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Knowledge From the Field: Digital Learning

Research Highlights

Identify research that can inform your grantmaking using summaries prepared by the Foundation Center.

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

National Writing Project; Pew Research Center
July 2013

Presents findings from a survey of 2,462 Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers on the effects of digital tools on their students' writing skills and the way they teach writing.


How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms

CollegeBoard; National Writing Project; Pew Research Center
Buchanan, Judy; Friedrich, Linda; Heaps, Alan; Purcell, Kristen
February 2013

Presents survey results on how high school and middle school teachers use technology in their classrooms and for professional development. Illuminates obstacles faced in providing students adequate access to digital tools.


Composing Possibilities: Open Educational Resources and K-12 Music Education

Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute; Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education
January 2013

Presents the results of a study conducted to examine the state of open educational resources (OER) for K-12 music education. The study involved a close examination of 10 music education collections and interviews with 17 music educators, music education content providers, and music education experts.

Funder(s): William and Flora Hewlett Foundation


Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design

Connected Learning Research Network
Mizuko Ito, Kris Gutiérrez, Sonia Livingstone, Bill Penual, Jean Rhodes, Katie Salen, Juliet Schor, Julian Sefton-Green, S. Craig Watkins
January 2013

Presents the education approach of "connected learning" as a response to today's changing economy and media ecology. Describes the core values of connected learning and illustrates them through nine case studies.

Funder(s): John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation


Education to Employment: Designing a System that Works

McKinsey Center for Government
Mourshed, Mona; Diana Farrell; Dominic Barton
December 2012

Draws on more than 100 education-to-employment initiatives from 25 countries, and a survey of youth, education providers, and employers implemented in nine countries, to explain the challenges of moving young people from education to employment. Presents successful initiatives and calls for an overhaul of the current dominant model.

Funder(s): none


Making Mastery Work: A Close-Up View of Competency Education

Nellie Mae Education Foundation
Priest, Nora; Antonia Rudenstine; Ephraim Weisstein
November 2012

Explains the distinguishing elements of competency education. Integrates findings from research on eleven schools pioneering a wide variety of competency-based models to highlight promising practices, challenges, students' voices, and thoughts about the future of the field.

Funder(s): Nellie Mae Education Foundation


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Take a Giant Step: A Blueprint for Teaching Young Children in a Digital Age

Joan Ganz Cooney Center
Barron, Brigid; Laura Bofferding; Gabrielle Cayton-Hodges; Carol Copple; Linda Darling-Hammond; Michael H. Levine
November 2011

Calls for enhancing early childhood education and teacher preparation and development by incorporating digital learning and highlights best practices, policy and program trends, and innovative approaches. Outlines goals for 2020 and steps to achieve them.

Funder(s): Joyce Foundation


It's Not a Matter of Time: Highlights From the 2011 Competency-Based Learning Summit

International Association for K-12 Online Learning
Sturgis, Chris; Susan Patrick; Linda Pittenger
July 2011

Outlines discussions about the potential and challenges of competency-based learning in transforming the current time-based system, including issues of accountability, equity, personalization, and aligning policy and practice. Includes case summaries.

Funder(s): Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Donnell-Kay Foundation, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Stupski Foundation


Cracking the Code: Synchronizing Policy and Practice for Performance-Based Learning

International Association for K-12 Online Learning
Patrick, Susan; Chris Sturgis
July 2011

Proposes a policy framework for integrating performance-based learning into the education system, synchronizing policy and practice, and ensuring collaborative state leadership and flexible federal leadership. Lists state policy issues and exemplars.

Funder(s): Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Stupski Foundation


Integrating Technology With Student-Centered Learning

Nellie Mae Education Foundation
Moeller, Babette; Tim Reitzes
July 2011

Reviews research on technology's role in personalizing learning, its integration into curriculum-based and school- or district-wide initiatives, and the potential of emerging digital technologies to expand student-centered learning. Outlines implications.

Funder(s): Nellie Mae Education Foundation


WordSift: Supporting Instruction and Learning Through Technology in San Francisco

Council of the Great City Schools
Hakuta, Kenji
April 2011

Describes an academic language development tool to help teachers teach science vocabulary with a Web-based interface that creates visual, interactive representations of text, its implementation and patterns of usage, and early assessments of its efficacy.

Funder(s): Carnegie Corporation of New York, Institute of Education Sciences


Digital Learning Now!

Foundation for Excellence in Education
December 2010

Based on discussions among education, government and technology leaders and others, outlines the potential of digital learning to close the achievement gap; basic elements, including student access and personalized learning; and policy actions for each.

Funder(s): Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, Walton Family Foundation


Digital and Media Literacy: A Plan of Action

Aspen Institute
Hobbs, Renee
November 2010

Outlines a community education movement to implement Knight's 2009 recommendation to enhance digital and media literacy. Suggests local, regional, state, and national initiatives such as teacher education and parent outreach and discusses challenges.

Funder(s): John S. and James L. Knight Foundation


Game Changer: Investing in Digital Play to Advance Children's Learning and Health

Joan Ganz Cooney Center
Thai, Ann My; Dixie Ching; David Lowenstein; David Rejeski
June 2009

Based on a literature review and interviews with digital learning experts, explores how digital games can foster skills and knowledge for better academic performance and health. Makes recommendations for government research, partnerships, and media.

Funder(s): Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


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