Pictures and Words – A Quote from Mo Willems

Mo Willems: People often ask what comes first, the words or the drawings? And the answer is yes. You do both simultaneously. I love the beginning of a project when I’m just getting to know the character. And I doodle that character over and over again. And they start to come to life. Sometimes, those … Continue reading


On Early Childhood Literacy: What Will the iPad Bring?

To continue the discussion in Jeff’s recent post on the development of adaptive learning tools for young children: I recently had a weekend trial of reading Sophie’s World on the iPad via one of the iPad e-book applications. I loved this new reading experience which included many personalized options on a multi-touch screen such as … Continue reading

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Some Digital Literacy Tools

A recent presentation given in the fall.  

Book Review of Sørensen (2009)

Sørensen, Estrid (2009). The materiality of learning: Technology and knowledge in educational practice. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. The author of this book, Estrid Sørensen, is a Research Associate at Humboldt University in Berlin. She is also an Associate Professor at the School of Education at Aarhus University in Demark. Sørensen explores critical concepts that … Continue reading

Top Five Reasons to Love Twitter

Why should I tweet? 1. (meta)Blog anytime and it only takes a few seconds 2. Join academic groups on Twitter (e.g. NCTE) and keep oneself updated 3. Receive a succinct daily newsletter by subscribing to multiple sources of tweets 4. “Listen” to daily tweets by big figures in interested fields 5. Get connected to more … Continue reading

E-books vs. Hardcovers at Amazon

Reported by a recent New York Times article, Jeff Bezos announced e-books are outselling hardcovers at Amazon. One of the MIT libraries began to offer an iPad check-out option in May, 2010. During my recent trips to a local public school, I started to see people read on iPad on subway. My own reading experience … Continue reading

The Wisdom of J. E. Russell (1900)

The ideals which determine the growth of educational systems never remain long fixed: they change from age to age, to conform to the development of the political, economic and spiritual life of a people. –Written by J. E. Russell in 1900 on Teachers College Record

Rethinking Free Learning

Arora, P. (Forthcoming). Hope-in-the-Wall? A digital promise for free learning. British Journal of Educational Technology. Dr. Arora graduated from TC in 2009 and was a student of Professor Herve Varenne who gave a talk at the Edlab on everyday learning. This article comes from Arora’s six-month fieldwork in India investigating how public and informal learning … Continue reading

Phone Your Blog

WordPress released a new tool named “Phone Your Blog“. I think it might be a simple and convenient tool for future data collection such as teachers’ audio reflection. Compared with podcasting, this tool helps gather raw audio data in one site and save the time for uploading, organizing, and publishing audio data. Confidentiality can be … Continue reading

Exploring “Factor Analysis” 1.0

I had this idea that I should keep recording my research-related learning experiences here during my doctoral study (as part of my “narrative inquiry” for research). I’m lucky that as a doctoral student, I got great opportunities to get involved in a number of research projects at my workplace. The most recent project I have … Continue reading

Live Data Collection/Presentation at the 2010 World Cup

I am amazed by the World Cup “data” map on NYT, which is a live map showing the passes and “heats” at the court during the 90-min play. Isn’t it an amazing mini example enlightening qualitative data collection in K-12 education ? The profit of World Cup drives the creation of this map but when … Continue reading

Recent Trends in the Overall Child and Youth Well-Being Index

How will the economic recession impact the well-being of children and youths in the U.S.? The 2010 annual release of the Child Well-Being Index (CWI) by the Foundation for Child Development is the first report offering comprehensive data on the impact of the Great Recession on American children’s quality-of-life. The CWI is an evidence-based measure … Continue reading

The Emergent Definition for Digital Literacy

A New Handbook for Digital Literacy Classroom Teaching The FutureLab, UK, has recently issued Digital Literacy across the Curriculum (pdf), a handbook aimed at educational practitioners and leaders from primary to secondary schools who are interested in creative and critical uses of technology in the classroom. The handbook presents many case studies (pdf) of digital … Continue reading

2010 AERA, 5.2.10: Publication Workshop

Yesterday’s publication workshop was an inspiring (!) session regarding its informative topics provided, and I was very impressed by the open and interactive “community of practice” in the U.S. academia as represented by the workshop.  It was split to two sessions. Both early-career professors and senior professors, researchers, journal editors in both qualitative and quantitative … Continue reading

2010 AERA, 5.1.10: The Presence of China

A Move toward Creativity

I enjoyed the panel discussion about teacher development and classroom teaching driven toward individual creativity led by two vice presidents (Mr. Youqun Ren and Mr. Qi Dong) from two best renowned colleges of education in China. I’m very glad to see this emergent change in K-12 education in China. This country was the earliest country invested printing, compass, paper making, and gunpowder, etc. for the world. However, the contemporary China seemed losing its ancestors’ creativity. The “stereotype” of Chinese students is that they are the most diligent but silent and obedient GROUP. They lack INDIVIDUAL voices and often times individual uniqueness is covered and negated by their group.

