There are few published studies investigating the effectiveness of hybrid formats at the program level in graduate legal education. A hybrid Juris Doctorate (J.D.) program launched by a Midwestern institution was the first ABA-accredited law degree program with a substantial online learning component.
Mobile messaging programs are a low-cost, scalable approach to building parents’ knowledge and capacity to support their children’s development. These programs directly deliver simple and straightforward information, tips, and activities that parents can incorporate into daily routines.
The Efficacy of Digital Media Resources in Improving Children’s Ability to Use Informational Text: An Evaluation of Molly of Denali from PBS KIDS
Two nine-week trials with a national sample of 263 first-graders examined whether free educational videos and digital games supported children’s ability to use informational text to answer real-world questions.
When adaptive learning is effective learning: comparison of an adaptive learning system to teacher-led instruction
Adaptive learning systems personalize instruction to students’ individual learning needs and abilities. Such systems have shown positive impacts on learning. Many schools in the United States have adopted adaptive learning systems, and the rate of adoption in China is accelerating, reaching almost 2 million unique users for one product alone in the past 3 years.
Measuring Chinese middle school students’ motivation using the Reduced Instructional Materials Motivation Survey (RIMMS): A validation study in the adaptive learning setting
This study validates a measure of student motivation, the Reduced Instructional Materials Motivation Survey, with a sample of Chinese middle school students using an adaptive learning system in math.
Many studies report that children can learn a range of skills from well-designed educational media. Yet we know relatively little about whether and how well children are able to apply skills they’ve learned from digital media in the real world.
This study explored the impact of the PBS KIDS Play & Learn Science app, when used in a supportive context, on children’s understanding of science concepts and use of science and engineering practices; children’s use of science vocabulary; child and parent-child engagement in science and engineering; and parent confidence supporting their child’s science learning.
This study was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education’s Ready To Learn Initiative, led by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS. It was conducted by EDC and SRI International, long-standing evaluation partners for the Ready To Learn Initiative.
Executive Summary | PBS Kids Play & Learn Science Evaluation
This evaluation of the PBS KIDS Play & Learn Science app and activities, summarizes impacts on children and their parents, including children’s understanding of science content and practices, use and understanding of science vocabulary, and excitement about science.
Evaluation Flyer | PBS Kids Play & Learn Science
This infographic shows key facts & figures from an evaluation of the PBS KIDS Play & Learn Science app and activities, including impacts on children’s understanding of science content and practices and use of science vocabulary.
Full Evaluation Report | PBS Kids Play & Learn Science
This comprehensive report includes in-depth analysis and graphs of impacts on children and their parents, including children’s understanding of science content and practices, use and understanding of science vocabulary, and excitement about science.
Getting Ready to Learn describes how educational media have and are continuing to play a role in meeting the learning needs of children, parents, and teachers. Based on years of meaningful data from the CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative, chapters explore how to develop engaging, playful, and developmentally appropriate content. From Emmy-Award-winning series to randomized controlled trials, this book covers the media production, scholarly research and technological advances surrounding some of the country’s most beloved programming.
Why does the rain fall down instead of up? How parents support science learning, and how media can help
In Jackson, Mississippi, researchers visited a family of seven (including a niece and nephew), headed by a stay-at-home mom in her 20s. During the visit, the children sat around the mom as she described their latest learning activities, including 1-on-1 homework time and making “slime.” One activity—planting a seed in the yard in front of their apartment building—garnered a lot of excitement. Here’s how the mom described her family’s experience.
“[My son] wanted to know, ‘How did that tree get in the ground?’ … What I did was, like, when I was in school with my teacher, we grew a plant. So that’s what we’re doing in my house now, growing a plant, so he can see. I told him it wouldn’t get as big as the trees are, but he could see it grow.
I Googled ‘How to plant a plant’… to make sure that I was doing it right. I hadn’t done it in a while, so I wanted to make sure it would sprout. … Google always leads you to YouTube. So we looked at a video showing us how different people started planting different types of things, and how to take care of them. … I wanted to make sure that it was getting everything that it needed.”
Photo: Burt Granofsky, EDC
Science-related media have the potential to engage and support families in exploring science together, but are families using media for this purpose? A new study examined the ways that families think about and engage young children in science, and how they use science-related media to support these efforts. The study was conducted by EDC and SRI International and commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education’s Ready To Learn initiative, led by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS. It included a nationally-representative survey of over 1,400 parents and caregivers of 3- to 6-year-old children, and interviews with 65 parents.
