Study Results: School Demographics

This post is part of a series inviting discussion, comments and reflection on the results of my dissertation.

Now we start looking at the results of my study. Every variable was examined to see its relationship with how often the school was using curriculum videoconferencing and whether that variable could be used to predict the use of videoconferencing. This is why my questions about the method of measuring utilization are important.

In this post, we’ll look at the relationship between the school’s use of curriculum videoconferencing and some school demographic variables.

School Level

  • The elementary schools use videoconferencing significantly more than the average of the other levels (r=.280, p=.000).
  • The high schools use videoconferencing significantly less than the average of the other levels (r=-.194, p=.001).
  • Where the coordinators support all levels, their schools are using it significantly less than the average of all the other levels (r=-.202, p=.001).

Population

  • Population is not significantly correlated to the school’s use of videoconferencing. (However, when using multiple regression in analyzing school demographics, population contributed a very small amount to the prediction model. Schools with higher population were using videoconferencing slightly less (b=-8.03, p=.021).)

Poverty

  • Poverty scores (National School Lunch Program, US only) are not significantly correlated to the school’s use of videoconferencing.

Ethnicity

  • The only ethnicity that is using videoconferencing significantly more than the others is the “other” category (r=.202, p=.001). Most of the coordinators who chose the other category wrote in Native American or Canadian First Nations (16 out of 22).

Recommendations

  • If faced with a choice, install videoconferencing in elementary schools first.
  • If you coordinate videoconferencing for multiple levels/schools, you need to train and support a VC coordinator in each school.
  • Curriculum videoconferencing meets a particular need and is often used by Native American and Canadian First Nations schools with access. This should be supported & continued.

Stats Principles to Remember

  • Correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation. You cannot say with confidence that because the school was an elementary school; that caused the school to use videoconferencing more.
  • r is the measure of the correlation. In medicine, we want a very high r (close to 1 as possible); in education and other social sciences, we’re doing good to have it close to .5.
  • p tells you how much of that result is due to chance (for example .001 is .1% due to chance)

Your Turn

  • Do you agree with the results? Would you recommend installing videoconferencing systems (with the purpose of curriculum videoconferencing) in elementary schools first? Is that where VC is available in your area? Why or why not?
  • Do you think that it is important to have a VC champion/coordinator in each school?
  • This is my first results post. Is it clear? Does it raise questions? Do you recommend another way?

About Janine Lim

Janine Lim, PhD, currently serves as associate dean for online higher education in the School of Distance Education at Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, MI. She and her team support over 200 online courses, provide training for faculty teaching online, and work with the campus infrastructure support of online learning. Her department also provides educational technology and Moodle support for faculty and students. In addition, Janine is responsible for the faculty and courses of the Consortium of Adventist Colleges and Universities. Janine has taught over 15 unique graduate educational technology classes online numerous times over the past 15 years, with some classes attracting participants from all over the world. Her undergraduate teaching includes social media courses for communication and digital media majors. Janine has served on the board of the United States Distance Learning Association since April 2015. Prior to her work at Andrews University, Janine coordinated distance education for 22 K12 school districts in southwest Michigan for 14 years. In that position, as one of the co-founders of TWICE, Michigan’s K12 Videoconferencing Organization, Janine has spearheaded popular international K12 videoconference projects such as Read Around the Planet and MysteryQuest. While still serving on the board of TWICE, she was instrumental in designing and implementing the CAPspace website for collaborative videoconference projects. Janine also served on a team of Michigan educational technology trainers providing a workshop called ATA Technology Academy. Her current online learning research interests include successful teacher behaviors, quality online discussions, and student activity patterns in self-paced courses.
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5 Responses to Study Results: School Demographics

