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Access at Crossroads: Learning Assistance in Higher Ed., D. Arendale   Click this web link to learn about my recent book

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     Access at the Crossroads Blog

    These blog entires identify best practices to increase success for historically-underrepresented college students including excerpts from my book, Access at the CrossroadsClick here to subscribe to this blog.

    Monday
    Dec082014

    Wish all airline safety videos were this informative, and fun. Maybe people would pay better attention.

    Wednesday
    Nov192014

    Impact of Linked Learning Communities with Higher Student Outcomes

    Effectiveness

    Overall, the effects of linked learning communities on academic achievement, degree attainment, postsecondary enrollment, credit accumulation, and progress in developmental education for postsecondary students were neither statistically significant nor large enough to be considered to be substantively important. Therefore, the WWC considers linked learning communities to have no discernible effects on these outcomes for community college students in developmental education.

    Program Description

    Linked learning communities in postsecondary education are programs defined by having social and curricular linkages that provide undergraduate students with intentional integration of the themes and concepts that they are learning. Linked learning communities are based on the theory that active learning in a community-based setting can improve academic outcomes by increasing social as well as academic integration. To that end, linked learning communities tend to incorporate two characteristics: a shared intellectual theme with a linked or integrated curriculum and a community or common cohort of learners.

    Research

    The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) identified six studies of linked learning communities in postsecondary education that both fall within the scope of the Developmental Students in Postsecondary Education topic area and meet WWC group design standards. All six studies meet WWC standards without reservations. Together, these studies included about 7,400 undergraduate students across six community colleges.

    The WWC considers the extent of evidence for linked learning communities to be medium to large for four outcome domains—academic achievement, postsecondary enrollment, credit accumulation, and progress in developmental education. These outcomes were assessed in all six of the studies that met WWC group design standards. The WWC considers the extent of evidence for linked learning communities to be small for one outcome domain—degree attainment.

    This intervention report was prepared for the WWC by Development Services Group, Inc. under contract ED–IES–12–C–0084.  To download the complete report, click on this link.
    Wednesday
    Aug272014

    Integrated Learning Course for Entering TRIO College Students: Outcomes of Higher Grades and Persistence Rates

    Integrated Learning Course for Entering SSS College Students.  University of Minnesota (approved Validated Practice 8/10/14)  Taken from the abstract:  In 1972, the TRIO program leaders at the University of Minnesota developed the Integrated Learning (IL) course to meet academic and transition needs of their Upward Bound (UB) students.  These courses were offered during the UB summer bridge program for its students who were concurrently enrolled in academically-challenging college courses following graduation from high school.  Later, use of IL courses shifted from the UB program to the college-level TRIO Student Support Services program.  Long before the widespread use of learning communities within higher education, the IL course is an example of a linked-course learning community.  A historically-challenging course like an introductory psychology is linked with an IL course.  The IL course is customized to use content of its companion class as context for mastering learning strategies and orienting students to the rigor of the college learning environment.  For the past four decades, the IL course approach has assisted TRIO students improve their academic success in the rigorous academic environment as well as acclimate to the social climate of the University of Minnesota (UMN), one of the largest universities in the United States.  UMN is a Research I Intensive public university with highly selective admissions and high expectations for students by the course professors.  Two quasi-experimental studies examined the possible benefits of the IL course.  One was in connection with a General Psychology course. The IL course students earned statistically significantly higher final course grades than nonparticipants.  Another study with a General Biology course replicated the results of higher final course grades for the IL course students.  The IL courses fostered not only higher final course grades, but also expanded positive study behaviors and their metacognitive skills necessary for academic success.  [Click on this link to download this best education practice.]

    Wednesday
    Aug272014

    Advocating for Buildup of American Airpower, 1943, Disney

    Following is a description from another YouTuber who shared the video, "This is a unique film in Disney Production's history. This film is essentially a propaganda film selling Major Alexander de Seversky's theories about the practical uses of long range strategic bombing. Using a combination of animation humorously telling about the development of air warfare, the film switches to the Major illustrating his ideas could win the war for the allies." I found the 1943 insightful more for future innovations with airpower than its immediate goals. It forecasts the use of weapons of mass destruction which was demonstrated by dropping the A Bomb, fighter bombers based in the U.S. with capacity to hit military targets throughout the world. Some of the B1 and B2 bombers in the Iraq War were based in Missouri. This video starts a little slow so hold on for the second half. It is remarkable.
    Wednesday
    Aug272014