AERA, 5.1.10: Rethinking Culturally Responsive Pedagogy

The Early Childhood session on Saturday morning consisted of an all-star panel, including Dr. Tobin and Dr. Souto Manning (Discussant: Dr. Eugene Garcia). While Dr. Souto Manning presented her observational study of how teachers can create a “third space” to involve immigrant children, notice the “expected” and “unexpected” discourses disclosed by children’s conversations and make their linguistic and cultural differences “visible” in the classroom, Dr. Tobin and his colleagues talked about a cross-national project (“Children Across Borders”) in five countries investigating 1) teachers of immigrant children, and 2) parents’ participation in classroom, and the connection between teaching/parents’ participation and the culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP).

2010 AERA, 4.30.10: Virtual Schooling Presentation

I arrived at Denver last night and just had my first 2010 AERA day.

The weather in Denver seems fast-changing. There was a bit snow, then a bit rain in the morning, before it turned to be very sunny in the afternoon. This is my second visit to this city and it is great to see its bright blue sky again!

I’m staying at the Hyatt Tech Center which is about 12 miles from the Convention Center. Fortunately, the AERA bus arrives every 15 mins. I feel the transportation is organized very well by AERA!

Our presentation (Stephen and I) session (Researching Virtual Learning Environments) was from 12:00 to 1:30. There were five presentations in total. Each got 10 minutes, followed with discussant’s comments and Q&As from the audience.

2010 APA Style

Minor changes have been made in the 2010-version APA book, including the levels of headings, abbreviations and certain punctuation marks.

2010 AACE-EdMedia Presentations

Two of my papers (at workplace) recently got accepted by the 2010 AACE-EdMedia – World
Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications
. This year the conference will be held in Toronto. And this summer we will try the option of virtual presentation (in Second Life?) offered by the conference!

2010 AERA: The Presence of China

Ms. Xiaoya Chen, the Vice Minister, Ministry of Education, People’s Republic of China will be leading a delegation from China for the incoming annual meeting of American Educational Research Association in Denver. The delegation consists of professors and two presidents of the best renowned colleges of education in China (i.e., Beijing Normal University and East China Normal University). This is probably the first formal presence of China in AERA which implies China’s increasing attention to the educational research in the U.S. and a move towards open academic environment and global collaboration. The following are the focal sessions (and a reception with special musical performance) to be presented by the delegation:

Pew Research Report: Teens and Mobile Phones

The Pew Internet & American Life Project just released a new report on American teens and their use of mobile phones. According to the report, text messaging has become the most frequent way that teens reach their friends, surpassing face-to-face meetings, email, instant messaging and voice calling as a daily communications tool. The trends increased,  … Continue reading

The Future of Children’s Picture Books

The famous children’s book, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, has been turned into an iPad application. This application is not just about flipping web pages, imitating the functions of a conventional print book, but about providing an additional “role” for readers to control certain animations of characters in the book. I feel this “Alice … Continue reading

2010 AERA Conference Presentation

Presentation slides can be viewed here. My colleagues and I will be presenting a paper for the incoming annual conference of American Educational Research Association this April in Denver. The content is about investigating a trend of and media convergence within the U.S. K-12 virtual schools as well as the implications for future K-12 virtual … Continue reading

Nature by Mathematics and The Chaos Theory

The Secret Life of Chaos is a breath-taking (!) BBC documentary issued this year. In the documentary Professor Jim Al-Khalili sets out to uncover one of the great mysteries of science – how does a universe that starts off as dust end up with intelligent life? How does order emerge from disorder? The documentary covers … Continue reading

Book Review of Farrell (1990)

Brief presentation slides can be viewed here.

In his ground-breaking book Hanging in and dropping out: Voices of at-risk high school students (1990) published by Teachers College Press, Edwin Farrell, a professor at the City College in New York, examines at-risk high school students’ school experiences through a unique data collection and analysis approach of involving “collaborators” who are themselves at-risk students to interview other at-risk students and friends who have already dropped out of school. The study described in the book evolves from a cooperative Stay-in-School Partnership program at the City College. The collected data of tape interviews and the accompanying analyses conducted by the author and his collaborators incorporate a framework of “competing selves” developed beyond Erik Erikson’s Childhood and society (1963) theory where Erickson asserts “ego is a central principle of organization within the individual; it must integrate growth with the structure of social institutions” (p. 3), and adolescence is the formative stage of integrating multiple identities. The author categorizes at-risk students’ identities (e.g., the career self, the sexual self, self among peers, the family self, and self as parent) conflicting with their school identity – “self-as-student”. The dialogues of these students suggest that the group of students’ inability to keep a harmony between their multiple selves and their “self-as-student” become the overarching problem that accounts for the dropout phenomenon. The data also present a conflict between the “meaning systems” of students and those of teachers in the 1990s. The author concludes with a call for more learning opportunities created for at-risk students in a real-world context.


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