New National Research Indicates Teacher Professional Development Program to Integrate Mobile Technology May Have Positive Impact on Students’ Standardized Math Test Scores
Verizon, the Program’s Creator, and its partner, International Society for Technology in Education, to Launch Verizon Mobile Learning Academy to Train More Teachers Nationwide
NEW CARROLLTON, Md. – New national research indicates that training teachers to integrate mobile technology into instruction may have a positive effect on students’ standardized test scores and academic achievement. The research comes from an evaluation study, conducted by the International Society for Technology in Education, of an innovative and comprehensive teacher professional development program, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools. A collaboration of the Verizon Foundation and the ISTE, VILS is one of the few training programs of its kind focused on supporting the effective integration of mobile technology in the classroom.
Comprising students and teachers from 24 elementary, middle and high schools across the country, VILS provides individualized, on-site and virtual professional development tailored to address specific areas for improvement at each school as identified by a preliminary needs assessment.
The key findings of the evaluation and research, conducted in January by the ISTE, indicate that, in general, students of VILS teachers showed stronger gains in mathematics than students from comparison schools. While many comparison schools used existing mobile technology, they did not participate in any systematic, schoolwide professional development program focused on using the technology effectively to teach students. Key findings include:
· Standardized test scores in math of students participating in the program increased by 4.13 percent, while the test scores of students in a control group of schools that are using mobile technology but are not participating in the program (and did not receive teacher training on how to use mobile technology) declined by 4.62 percent.
· Teachers in the VILS program reported that 35 percent of their students showed higher scores on classroom assessments; 32 percent showed increased engagement in the classroom; and 62 percent demonstrated increased proficiency with mobile devices.
· Sixty percent of the teachers also reported that by using their mobile devices, they were providing more one-on-one help to individual students, and 47 percent said they are spending less time on lectures to the entire class.
A New Online, Mobile Technology Training Course for Teachers Nationwide
Due to these promising initial results, the Verizon Foundation and ISTE are launching an online teacher professional development program called the Verizon Mobile Learning Academy to enable teams of teachers across the country to participate in mobile technology training through free, moderated virtual courses that will earn participants Continuing Education Units. The program aims to train 1,000 teachers over the next year, beginning this fall.
Rose Stuckey Kirk, Verizon's vice president of global corporate citizenship and president of the Verizon Foundation, said: “Verizon’s corporate social responsibility efforts seek to use our resources to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems in underserved communities. We are encouraged that our VILS schools are demonstrating meaningful benefits from these efforts.
“Students at these schools are now more adept in using mobile technology to access useful learning resources, and significant portions of students have exhibited an increased ability to solve problems. Our new online initiative will extend the benefit of VILS professional development to educators across the country and help them turn mobile devices into educational tools.”
The rigorous, multimethod, longitudinal VILS evaluation measured student performance and program impact through teacher and student surveys, classroom observations, and pre- and post- standardized math and science test scores for participating schools and comparison schools. Six of the 24 VILS schools were included in the evaluation study: Assabet Vocational High School (Marlborough, Mass.); Charles Carroll Middle School (New Carrollton, Md.); Hartford Middle School (Canton, Ohio); Lewisville High School (Dallas, Texas); Long Branch Middle School (Long Branch, N.J.); and Niemes Elementary School (Cerritos, Calif.). Six schools, each of them near a school in the VILS program, were in the control group. Soon, ISTE will conduct an analysis of 12 schools in the VILS program and comparison sites, strengthening its ability to make conclusions about the program.
Dr. Wendy Drexler, ISTE director of innovation, said: “The VILS program demonstrates the important principle that mobile learning initiatives in schools require leadership to be effective. School administrators, tech coaches and teacher leaders have been engaged and supportive of the VILS program, and this has led to the success of the professional development implemented in these schools. The Verizon Mobile Learning Academy will provide support for school and district leaders as they prepare mobile learning initiatives to help ensure that their efforts will be successful.”
More information and pre-registration for the Verizon Mobile Learning Academy can be found at http://responsibility.verizon.com/learning-academy, and more information about the findings of the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools evaluation study are available here http://responsibility.verizon.com/education/2013#vils.