Conradi, K., Jang, B.G., Lawrence, C., Craft, A., & McKenna, M. C. (2013). Measuring adolescents’ attitudes toward reading: A classroom survey. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 56, 565-576.
Listen to Dr. Conradi discuss the research on a podcast here: http://www.reading.org/downloads/podcasts/jaal-56-7-KristinConradi.mp3
North Carolina State University
This mixed methods study examined the flow experience of 5th graders in the Crystal Island game-based science learning environment. Participants were 73 5th graders from a suburban public school in the southeastern US. Quantitative data about students’ science content learning outcomes and changes in attitudes towards science was collected via pre-and post surveys/tests. Quantitative and qualitative data about students’ game flow experience was collected using an adapted game flow scale and focus group interviews.
The findings demonstrated that students had high flow experience in the game; however, there were no flow experience differences that were contingent upon gameplay conditions. The results revealed factors that impacted students’ flow experience, including key game design features and student individual differences such as reading proficiency and peer interaction during gameplay. Students made significant content learning gains, but their attitude towards science did not change as a result of gameplay. Flow experience was not found to be a predictor of science learning gains. The results make contributions to the understanding of the effectiveness of game-based learning and the application of flow theory with elementary school students in a game context. Results also have implications for educational game design.
Full paper will be available for download soon.
Note: Crystal Island is an NSF-funded interdisciplinary research project (Grant DRL-0822200).
PI: James Lester
Co-PIs: Hiller A. Spires, John Nietfield, & James Minogue»
David Hicks, Stephanie van Hover, Elizabeth Yeager Washington, & John K. Lee
Hicks, D. van Hover, S., Washington, E. L., & Lee, J. K. (2011). Internet literacies for active citizenship and democratic life: In search of the intersection. In W. B. Russell (Ed.). Contemporary social studies: An essential reader (pp. 467-491 ). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
In this exploration of new literacies theory, we examine how literacies can support active citizenship and democratic life.
“In his 2001 book Oversold and Underused: Computers in the Classroom, Larry Cuban asserted that minimal evidence existed to show that teachers and students were using technology specifically to “create better communities and build strong citizens” (p. 197). A decade later Cuban’s comments and concerns continue to resonate and raise important questions for those interested in citizenship education in the 21st century. That is, with the rapid proliferation of so many creative, engaging digital technological innovations, is the relationship between digital technologies and democratic citizenship education any less opaque? Do these new Web 2.0 technologies require different ways of thinking and talking about 21st century citizenship education? And to what extent is it possible to connect ideas of 21st century digital literacy to understandings of educating for active democratic citizenship? In this paper, we use these questions as initiating points through which to map the complex relationship between Web 2.0 technologies, literacy in the digital age, and learning for active citizenship. Heeding Shulman’s (2007) observation that “the work of both scholarship and practice progresses as a consequence of dialogue, debate, and exchange” (p. 1), we seek to initiate a generative dialogue, informed by transdisciplinary scholarship, about current understandings and descriptions of 21st century digital literacy, and the extent to which such technology ascribed literacy practices can be used to promote “active” citizenship.”
Download a complete version of this chapter here.»
Hiller A. Spires, Lisa G. Hervey, Gwynn Morris, & Catherine Stelpflug
Spires, H., Hervey, L., Morris, G., & Stelpflug, C. (2012). Energizing project-based inquiry: Middle-grade students read, write, and create videos. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 55 (6), 483-493. doi: 10. 1002/JAAL0058
In this theory-into-practice article, we reported on a project-based inquiry process that involved 8th grade students reading, writing, and producing videos to create new knowledge and understandings with content.
In today’s media-rich society, a new generation of students embrace video as an important mode of communication and learning. As a result teachers can use video creation as an innovative way to engage students in learning across the curriculum. By merging the pedagogies of multimodal representation such as video creation with project-based inquiry, teachers have an especially powerful combination for engaging students in content learning. Digital video products provide students with unique opportunities to showcase their newly constructed knowledge in a manner that demonstrates their unique points of view on a topic of interest.
The project-based inquiry process uses students’ interest in grassroots video and marries that interest with educational content that is aligned with state and national standards. Students worked in collaborative dyads both in and out of class to create a 5-minutes video as a final product or learning. The phases in the process are: 1) Ask a compelling question; 2) Gather and analyze information; 3) Creatively synthesize information; 4) Critically evaluate and revise; and 5) Publish, share and act. The project took place over a 6-week period Twice a week during class, we provided mini-lessons that aligned with the 5-phase inquiry process. To ensure high quality of student learning and products, in addition to ongoing teacher scaffolding during the project-based inquiry process, students engaged in a 3-level evaluation process: self-evaluation, peer evaluation, and outside expert evaluation. Students published and shared their final videos by making face-to-face presentations with class members and by posting their videos online for a larger viewing community.
Our classroom observations and student feedback revealed that the students enjoyed the digital video production project and were highly engaged throughout the inquiry process. Despite the success of the project, we encountered some pedagogical complexities and challenges. First, we need to strike a balance between student creativity and appropriateness of content and style. Second, we need to provide the appropriate level of scaffolding for students as they are engaged in various complex tasks within the inquiry process. Third, we need to diversify the choice of video-editing tools by expanding the tools from traditional video editing tools such as Movie Maker and iMovie to include web 2.0 tools such as Animoto and Photo Story.
