Tuesday, August 13, 2013


If mentors have mobile devices and their mentees do not, mentors can still use them to teach or explore occasionally.  Even utilizing digital technology in a library--school, college or public--has merit. 

Oklahoma City University's Intergenerational Computer Center (ICC) could be replicated through grants in many communities, and its serving the entire community is priceless. 'A follow-up on that model soon.  

Relating to the second report summary:  
To use effectively digital technology in the classroom, Cindi Hemm, former principal of Tulsa's inner-city school, Eugene Field Elementary, developed a system clear to students and teachers. "Red" days, no use; "yellow" days, limited use; and "green" days, full use.  


The Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing and How Writing is Taught in Schools

by Kristen Purcell, Judy Buchanan, Linda Friedrich 

July 16, 2013


A survey of teachers who instruct American middle and high school students finds that digital technologies are impacting student writing in myriad ways, and there are signicant advantages from tech-based learning. 

Some 78% of the 2,462 advanced placement (AP) and National Writing Project (NWP) teachers surveyed by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project say digital tools such as the internet, social media, and cell phones "encourage student creativity and personal expression." In addition:
  • 96% agree digital technologies "allow students to share their work with a wider and more varied audience"

  • 79% agree that these tools "encourage greater collaboration among students"
According to teachers, students' exposure to a broader audience for their work and more feedback from peers encourages greater student investment in what they write and in the writing process as a whole.

At the same time, these teachers give their students modest marks when it comes to writing and highlight some areas needing attention.  Asked to assess their students' performance on nine specific writing skills, teachers tended to rate their students "good" or "fair" as opposed to "excellent" or "very good." Students received the best ratings on their abiltiy to "effectively organize and structure writing assignments" and their ability to "understand and consider multiple viewpoints on a particular topic or issue." Teachers gave students the lowest ratings when it comes to "navigating issues of fair use and copyright in composition" and "reading and digesting long or complicated texts."  

View or download the full report as well as read related reports.


How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms  

by Kristen Purcell, Alan Heaps, Judy Buchanan, Linda Friedrich                              

February 28, 2013


A survey of teachers who instruct American middle and secondary school students finds that digital technologies have become central to their teaching and professionalization.  At the same time, the internet, mobile phones, and social media have brought new challenges to teachers, and they report striking differences in access to the latest digital technologies between lower and higher income students and school districts. 

Asked about the impact of the internet and digital tools in their role as middle and high school educators, these teachers say the following about the overall impact on their teaching and their classroom work: 

  • 92% of these teachers say the internet has a "major impact" on their abiltiy to access content, resources, and materials for their teaching 

  • 69% say the internet has a "major impact" on their ability to share ideas with other teachers

  • 67% say the internet has a "major impact" on their abiltiy to interact with parents, and 57% say it has had such an impact on enabling their interaction with students 
The survey finds that digital tools are widely used in classrooms and assignments, and a majority of these teachers are satisfied with the support and resources they receive from their school in this area. However, it also indicates that teachers of the lowest income students face more challenges in bringing these tools to their classrooms: 
  • Mobile technology has become central to the learning process, with 73% of AP and NWP teachers saying that they and/or their students use their cell phones in the classroom or to complete assignments

  • More than four in ten teachers report the use of e-readers (45%) and tablet computers (43%) in their classrooms or to complete assignments

  • 62% say their school does a "good job" supporting teachers' efforts to bring digital tools into the learning process, and 68% say their shcool provides formal training in this area

  • Teachers of low income students, however, are much less likely than teachers of the highest income students to use tablet computers (37% v. 56%) or e-readers (41% v. 55%) in their classrooms and assignments

  • Similarly, just over half (52%) of teachers of upper and upper-middle income students say their students use cell phones to look up information in class, compared with 35% of teachers of the lowest income students 

  • Just 15% of AP and NWP teachers whose students are from upper income households say their school is "behind the curve" in effectively using digital tools in the learning process; 39% who teach students from low income households describe their school as "behind the curve"

  • 70% of teachers of the highest income students say their school does a "good job" providing the resources needed to bring digital tools into the classroom; the same is true of 50% of teachers working in low income areas

  • Teachers of the lowest income students are more than twice as likely as teachers of the highest income students (56% v. 21%) to say that students' lack of access to digital technologies is a "major challenge" to incorporating more digital tools into their teaching

View or download the full report as well as read related reports.

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