    Robin Williams and the American Flag

    There are lots of media remembrances of Robin Williams who left us all much too soon. A friend shared a like to this YouTube video. Mr. Williams had the ability to mix humor and pathos at the same time for a meaningful and enjoyable message.
    Tuesday
    Aug192014

    From Teachers College Record: "BYOD: Re-Examining the Issue of Digital Equity"

    by Rae L. Mancilla — August 08, 2014

    This commentary questions whether the implementation of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in American schools is a way of bridging or deepening the digital divide amongst students of differing socioeconomic backgrounds. It argues that that digital equity with mobile devices cannot be achieved without individual ownership of mobile technologies and concludes by posing a series of potential means of working toward the goal of ownership in schools.

    The digital divide between technology haves and have-nots has been a persistent problem for education recognized on both national and international levels. On the wrong side of the divide are typically minority and low-income students, as well as urban residents who lack access to what are now commonplace technologies (e.g., internet) (Servon, 2002). Achieving equitable physical access to technology is seen as just a starting point in addressing the many disparities that emanate from the digital divide and that pervade students’ technology use, training, and learning outcomes once initial access has been granted (Warschauer & Matuchniak, 2010).

     

    Educators and administrators are increasingly turning to mobile devices as a means of closing this digital gap because they are cost-effective and widely used, especially by students between the ages of 12-17. (Madden, Lenhart, Duggan, Cortesi & Gasser, 2013). Although these figures are somewhat lower for low-income students, the overwhelming growth of student ownership of mobile devices has fueled policies such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in schools, with the underlying goal of helping schools manage budget cuts while still preparing digitally literate 21st century learners (Dixon &Tierney, 2012).

     

    The trade-off of shifting the financial responsibility from schools to students to provide their own devices for learning may seem financially advantageous; however, from the standpoint of digital equity, it is not. Digital equity means, “ensuring that every student […] has equitable access to advanced technologies, communication and information resources, and the learning experiences they provide (Solomon, Allen, and Resta, 2003, p. xiii). Ensuring equity for students of varying socioeconomic backgrounds under BYOD is complex and problematic on multiple levels.

     

    Very basically, students of low socioeconomic status are not often owners of mobile devices, or bring nonequivalent technologies to school. Given the varied nature of mobile devices, it is difficult to equate the capabilities of one device with another. A case in point is comparing a mobile phone (the most commonly owned device) to an iPad; can the learning experiences with these devices ever be approximated? Many schools have also attempted to troubleshoot the non-ownership of devices by allowing students to borrow or rent school-owned devices (Chadband, 2012). However, lending students devices for limited periods of time or only for use throughout the school day denies them the fullness of the mobile learning experience and contradicts the very purpose of mobile learning: mobility.

     

    Research now shows that the use of mobile devices is related to changes in students’ cognition, affecting essentially how they learn (Kukulska-Hulme, 2009). Given that the way students access, process, and interact with educational content is shaped by the technology they have available to them, it is necessary to ensure that all students have the same toolbox to work with. This begs the question: how is it possible for all students to share an equivalent learning experience when owners have unlimited access to tools that borrowers do not?

     

    Finally, individual ownership of mobile devices is a prerequisite when considering the affective (i.e., emotional/relational) dimension of mobile learning. For example, studies on mobile phones show that people develop a relationship with their phones and an emotional attachment that stems from the extensive time shared with them (Vincent, 2006). Therefore, a key element in students’ learning experience with mobile technology is the growth of a mobile identity that occurs over time. This is impossible to achieve when students are required to borrow and return school-owned devices.

     

    Using ownership as the most fundamental and necessary criteria for establishing equity, how then can equitable access be practically leveraged to borrowers in schools? Currently, few models exist to tackle the obstacle of funding one-to-one mobile technology initiatives, with laptops being one of the only examples of how schools have provided access to individual computing in the past. Most of these efforts have been backed by large federal and state monies, such as 21st Century Community Learning Center grants and State Educational Technology grants associated with the Race to the Top Initiative (2009), but have not yet trickled down into mobile devices.

