DERN provides a weekly review of important educational ICT research with links to research about schools, training and higher education. Research reviews focus on issues and trends that impact on the use of ICT in education.
The accessibility and flexibility of fully online courses in higher education is well-accepted, and well-researched. While in school education there have been pockets of fully online delivery - usually limited to students unable to attend school due to distance - online and distance education providers are increasingly accommodating students who do not attend school for social, medical, religious or philosophical reasons. At the same time schools and education systems are considering the economic and educational benefits of online delivery when that allows for rationalisation of teaching loads or broadening student subject choices. Thus it is timely to consider research by Rehn, Maor and McConney (2016) examining high school courses delivered by synchronous videoconference. To what extent do high school students experience 'teacher presence' in this mode of learning?
While previous studies of internet use amongst adolescents have looked at factors such as well-being, depression and social isolation, in this analysis of the Programme for International Assessment (PISA) 2012 data Associate Professor Alberto Posso from RMIT University focussed on how internet use affects educational outcomes. Using the PISA survey questions, the study reviewed educational outcomes and three types of internet use among 15 year olds who:
Feedback consistently rates as an important and effective strategy in learning. Providing the right feedback at the right time to the right learner presents a real challenge for teachers in a classroom situation. Research into how learners process feedback by Timms, DeVelle and Lay (2016) is timely. Their interest in how participants (13-14 years old) respond to different types of feedback after correct and incorrect responses while using an online system provides an in-depth consideration of what is involved in receiving feedback.
In the fast evolving digital landscape, students are significant consumers of social media. They use social media for a variety of purposes, however many schools do not consider social media an appropriate or useful educational platform. Are there literacy benefits in using social media? What do teachers think about the use and benefits (if any) of social media? A US interpretive study sets out to understand how teachers’ perceptions may impact how digital literacy practices are considered and used within their classrooms.
Research informs us that massive open online courses (MOOCs) are predominantly providing free education to educated professionals rather than the disadvantaged and poor. It is reasonable to expect that MOOCs could be effective in delivering large-scale teacher professional development. Are MOOCs pedagogically sound to deliver large-scale collaborative learning? A UK paper documents the results of an investigation into the use of a MOOC for continuing professional development carried out in collaboration with the UNESCO Institute for IT in Education.
Technology and in particular social media platforms provide an impetus for participatory learning. Twitter is being used by educators for various activities. A U.S. study explores the use of Twitter by social studies educators. It aims to answer how and why social studies educators use Twitter.
Research into students’ digital literacy has focused mainly in the early and middle years. Far less is known about high school students’ literacy levels and even less about rural students. A Canadian study sets out to explore the use of digital literacy of rural high school students and uncover the use of technology in and outside school with the aim of providing teachers and administrators with useful information to improve the students’ learning experiences.
The end of Australian government funding to schools for the provision of laptops for students has forced schools to find alternatives to ensure student access to digital devices. A small Australian study explores the extent of 1-to-1 learning and specifically BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) implementation in Victorian secondary schools and seeks to ascertain what information is communicated to parents and the school community.
Should parents be concerned about the amount of time pre-schoolers spend on screen-based devices? Are they harming their development? Is it leading to anti-social behaviour? An Australian study provides a snapshot of the digital environment of Australian families by asking: how many digital devices families had at home, how much time pre-schoolers spent on them, how easily children could use them and what digital devices were parents using. This is further analysed in relation to Australian Government’s screen time recommendations designed to guide and foster positive pre-schooler use of digital technology.
Flipped learning or flipped classroom have become popular ideas in post-primary education. The use of digital tools such as video resources can offer instruction on new concepts outside of the classroom. Thus, class time can be used in problem solving and assisting students who encounter difficulties in understanding new work. A small qualitative study, by the National Foundation for Educational Research and Nesta, explored what effect a flipped learning approach has on teaching and learning in secondary and middle school mathematics.
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