On Thursday, I was invited to attend the DEECD Knowlege Bank: Next Generation’s Web 2.0 Collaborative Learning & Research Program (CLRP) “Celebration” at Hilton on the Park, in Melbourne. The participants included representatives of 18 Victorian public schools that had been involved in round 1 of an 8 Million Dollar DEECD Innovations and Next Practice Division trial. While all the participants had been exposed to, and discussed web 2.0 in general (from drupal to wordle), and used many of these tools, the emphasis was on the development of a blogging or podcasting trial in the school. Nine of the schools were investigating and trialling blogging and nine were trialling podcasting.
One of the presentations was given by statistician Ian Phillips, the Director of I&J Management Service. Ians history involves being the senior research officer at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, but now works privately as a consultant, specializing in Performance Measurement. I&J Management Service was employed by DEECD to analyse the effectiveness of the trial in each school.
The graph above summarizes one aspect of his findings. (expect more posts to this blog soon). The graph shows three categories: (from left to right) Student Achievement, Student Attitude and Student Behaviour. In each category, the yellow column is a measurement prior to the trial, the green column is a measurement taken mid way through the trial, and the blue column is a measurement taken at the end of the trial. The numbers are not very important but are scores out of 5. They read (from left to right): 2.5, 2.8, 3.0, 2.7, 3.4, 3.7, 2.9, 3.4, 3.7).
Ian made a number of observations that I think are worthy of reporting here:
- A similar trend was observed in each school.
- It is interesting that especially in the case of student attitudes and student behaviour, the greatest gains were made early in the trial. Gains in achievement were more steady over the duration of the trial.
- While the results showed a similar upward trend for all schools, the greatest improvements were seen in the schools that were trialling podcasting (across all three categories – achievement, attitude and behaviour).
- While results indicate that gains will plateau, that is always the case with any innovation, as an exponential increase is unsustainable. Instead what is needed is new innovations to keep achievement, attitude etc. improving in jumps, each time reaching a new plateau at a higher level.