Findings from the survey suggest that most parents feel responsible for helping their children learn, and that they do so daily. Most parents feel very confident helping their young children learn social and behavioral skills, math, and literacy. But only about half of parents—and even fewer low-income parents—feel very confident helping their children learn science.
Not only are parents less likely to be very confident in doing science with their children, they are also less likely to do science with their children daily, compared to other skills. When asked about learning activities they do with their children, parents were most likely to report that they read, involve their children in chores, and work on math concepts with their children every day; far fewer parents report doing science learning activities daily. Many parents, especially low-income parents, say that more ideas and resources would help them to do more science with their children.
EDC photo/Burt Granofsky.
Media could fill that need. Close to two-thirds of parents reported that their child had watched science-related TV shows or videos weekly or more often in the past month, and about half of parents said their children played science-related apps or video games about science weekly or more often.
Based on these findings, we offer some suggestions for media producers—and others who develop resources for families—to help families with young children explore science together.
Finding: Fewer parents are confident in their ability to help children learn science, compared with literacy, math, and social skills.
If families think science is hard, they may not do it. We know from prior research that media can play a role in helping parents support their young children’s learning —especially for parents who are less confident about their abilities to help their children. Here are three ways media can help overcome this confidence barrier.
Show that science is fun. For example, playfully pushing a cart down a hill or joyfully banging on pots and pans to see which ones are louder when hit with a wooden spoon.
Explore, don’t answer. Children ask a lot of science questions, and adults may feel intimidated when they can’t answer them. For example, parents in our study described their children asking questions such as, “Why does the rain fall down instead of up?” and “Do trees breathe?” Media can flip the script by showing adults and children exploring together—observing, collecting data, and sharing their ideas about the how and why of things. It is important for parents to see that science learning is not about providing answers; it’s about discovering together.
Provide relatable family science role models. Families engaged in science activities in TV shows and games should represent the racial, ethnic, cultural, and geographic diversity of the target audience. For example, not all families may be able to collect insects in their backyards, but nature can be found in a single tree, or a patch of dirt by the sidewalk.
EDC photo/Burt Granofsky.
Findings: Nine out of ten parents report doing learning activities with their children daily. About half of parents report doing science-related activities with their children daily. Parents indicated that easy-to-do ideas for science activities would help them do more science.
Media can model or encourage everyday ways to engage children in science. Media can also remind families that they probably already do science without realizing it.
Show that science is everywhere. Science doesn’t require special supplies or set-up. Media can show characters listening for birds while running errands, building with empty cartons and containers, or exploring rolling and sliding with a piece of cardboard and different-shaped household objects.
Finding: Most parents do not feel that their child is learning science from media.
Our interview data suggest that parents may not always recognize the educational value of science media. Clear science content may help parents recognize and support what their children are learning. Here are three research-based strategies.
Begin with a preview of the science activities and concepts featured in the episode (an advance organizer). For example, “Today we’re building things. We will see what makes some things stable, and some things wobbly.” This introduction can help children and parents focus on the educational content. Similarly, end with a wrap-up of what the characters did and found out related to the science content.
Integrate science content into the narrative, rather than saving it for interstitials. This approach helps parents and children to engage in the science content throughout the episode. It also helps families realize that they naturally experience science as part of life, much like the characters do.
Raise the same science concepts in different ways, using multiple examples throughout the episode or game. Use a variety of visuals, sound, spoken language, print text, and/or other symbolic representations to reinforce concepts. For example, an episode about habitats could include pictures of a habitat, language that describes the habitat, and text or symbols to represent different animals or habitats.
Finding: About 30% of parents do not talk to their child about connections between science media and science in everyday life.
Media can support these conversations by providing discussion prompts for parents and children to use during or after the episode or game. Here are three tips for writing discussion prompts.
Keep conversations open-ended. Focus on topics that are interesting to children, rather than on specific facts. For example, identify each family member’s favorite colors on objects around you.
Encourage children to relate content to something else they have done or observed, since prior knowledge improves children’s comprehension. For example, “That episode/game was about plants. What plants do we see around where we live?”
Launch related explorations in the real world. For example, a prompt might state, “This episode/game was about how the parts of a plant help it grow. Let’s find (or draw) a plant and look for its different parts.”
Media have a strong potential to support science learning at home. Families are already using science media, although they may not consider its educational value. If crafted intentionally, science media can engage parents in co-learning with their children, boost parents’ confidence in doing science, and suggest ways to continue learning off-screen.