We will address these challenges as we move to the next step of conducting classroom-based research in which we will create multiple case studies to illustrate the cognitive and social processes that are in play as students delve into project-based inquiry and video production. We are particularly interested in how struggling readers take advantage of a multimodal inquiry process as they learn content.
To read the full paper, please click here.»
McKenna, M. C., Conradi, K., Lawrence, C., Jang, B. G., & Meyer, J. P.
McKenna, M. C., Conradi, K., Lawrence, C., Jang, B. G., & Meyer, J. P. (in press). Reading attitudes of middle school students: Results of a U.S. survey. Reading Research Quarterly.
This study was inspired by two trends: first, as students move from elementary to middle school, their motivation for reading is largely on the decline. Second, how students are reading has changed a great deal in the last decade, with a shift away from a strictly traditional print setting and into more hybrid and digital settings. In this study, we investigate middle school students’ attitudes towards reading in both traditional print and digital settings and for both academic and recreational purposes.
In order to examine the current state of reading attitudes among middle school students in the United States, a survey was developed and administered to 4,491 students in 23 states plus the District of Columbia. The instrument comprised four subscales measuring attitudes toward: recreational reading in print settings, recreational reading in digital settings, academic reading in print settings, and academic reading in digital settings. Factor analysis confirmed the factor structure corresponding to the four sub scales, and reliability coefficients for these subscales ranged from .78 to .86. Correlations among the subscales varied considerably, due largely to the recreational digital subscale. Analyses of variance subsequently confirmed a pattern for the recreational digital subscale that differed from that of the others. For academic digital, recreational print, and academic print, the attitudes of females were more positive than those of males; however, for attitudes toward recreational reading in digital settings, the pattern was reversed. In addition, results for three of the subscales showed a gradual worsening of attitudes from 6th to 8th grade. The exception was academic print, for which attitudes did not differ by grade. No interactions were observed between grade and gender for any of the subscales. Results are discussed in the context of attitude theory and the rapid evolution of digital literacy and its social uses by adolescents.»
Hiller Spires, John Rowe, Brad Mott, & James Lester
North Carolina State University
Spires, H., Rowe, J.P., Mott, B.W., & Lester, J.C. (2011). Problem solving and game-based learning: Effects of middle grade students’ hypothesis testing strategies on science learning outcomes. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 44 (4), 445-464.
Problem solving is central to game-based learning research. In this study, middle grade students achieved significant learning gains from gameplay interactions that required solving a science mystery based on microbiology content. Student trace data results indicated that effective exploration and navigation of the hypothesis space within a problem-solving task was predictive of student learning and in-game performance. Students who selected a higher proportion of inappropriate hypotheses demonstrated smaller learning gains and completed fewer in-game goals. Although there was no relationship observed between providing correct explanations for hypothesis selections and learning gains, students providing incorrect explanations completed fewer goals within the game. Finally, there was no significant gender effect observed on the relationship between hypothesis testing strategies and learning or in-game performance. Hypothesis testing strategies play a central role in narrative-centered learning environments, demonstrating their connections to learning gains and problem solving in gameplay.
To read the full article, please click here.
North Carolina State University
For this blog posting, I want to share some information about how collaborative video data analysis can be a tool for expanding research possibilities. As technology advances, our way of documenting, analyzing, and conceptualizing learning is expanding in so many ways. There are many new computer programs, technology tools, and web applications that have the potential to increase the way that educators engage in classroom research.»
North Carolina State University
Manfra, M.M., Gray, G.E., & Lee, J.K. (2010). Blogging to learn: Educational blogs and U.S. history. Social Education, 74(2), pp. 111-113, 116.
Manfra, M.M., & Lee, J. K. (2011). Leveraging the affordances of educational blogs to teach low achieving students United States history. Social Studies Research and Practice 6(2), 95-105.
Manfra, M.M., & Lee, J.K. (in press). “You have to know the past to [blog] the present”: Using an educational blog to engage students in U.S. history. Computers in the Schools.
I recently wrapped up two rounds of a research study and a series of articles in collaboration with John Lee that focused on the integration of an educational blog as the primary instructional tool in a high school U.S. history classroom. It was apparent to me that the teachers I worked with in professional development workshops or met at professional conferences often reserved creative and engaging uses of technology for their brightest students. Lower level students would have few opportunities to use technology for anything more than skill acquisition or basic Internet research. This digital divide seemed wrong-headed from both a social justice and pedagogical perspective. Read more…»
North Carolina State University
Amendum, S. J., Vernon-Feagans, L., & Ginsberg, M. C. (2011). The effectiveness of a technologically-facilitated classroom-based early reading intervention: The Targeted Reading Intervention. Elementary School Journal, 112, 107-131.
This research brief summarizes a study which evaluated the efficacy of a classroom-teacher-delivered reading intervention for struggling readers called the Targeted Reading Intervention (TRI), designed principally for kindergarten and first-grade teachers and their struggling students in rural, low-wealth communities. The TRI was delivered to schools and teachers via an innovative Web-conferencing system using laptop computers and webcam technology in each classroom.