     

    Besides government funding, there are several potential pathways for funding a BYOD program. These include partnering with local businesses to refurbish their used devices, allowing students to lease school-owned devices (e.g., semester or yearly basis), and providing financing plans for families who cannot afford to purchase a device (e.g., layaway) (Intel Education, 2013). Expanding on these alternatives, I call for the development of a sliding scale for families of low to mid-income students to subsidize the purchase of a personal device based on family size and income. This is necessary for students of mid-income families who may not completely qualify for a school-purchased device, but still have a substantial economic need. Additionally, why not consider partnering with nationally-established businesses in the private sector to launch or expand programs such as the Broadband Adoption Challenge (2010), which currently offers eligible families affordable home internet and computer access through participating providers such as Comcast, Time Warner, and many others? Although this program does not cover vouchers for purchasing mobile devices, this option needs to be added for interested families to help bridge the new mobile divide.

     

    In sum, while mobile devices have been foregrounded as a means of bridging the digital divide between technology haves and have-nots, the birth of the BYOD movement in schools is deepening these tensions under a new guise of owners versus borrowers. The issue of digital equity must move beyond providing physical access to technology through schools’ lending libraries of mobile devices. Achieving an equitable mobile learning experience requires unrestricted access to mobile devices (i.e., device ownership) that facilitates the development of a relationship with the device itself and a customized and transportable learning experience across educational contexts. The personal nature of mobile devices sets them apart from conventional computing and requires the re-thinking of how to be equitable with BYOD through creative models that blend federal, state, and local support for leveraging mobile technologies in schools.

     

    References

    •  Chadband, E. (2012, July 19). Should schools embrace “Bring Your Own Device”?. NEA Today. Retrieved from http://neatoday.org/2012/07/19/should-schools-embrace-bring-your-own-device/
    • Dixon, B., & Tierney, S. (2012). Bring your own device to school. Retrieved from http://blogs. msdn. com/b/education/archive/2012/08/15/microsoft-bring-your-own-device-in-schoolswhitepaper. aspx.
    • Intel Education (2013). K-12 Blueprint: Funding a BYOD (bring your own device) program. Retrieved from http://www.k12blueprint.com/funding
    • Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2009). Will mobile learning change language learning. ReCALL, 21(2), 157–165.
    • Madden, M., Lenhart, A., Duggan, M., Cortesi, S., & Gasser, U. (2013). Teens and technology 2013. Pew Internet & American Life Project.
    • Servon, L. (2002). Bridging the digital divide: Technology, community and public policy. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
    • Solomon, G., Allen, N., & Resta, P. (2003). Toward digital equity: Bridging the divide in education. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
    • Vincent, J. (2006). Emotional attachment and mobile phones. Knowledge, Technology & Policy, 19(1), 39–44.
    • Warschauer, M., & Matuchniak, T. (2010). New technology and digital worlds: Analyzing evidence of equity in access, use, and outcomes. Review of Research in Education, 34(1), 179–225.

    Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: August 08, 2014
    http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17639, Date Accessed: 8/19/2014 2:12:11 PM

    Tuesday
    Aug122014

    Validated SSS Practice Added: Integrated Learning Course for Entering SSS College Students

    Integrated Learning Course for Entering SSS College Students.  University of Minnesota (approved Validated Practice 8/10/14)  In 1972, the TRIO program leaders at the University of Minnesota developed the Integrated Learning (IL) course to meet academic and transition needs of their Upward Bound (UB) students.  These courses were offered during the UB summer bridge program for its students who were concurrently enrolled in academically-challenging college courses following graduation from high school.  Later, use of IL courses shifted from the UB program to the college-level TRIO Student Support Services program.  Long before the widespread use of learning communities within higher education, the IL course is an example of a linked-course learning community.  A historically-challenging course like an introductory psychology is linked with an IL course.  The IL course is customized to use content of its companion class as context for mastering learning strategies and orienting students to the rigor of the college learning environment.  For the past four decades, the IL course approach has assisted TRIO students improve their academic success in the rigorous academic environment as well as acclimate to the social climate of the University of Minnesota (UMN), one of the largest universities in the United States.  UMN is a Research I Intensive public university with highly selective admissions and high expectations for students by the course professors.  Two quasi-experimental studies examined the possible benefits of the IL course.  One was in connection with a General Psychology course. The IL course students earned statistically significantly higher final course grades than nonparticipants.  Another study with a General Biology course replicated the results of higher final course grades for the IL course students.  The IL courses fostered not only higher final course grades, but also expanded positive study behaviors and their metacognitive skills necessary for academic success.  [Click on this link to download this best education practice.]