  1. It is obvious with my suburbian district and district like us around the state of Texas that video conferencing is used at a much high rate in elementary school than secondary campuses. I disagree however with the natural conclusion of putting video conferencing systems at this level first. Based on my 20+ years of observations and discussions I have some generalizations about their culture. Elementary students generally still like their teachers, peers, and parents and are relatively engaged in curriculum. Elementary teachers are generally flexible with their scheduling and use a variety of classroom structures and strategies to engage students. Once student enter Junior High and to even a greater extent in High school, their world changes. Secondary level students are by nature more self-centered and peer-focused, making them more challenging to engage in classroom content. Secondary level teachers live in a culture of segregation based on content department and rigid schedules based on a campus master plan. When considering video conferencing….the secondary teacher has more hurdles to jump over to find value in a session and to accomodate it into her scheduling needs. I have recently described video conferencing as a “magic technology”…because of the way it engages kids and promotes authentic conversations. When a video conference is selected at the secondary level, it is often the advanced level students that are targeted….but who are the students really in need of engagement? I recommend we target the students who are struggling with a particular coarse or school in general. Many of them have “check out”….(don’t we all avoid things we don’t like and aren’t good at?). I think the secondary level is in the most need but rolling out the equipment isn’t the magic answer either. The content support needs to be there. There must be a champion that can help teachers over come scheduling hurdles and design lessons that are aligned with their demanding content.

    • Janine Lim says:

      Linda – thanks for this thoughtful response! Do you think that if a district had limited funds they should pick one level or another?

      In our area, with the additional requirements for graduation, my secondary teachers who loved videoconferencing cannot fit it into their trimester schedule. The semester is over so fast and they have so much curriculum to cover. Even well designed lessons that can be scheduled in their class period are difficult to pull off.

      I don’t write off my secondary people, but I am sensitive to their unique needs and hurdles!!

      Thanks again for your comments!!

      • Linda McDonald says:

        Janine, I hope you didn’t take offense….you don’t write off anyone…you are the queen of all champions!!

        Theoretically – a district with limit funds (I think most of us are in that situation – real or perceived)….I would recommend a portablechoice that could be deployed based on need.

        I don’t think your secondary teachers are unique in their overwhelm with scheduling and curriculum needs. The district where I work is ULTRA tied to curriculum and high stakes assessment. One thing that I have observed is the more we focus on high stakes testing and the faster we move…the less likely we are to integrate higher level thinking. We are pushed along by bell schedules and rigorous curriculum. The focus seems to be mastery of the essential skills. BUT (climbing on my soap box) when we teach at higher levels, I beleive we meet the needs of most kids in regards to essential skills. When promoting/designing video conference sessions, my focus is on high level thinking and discussion. My skill has been developed over many years, many conversations and classes, and training, spending years in classrooms as a teachers, spending years in classrooms as a consultant/support person observing, and reading blogs from brilliant people like you….I’ve been lucky to have all of these experiences!! VC coordinators (and district administrators) must work to help teachers at all levels achieve instruction at higher-thinking levels. While it may not include a virtual field trip via video conference, it may include a video conference staff development and intercampus collaboration to build amazing lessons.

        I am just clearing the path into VC implementation at the secondary level. People are emerging from the crevices. Many of them are not core content instructors BUT through the electives are bringing rich experiences to kids that will hopefully carry over into their core content.

      • Janine Lim says:

        Oh no, I wouldn’t take offense, Linda! I love this conversation. I think it’s so important for us to keep pushing these boundaries and figuring out how to best meet the learning needs of our students.

        I like how you said you are “clearing the path”…. what strategies are you using to clear the path?!

  2. Linda McDonald says:

    Clearning the path into secondary classes:
    1. invite secondary folks to go to JAZZ
    2. Follow up one-on-one with JAZZ participants and help them implement their great ideas.
    3. Mention video conferencing potential to all teachers/admin. when you are out & about….and locate other potential champions.
    4. Follow up, follow up, follow up with your champions.
    5. When developing projects….Listen to their needs and address areas where teachers and/or students are struggling.

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