[Technology 1060] Re: findings on evidence of improvement of literacy and languag

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Marian Thacher mthacher at otan.us
Thu Jun 14 16:19:21 EDT 2007

Hi Heidi,

I'm heartened to hear that there is some research validating the use of
computer-based or online supplemental materials have a positive effect on
learning gains. The headline article in eSchool News today is about ed
tech leading to learning gains in 9 states, http://tinyurl.com/36kpcg

However, a few weeks ago that federal study was released by the US Dept of
Ed showing that instructional software didn't improve learning (for K12,
of course), http://tinyurl.com/327rxb. That study leaves a lot of
questions unanswered, but it does make me wonder whether the goal should
be to show increased learning gains. I know that's considered the gold
ring, but maybe, as Tina said, providing technology skills and access as
additional learning tools is the goal, as part of literacy in its current

Marian Thacher, OTAN
P.O. Box 269003
Sacramento, CA 95826-9003
(916) 228-2597
The Technology and Literacy Discussion List <technology at nifl.gov> on
Wednesday, June 13, 2007 at 6:32 AM -0800 wrote:

>Hello everyone - here is another chunk of my data to share for member

>checking with you. Does this resonate? Can you share an example that

>confirms or challenges these findings?


>**My key question to the group is: What has been your experience with

>the lowest skilled students?


>Thanks! Heidi Silver-Pacuilla




>To recap, I am posting preliminary findings (and not my full methodology

>or bibliography since both are currently incomplete) from the published

>and posted literature on adult online literacy and language learning. I

>hope you find them validating or provocative (or both!) and can join in

>a lively discussion of what's actually happening in your school or



>This is the second of the three main areas I am sharing with the

>listserv: program implementation issues, evidence of improvements of

>basic literacy and language skills, and student skills and dispositions

>associated with successful technology-based and online learning.


>Here are some key findings from the review of studies reporting evidence

>of improvement of basic literacy and language skills:


>There is growing evidence that adult learners' work with computer-based

>or online materials that are supplemental to adult literacy and ESOL

>classes contributes positively to their overall literacy and language

>acquisition plus complementary learning skills. The evaluations

>reviewed were of supplemental materials available to students with some

>type of program support (on-site trained teacher or support person,

>support person available online, tech support available through the

>program, and/or automated feedback system in the program) and varying

>degrees of integration with the regular class curriculum.


>Importantly, the supplemental materials and online interfaces were

>either uniquely developed or chosen for adult literacy and language

>learners. Programs have documented successful use of these materials

>with all levels of students, including those with the lowest levels of

>literacy and English proficiency.


>Quantifying specific academic skills achievement is difficult to

>pinpoint, but several significant studies report learning gains

>attributable to the supplemental use of technology in instruction and

>practice. It must be acknowledged that there is still no "body of

>evidence" with repeated and comparable studies that can definitely

>answer questions about particular interventions used with particular

>literacy or language levels with predictable results.


>How do these findings correlate with your experience and knowledge?


>National Institute for Literacy

>Technology and Literacy mailing list

>Technology at nifl.gov

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>Email delivered to mthacher at otan.us

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