Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Research Says...

Researchers at McREL (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning) reviewed the results of more than 100 studies to identify the categories of instructional strategies that have the greatest effect on student achievement. Based on their findings, school districts across the country have used the book Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement written by Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering, and Jane Pollock to guide reform efforts and plan staff development.

The top 9 categories of successful strategies are:
1. Identifying similarities and differences
2. Summarizing and note taking
3. Reinforcing effort and providing recognition
4. Homework and practice
5. Nonlinguistic representations
6. Cooperative learning
7. Setting objectives and providing feedback
8. Generating and testing hypotheses
9. Cues, questions, and advance organizers

McREL staff members Howard Pilter, Elizabeth R. Hubbell, Matt Kuhn and Kim Malenoski followed up Marzano's work with the book Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works to provide suggestions for utilizing the power of technology to support these strategies. They have lots of great suggestions for integrating technology that support the proven approaches.

I've read Marzano's book (need to really study it) and I'm working through the follow-up book. As I read I keep wondering, how does all this apply to our work and our schools?

As technologists, our focus is usually on the technology. What if we make a shift?
* Let's focus on the students and brainstorm ways to implement research-based approaches that can help them achieve more.
* Let's focus on the strategies and how we can help teachers implement identified best practices.
* Let's focus on ways to integrate technology because it supports instruction not because it is an additional subject that should be covered.
* Let's focus on new approaches that will result in real and lasting change.

I invite you to join me in an exploration of
these instructional strategies.

Let's rethink the possibilities.

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