High Tech Learning: Evidence-based Approaches
For more than 30 years, researchers have examined the use of technology in learning.
The roots of research-based strategies as based in quality education regardless of the technologies used.
Skim Focus on Effectiveness from NETC.
Read Inquiry, Imagination and Insight: Snapshots of Student Information Scientists at Work. Current research in teaching, learning, and technology provides insights into the changing needs of inquiring students and evolving roles of teacher librarians, technology coordinators, classroom teachers, and other instructional specialists as they collaborate to enrich the learning environment through a school-wide laboratory for information inquiry. This session will provide snapshots of what’s realistic, relevant, and practical as educators wade through the technology, resources, and research available to today’s young information scientists across the subject areas.
Skim Technology-Rich Learning and Evidence-based Practice from Teacher Tap.
Research on the Brain, Learning and Technology
Recently, research on educational theories such as learning styles have been under fire in articles like "Think You're An Auditory or Visual Learner? Scientists Say It's Unlikely". Educational research is pretty clear on some issues. For instance, the more you read, the better you get. It's a combination of motivation, practice, and time-on-task... not whether you're a "verbal" learner.
It's useful to think about how technology can enrich the educational experience by providing different perspectives or ways of thinking about the topic. In a particular situation, a photograph, piece or music, or reading might trigger a thought that would be lost without that specific experience. We've all had memories rush back when seeing a photograph or livened our mood with music. By being aware of different ways to thinking about communication (i.e., text, visual, auditory, movement) we can provide a wide net of opportunities for learners.
I like to mix up all the "learning styles" and think about ways that they might be useful in providing a well-rounded learning experience. For instance, people have preferences for concrete or abstract representations, they have different ways of perceiving (i.e., visual, verbal, kinesthetic), ways of processing information (i.e., active, reflective), and perspectives on the world (i.e., "the trees", "the forest). Rather than placing particular values on these approaches to learning, educators need to simply build environments that provide choices and opportunities that will motivate and engage learners.
Howard Gardner never claimed that his intelligences should be used for planning lessons. Instead, he wanted a way to stress that there's more to intelligence than scores on traditional text-based tests.
A central problem with educational research is that people oversimplify. They take one piece of research and try to generalize. A good example is using concept maps in the classroom. Research shows they can be a great tool. However, when you start delving into the specific students you'll find that some research focuses on using a concept map made by someone else, while other focus on making concept maps from new or existing information. Each of these factors makes a difference in the effectiveness of the tool.
There's still a lot we don't know about the mind.
Learners and Technology
Technology is a regular part of life for today's learner, so it's important to look for research that connects learning with technology. For instance, you can't talk about writing without thinking about the impact technology has on writing and the writing process. However some students feel that teachers limited their ability to use technology in schools. Explore the Generation YES Blog.
The National Literacy Trust (UK) has published findings from an online survey study of 3001 students, age 9-16, in England and Scotland. The report - Young People and Writing: Attitudes, Behaviour and the Role of Techonology explored gender and age differences and examined the link between socio-economic background (in terms of free school meals) and writing. The study also examined student's writing with respect to mobile phone ownership, having a blog and profile on a social networking site. Nearly half of the students thought writing was boring, but when tied to technology, attitudes generally improved and kids became more confident of their skills.
Skim Writing, Technology and Teens from Pew Interne (2008).
Skim the Horizon Reports.
National Plans and Standards
The National Education Technology Plan 2010 sets out the framework for technology use in education including learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure, and productivity. This plan has an impact on both K-12 and higher education institutions.
Skim Building Partnerships: Transforming Learning through Data-Driven Collaborations. Like panning for gold, the school library media specialist must collaborate with teachers and administrators to sift through tons of data to discover the "nuggets" that will address the needs of learners. This session focuses on strategies for building collaborative relationships and developing effective, evidence-based programs that increase student achievement.
Technology, Learning, and Libraries
Increasingly people of all ages are using the public library for Internet access. In many cases this access relates to learning connected to job changes, life skills and professional challenges. Seek out research to support the need for new programs related to learning and technology.
Skim The Internet and the Recession from Pew Internet (2009).
Skim School Librarians Lead the Social Networking Park Among Educators from School Library Journal (2009).
For lots of great articles related to evidence-based approaches and libraries, skim Evidence-based Library and Information Practice (Volume 4, Number 2, 2009).
Technology-Rich Learning: An Overview from Teacher Tap.
Technology and Teaching from PBS
Links to the materials in this section can be found in the navigation bar on the left side of this page. Continue to the High Tech Learning: Libraries, Librarians, & Web 2.0 page.