Sunday, May 26, 2013

iPads Pre-service teachers and Technology Integration

We are now summarizing our first (funded) year of Tech EDGE- Educating in Digital and Global Environments. The premise for Tech EDGE was to create a new generation of teachers for the 21st century by combining professional development for Teacher Education faculty, cooperating teachers and preservice teachers while providing access to devices in our case iPads.

While we have a lot of data about different aspects of the projects I would like to start by sharing the results of a Technology Pedagogical Content Knowledge instrument that Angie Wassenmiller created two years ago. The results for the preservice teachers stunned me- so much that I had to check it multiple times. The chart shows the difference between the cohort graduating in 2011 and the cohort graduating in 2013. The average difference is an effect size of more than 2 standard deviations (presented as the error bars). This is a huge difference far outstripping what we initially expected.

I do not claim that the project is the sole reason for this change, in effect I believe that the project accelerated many processes that were already operating and gave substance and direction to the efforts of many individual teachers, teacher educators and preservice teachers. Part of the success was our ability to move all elements of our program including practicum. Another part was the integration of iPads. iPads were most visible in our Reading Center where all preservice teachers were able to use them intensively. I would argue that the devices do matter- and they make integration much more effective and impactful.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Quick Note On Declaring Disruption

Last week we had a Technology conference on campus. The keynote speaker was talking about MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses). I don't mind the discussion of change or the relevance of thinking through options. What I do mind is the declaration of disruption. I believe that we should not declare a disruption before it actually happened. It could very well be that in 10 or 20 years we will look back and be able to point to the MOOC as a disruptive practice. But right now I would argue that it is too soon.
In a way the declaring disruption is analogous in my mind to the media declaring William and Kate's wedding the "Wedding of the Century" just as the century began. Really? are you predicting no other celebrity wedding for almost a 100 years? Of course not. The same goes for disruption. Don't call it until there is some evidence. The point is- change is important, evolve, innovate, try new things- but please call it disruption only after you gain perspective.
Do, don't just PR.

Monday, May 13, 2013

E Readers and Young Students

At AERA I went to a superb session about the impact of e readers on young students engagement, vocabulary and reading success. The results were very positive. They are even more encouraging since tablets and other mobile devices have been making their way into a majority of homes.
Unique among all of it was the leadership of Kathy Roskos.
In her presentation she concluded:
Results show the impact of device on key multisensory behaviors of children’s engagement with ebooks. In general, mobiles appear to afford more looking and touching but less moving and gesturing than the desktop; none of the devices favored listening. Given the increasing role of haptic perception in digital reading, access to mobile devices may favor behaviors that nurture literacy motivation and participation, especially for less attentive children, and support ongoing engagement with ebooks for all children.

Here is the section description:
The surge in ebooks on a wide range of e-devices (whiteboards; touchscreens; mobiles) has dramatically increased their appeal as an option for shared reading with young children, although research evidence as to their impact on early literacy experience remains slim. This symposium contributes to the knowledge base on ebook reading in early childhood and lays the groundwork for further research that examines ebooks in the learn-to-read process in informal and classroom settings. Papers examine book vs ebook differences in parent-child reading, highlighting benefits and drawbacks; describe the technical adequacy/usability of an ebook quality rating tool; examine differences in device on engagement with ebooks; and report effects of temporal contiguity of picture/print in digital reading on vocabulary learning.
Research is emerging and soon we will be able to add to it. The greta thing is that the research produced is nuanced finding that some e books are better than others. We can actually identify the elements of good ebooks for young children including:

1. Limited interactivity (to not distract from the text too much)

2. Interactivity that is there should focus on main story features and relevant vocabulary

3. Device matters with increased engagement with truly mobile devices

4. E books can change the interaction between adult and child in dialogic reading and so requires a somewhat different training for adults.