Learn about recent results from our ongoing evaluation of the Ready to Learn Initiative (RTL). We will share what we have discovered about how public media materials can help low-income preschoolers develop key early mathematics skills.

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

Subscribe to the CTL NewsletterEmail:
Tablet Based Math Game

Developing Foundational Math Skills for Preschool Learners

SRI International is collaborating with EDC and WGBH on the Next Generation Preschool Math (NGPM) project. NGPM, which was recently highlighted in a New York Times article, is a four-year National Science Foundation-funded project to develop and evaluate tablet-based apps and nondigital activities, with integrated teacher professional development, to increase math learning for preschool children.

The project team recently completed two years of design and iteration, field-testing the materials in classrooms that serve primarily at-risk and underserved children. In a small-scale study, we found that postest scores were significantly higher than pretest scores on an age-appropriate test of mathematics. In the fall 2013 semester, we will conduct a controlled experiment to further investigate the effectiveness of the materials. Learn more about the project in a blog post and see a video describing the project.

Cover of the Supporting K-12 Students in Online Learning: A Review of Online Algebra I Courses

Research from SRI Offers Insights to Guide Online Algebra Course Development

A new report issued by SRI, Supporting K-12 Students in Online Learning: A Review of Online Algebra I Courses, informs both designers and purchasers of online courseware about the characteristics of online Algebra I courses available in the marketplace. The report draws attention to a pressing challenge: increasing the accessibility of online courses for at-risk and struggling students. Addressing this challenge will be important if online learning is to support the long-standing government priority of achieving equity in U.S. education. To help education providers successfully meet this challenge, the next phase of SRI research will identify which features of online learning systems are associated with improved student outcomes.

Understanding How Teachers Choose and Use Courseware

Much of the digital technology that children use in schools is purchased by districts. What would change if teachers had their own budgets for digital resources? With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,, and Digital Promise, we are exploring this question.

The Digital Courseware Teacher Wallets (DCTW) program will provide 300 K-8 teachers nationwide with up to $200 per student to purchase courseware of their choice in core content areas. Participating teachers, selected from four districts within the League of Innovative Schools, will make purchases through

SRI is studying the economics and classroom implementation of this initiative. Our objectives are to learn how teachers choose, explore the effectiveness of the direct-to-teacher model, and learn how teacher and school characteristics shape teachers’ choices and use of courseware.

© 2013 SRI International

SRI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute

July 2, 2013

June 2013 CTL Newsletter

Oddly enough, this comes from yesterday’s (i.e., 01 July’s) inbox…

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Center for Technology in Learning | Research Update | July 2013
Students working on tablet

Studying Blended Learning Models in the Classroom

CTL researchers are studying the early adoption of blended learning models by a variety of primary and secondary schools in California and New Orleans. Schools participating in these separate initiatives funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation are adopting “rotation” models of blended learning where students rotate between an online learning station and other instructional activities in the classroom or in a lab. Schools and teachers are continually refining their models of blended learning and their selection of online programs as new technologies and programs emerge and teachers observe firsthand how different students experience the blended learning and online instruction. So far, online programs are being used mostly for additional practice or enrichment and not as the primary source of instruction.

Given the rapid pace of refinement, research is necessarily at an early stage. Yet some findings are emerging. For example, administrators and teachers are asking for online programs that are not only adaptive, but also assignable so that teachers have greater control over the online content students work on and a better ability to align it with classroom instruction. Also, administrators and teachers need time to develop confidence in the validity of reports about students — and ways to integrate reports from different products on the same students. To a large extent, teachers are continuing to rely on their intuition and own assessments to judge student progress rather than on data from the online programs. As blended learning models and products mature, we expect findings to likewise evolve.

Stay tuned for the release of the official reports. Detailed research findings on both projects from the 2011-12 school year will be publicly disseminated later this summer. Findings from our research on the use of Khan Academy for the 2012-13 school year will be published in December 2013.

Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance—
Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century

What can practitioners, researchers, and policymakers in education do to support children and adolescents to strive for and achieve success in school and life in the face of 21st-century challenges? CTL, funded by the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, investigated this question in a new brief, Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance—Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century. It comes at an important and exciting time as research and practice in education, technology, psychology, and other fields point to a movement to incorporate these factors more prominently into educational priorities. Highlights include a framework to understand the research, a discussion of traditional and emerging approaches to measurement, a review of ways of promoting these factors in learning environments, and recommendations for practitioners, researchers, and policymakers. The role of technology is explored as an important theme. In sum, the report investigates the possibility that grit, tenacity, and perseverance are not just fixed traits but can be malleable and teachable, creating potential for new paths to increase success for all students. For an additional perspective, KQED distilled the report to a how-to guide for practitioners.

CTL’s Christopher Harris’s Article Selected by NSTA as “Research Worth Reading: Summer 2013″

Harris authored the article selected by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) from published articles in science education in 2012 as a contribution to improving the link between research and practice. The article, “Examining Teachers’ Instructional Moves Aimed at Developing Students’ Ideas and Questions in Learner-Centered Science Classrooms, “ will be shared with NSTA’s membership of over 55,000 K-20 teachers, faculty, and science supervisors. Harris wrote the article with Rachel Phillips of the University of Washington and William Penuel of the University of Colorado.

© 2013 SRI International

SRI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute

February 20, 2013

February 2013 CTL Research Update

From yesterday’s inbox…

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January 2013 CTL Newsletter Research Update
Cornerstone Mathematics Logo

Cornerstone Mathematics has a Successful Year in England

SRI International is collaborating with the London Knowledge Lab to expand the use of innovative technology-based mathematics materials in England. The program’s pilot year was successful: Teachers and students were overwhelmingly positive about the experience, and student learning gains matched those of prior studies in the U.S.

The project, Cornerstone Mathematics, leverages over 20 years of research. Cornerstone Mathematics replaces a small number of units with a set of “peak experiences” that provide a more engaging and meaningful way to interact with mathematics. The project began in summer 2011 with a grant from the Li Ka Shing Foundation. In the next two years, we will recruit 100 schools throughout England to participate in the project, develop additional modules to increase the breadth of student mathematics learning, and develop a technology platform to sustainably support large numbers of schools. The SRI team is also continuing to develop the materials to address the Common Core standards in the U.S. For more information, please visit

Denise Glyn Borders, Ed.D.,

Denise Glyn Borders to Lead SRI’s Education Division

Denise Glyn Borders, Ed.D., has joined SRI International as vice president of the Education Division, a multidisciplinary group of researchers focused on improving education, learning, and outcomes from early childhood through college and into the workforce. Borders will drive strategy and planning for SRI’s education research and develop business opportunities that help clients solve complex education challenges. Learn more about Borders’ new role.

Photo of Boy Tinkering

Tinkering and Making Tap in to Children’s Capabilities and Motivate Participation in STEM

Making, tinkering, and related approaches are increasingly seen as powerful ways to engage children in purposeful exploratory activities that tie to basic science and engineering principles. SRI researchers are working with the California Tinkering Network, led by the Exploratorium and funded by the Stephen D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, to evaluate the network’s efforts to create a sustainable, adaptable, and scalable model for providing educationally rich making opportunities to children attending afterschool and summer programs in low-income communities. SRI is also conducting a developmental evaluation of Intel’s new Start Making program, which is designing maker activities for attracting young people to science and engineering through maker fairs, community-based workshops, afterschool programs, and innovative school initiatives.

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

Latest News

Check out Louise Yarnall’s Café Scientifique video, Using Cognitive Science to Transform Assessment in College General Education. Yarnall discusses a study that involved prototyping a new assessment to track how well community college students are learning “big ideas” and applying these ideas to real-world problems.

With support from the U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Distributed Learning program, SRI artificial intelligence and learning scientists are developing PERLS, the Pervasive Learning System. Principal investigator Michael Freed and his team are designing an app that will sense nearby learning opportunities, alert you to them, and package learning materials into the digital formats that suit your lifestyle: a podcast for driving, a video for home, or augmented reality as you walk down the street.

Don’t Miss Our June Research Update Featuring Our Ongoing Khan Academy Evaluation!

Learn about first-year results from our ongoing study of the adoption of the Khan Academy in primary and secondary schools and classrooms in Northern California. We will share what we have learned about how schools and teachers are integrating Khan Academy into classrooms to support math instruction.

SRI International 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


SRI International 333 Ravenswood Ave. Menlo Park, CA 94025
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