Bridging Professional Development Helps Teachers Support Students’ Mathematical Argumentation
CTL’s Bridging Professional Development program has shown that middle school math teachers can become “disciplined improvisers” in their classrooms, by using specialized skills that put the practice of mathematical argumentation within reach of their students.
In a new project that builds on the Bridging findings, CTL researchers will design and study professional development that incorporates mobile technology tools to enhance teachers’ learning and their ability to support argumentation throughout their curriculum. “The practices of planning and improvisation are essential to teaching for argumentation, and our new tools will help teachers as they learn them in face-to-face workshops and in their daily work,” says principal investigator Jennifer Knudsen. Leaders and teachers from District of Columbia Public Schools are co-designers on the project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation.
New CTL Book Synthesizes Research in Online and Blended Learning
Learning Online, by CTL researchers Barbara Means, Marianne Bakia, and Robert Murphy, was released in hard and soft cover as well as e-book form by Routledge last spring. Means explains the motivation behind writing the book: “There is so much activity and a lot of uncertainty and confusion in the online and blended learning space right now, and CTL has done many different important projects looking at implementation as well as impacts. This was an opportunity to put the pieces together and reflect on everything we’ve learned.”
Learning Online is unusual in that it synthesizes research on online and blended learning in informal out-of-school settings as well as in professional training and K-12 and higher education. The authors predict that fully online learning approaches are likely to experience their greatest growth outside mainstream education institutions while blended learning will grow rapidly within those institutions. They argue that although online learning can be justified on the basis of expanded access or reduced costs, its greatest potential lies in providing new kinds of learning experiences, designed using insights from learning science research and data analytics. Learn more or order your own copy.
Two New Reports on the Use of Blended Learning Models in K-12 Schools
The use of digital instructional resources and tools in the classrooms is here to stay. As more and more digital resources become available and as access to devices and broadband Internet improves, teachers are mixing teacher-directed instructional activities and digital resources to enhance and differentiate their instruction. CTL is involved in projects to help foundations, developers, schools, and teachers understand the benefits of and opportunities for refinement in the blended instructional models they are supporting, building, and adopting.
CTL researchers recently released two reports, one on the use of Khan Academy in 20 schools in California and another on the use of a variety of blended instruction models by five leading charter management organizations in schools in California and Louisiana. These reports detail how blended learning is being adopted to support the instructional visions of the participating schools and teachers, the benefits and challenges they faced, and the research that is needed to better support and understand effective adoption of blended learning in K-12 learning environments.
Coming this September
Innovative Research on Preschool Science and Mathematics Learning and Teaching
CTL researchers, with partners at EDC’s Center for Children and Technology and WGBH, are conducting innovative research on preschool science and mathematics learning and teaching. In the next issue, we’ll have findings from our Next Generation Preschool Mathematics study and describe ongoing work on Next Generation Preschool Science.
Developing Assessments of Student Learning in Computer Science and Computational Thinking
CTL researchers Eric Snow and Marie Bienkowski are conducting an important outreach activity in July at the Computer Science Teacher’s Association (CSTA) 2014 Conference. At the CSTA conference, Eric and Marie will be working with computer science educators to help them better understand evidence-based practices for designing and developing assessments that can be used to measure student learning in computer science. SRI Education work in computer science assessment is expected to continue under NSF funding to design and develop web-based versions of assessments developed in the PACT project and to leverage these assessments in a large-scale implementation study of the Exploring Computer Science curriculum. Learn more in our next newsletter.