Thursday, April 28, 2011

The New 3 E’s of Education: Enabled, Engaged and Empowered

Here's another report on trends in educational technology. The New 3E's of Education: Enabled, Engaged and Empowered is from the US K-12 sector but it provides a glimpse of the kind of students who will be entering postsecondary. It also confirms some of the findings of the Horizon Report about key trends in postsecondary educational technology. Unlike most of the net gen hype, this report is based on a very large data set and it provide details of the methodology used (see below).

The report argues there are three trends that educational planners need to take into account when framing educational policy: mobile learning, online and blended learning, and e-textbooks which lead to the need for the three E's of Education:
    •    Enabling access to resources and experts beyond the local environment,
    •    Engaging students to develop problem solving, creativity and critical thinking skills, and
    •    Empowering learners to take responsibility for their learning.
According the survey, students own cell phones, mobile phones, MP3 players, e-textbooks and use social networking sites on a regular basis, 'Students are already very effectively implementing this [vision] of socially-based, un-tethered and digitally-rich learning on their own, in and out of school, with or without the assistance and support of their teachers and schools' (p. 3).

Notes on Methdology
"In fall 2010, Project Tomorrow surveyed 294,399 K-12 students, 42,267 parents, 35,525 teachers, 2,125 librarians, 3,578 school/district administrators and 1,391 technology leaders representing 6,541 public and private schools from 1,340 districts. Schools from urban (34 percent), suburban (29 percent) and rural (37 percent) communities are represented. Over one-half of the schools that participated in Speak Up 2010 are Title I eligible (an indicator of student population poverty) and 34 percent have more than 50 percent minority population attending. The Speak Up 2010 surveys were available online for input between October 18, 2010 and January 21st, 2011.

The data results are a convenience sample; schools and districts self-select to participate and facilitate the survey-taking process for their students, educators and parents. Any school or school district in the United States is eligible to participate in Speak Up. In preparation for data analysis, the survey results are matched with school level demographic information, such as Title I, school locale (urban, rural and suburban), and ethnicity selected from the Core of Common Data compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics ( The data is analyzed using standard cross-tab analysis and key variables (such as internet and device access) are tested for statistical significance.
To minimize bias in the survey results, Project Tomorrow conducts significant outreach to ensure adequate regional, socio-economic and racial/ethnic/cultural distribution. To participate in Speak Up, organizations register to participate, promote the survey to their constituents and schedule time for their stakeholders to take the 15 to 20 minute online survey. Starting in February 2011, all participating organizations receive free, online access to their data with comparative national benchmarks. Staff from Project Tomorrow summarize, analyze, and verify the national data through a series of focus groups and interviews with representative groups of students, educators and parents."
(pp. 3-4)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Scholary Publishing Process Finally Catches Up

We finished writing this article back in December 2009. Fifteen months later it has finally been published in the Canadian Journal of Learning Technology. We released a pre-publication version several months ago so if you read that, there is nothing new here. For the record, here is the publication version of Digital Learners in Higher Education: Generation is Not the Issue.

Generation is often used to explain and rationalize the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in higher education. However, a comprehensive review of the research and popular literature on the topic and an empirical study at one postsecondary institution in Canada suggest there are no meaningful generational differences in how learners say they use ICTs or their perceived behavioural characteristics. The study also concluded that the post-secondary students at the institution in question use a limited set of ICTs and their use is driven by three key issues: familiarity, cost, and immediacy. The findings are based on focus group interviews with 69 students and survey responses from a random sample of 438 second year students in 14 different programs in five schools in the institution. The results of this investigation add to a growing body of research that questions the popular view that generation can be used to explain the use of ICTs in higher education.