Researchers have acknowledged that children who struggle with reading acquisition in early elementary school tend to fall behind their counterparts in reading and other academic areas without intervention (Alexander & Entwisle, 1988; Foorman & Torgesen, 2001) and many are likely to remain behind their peers as they progress through their schooling (cf. Juel, 1988). Researchers and practitioners generally agree that early intervention is critical for children who are struggling with reading acquisition and do not seem to benefit from traditional classroom instruction (e.g., Clay, 1993; Morris, Tyner, & Perney, 2000). Although struggling students may demonstrate reading improvement when provided intervention through one-to-one tutoring by reading specialists, paraeducators, or volunteers (Elbaum, Vaughn, Hughes, & Moody, 2000), this tutoring instruction often takes place outside of the regular education classroom. Such pull-out models can present difficulties for instructional continuity between the regular education classroom and the intervention setting, and may also limit the classroom teacher’s opportunities to take on additional reading instructional opportunities with students who have the greatest reading instructional needs.
Teachers from poor rural areas are often geographically isolated and therefore less likely to have access to enhanced professional development and instructional practice (Government Accountability Office, 2004). However, rural communities provide a strong base for successful educational programs because of the more stable, supportive, and safe home/neighborhood environments that promote development (Vernon-Feagans, Gallagher, & Kainz, 2009). By capitalizing on the strengths of rural communities, successful, cost-effective educational interventions can encourage educational achievement for struggling learners. One important possibility for overcoming contextual barriers is to provide professional development at low cost through educational technology, such as the TRI where laptop computers and webcams were used in the regular classroom for distance coaching from remote, highly-qualified literacy coaches.
Design & Results
Seven schools from the southwestern United States were randomly assigned to experimental and control conditions in a cluster randomized design. All children in the study (n = 364) were administered a battery of standardized reading skill tests in the fall and spring of the school year. Intent-to-treat analyses were conducted to estimate mixed models of children’s 1-year growth in Word Attack, Letter/Word Identification, Passage Comprehension, and Spelling of Sounds. Results showed that struggling readers from experimental schools outperformed those from control schools on all spring reading outcomes, controlling for fall scores.
Discussion & Implications
The results from this study support previous work that suggested struggling readers in early elementary school can be supported by specific focused interventions. A considerable amount of research, funding, and instructional time has been devoted to creating and implementing such early reading interventions for students who need them (e.g., Clay, 1993; Morris, et al., 2000). Results from the study also show that the TRI can help students who are in high-need, isolated rural areas where children often have low-income backgrounds and teachers often have less access to traditional professional development. Finally, this study is among the first to demonstrate that professional development and one-on-one literacy coaching can effectively be delivered via webcam technology in schools.
Alexander, K. L., & Entwisle, D. R. (1988). Achievement in the first two years of school: Patterns and processes. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 53, 1-157.
Clay, M. M. (1993). Reading Recovery: A guidebook for teachers in training. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Elbaum, B., Vaughn, S., Hughes, M. T., & Moody, S. W. (2000). How effective are one-to-one tutoring programs in reading for elementary students at risk for reading failure? A meta-analysis of the intervention research. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 605-619.
Foorman, B. R., & Torgesen, J. (2001). Critical elements of classroom and small-group instruction promote reading success in all children. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 16, 202-211.
Government Accountability Office. (2004). No Child Left Behind Act: Additional assistance and research on effective strategies would help small rural districts (Report GAO-04-909). Washington D. C.: Government Accountability Office.
Juel, C. (1988). Learning to read and write: A longitudinal study of 54 children from first through fourth grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80, 437-447.
Morris, D., Tyner, B., & Perney, J. (2000). Early Steps: Replicating the effects of a first-grade reading intervention program. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 681-693.
Vernon-Feagans, L., Gallagher, K., & Kainz, K. (2009). Early school transition of rural poor children. In J. Meece & J. Eccles (Eds.), Handbook of research on schools, schooling and human development. New York: Routledge.
Kristin Conradi, North Carolina State University
Ruday, S., Conradi, K., Heny, N., & Lovette, G. (in progress). “I can’t put the genie back in the bottle”: An examination of secondary teachers’ beliefs about digital literacies.
Whether or not we’re comfortable with–or have fully embraced–technology’s place in the English classroom, it is here to stay. At present, 100% of American public schools have at least one instructional computer with internet access (Gray & Lewis, 2009) and 93% of adolescents regularly engage in digital literacies (PEW report, 2009). Indeed, integrating digital literacies in the classroom is in keeping with suggestions to weave students’ interests, popular culture, and out-of-school literacies into our classroom instruction (e.g., Alvermann, Hagood, & Moon, 1999; McGill-Franzen & Botzakis, 2009; Moore, Bean, Birdyshaw, & Rycik, 1999; Worthy, Moorman, & Turner, 1999). Further, calls to engage our students with digital text come from national organizations’ standards such as the National Council for the Teachers of English (NCTE), the International Reading Association (IRA), and the Common Core Standards. Read more…»