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University of Connecticut Neag School of Education ORCA

ORCA Project News

2015

A study from the ORCA project appeared in Reading Research Quarterly, the flagship journal of reading research. The study showed a significant and separate online reading achievement gap based on income inequality when pretest differences in offline reading, offline writing, and prior knowledge were controlled.

Leu, D.J., Forzani, E., Rhoads, C., Maykel, C., Kennedy, C., & Timbrell, N. (2015). The new literacies of online research and comprehension: Rethinking the reading achievement gap. Reading Research Quarterly, 50(1), 37-59. Newark, DE: International Reading Association. doi: 10.1002/rrq.85. Available here: (http://www.edweek.org/media/leu%20online%20reading%20study.pdf)

An article about this study appeared in The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/24/us/academic-skills-on-web-are-tied-to-income-level.html)

Another article about this study appeared in Education Week (http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2014/09/online_reading_achievement_gap_leu.html)

The article was the most widely discussed article in social media appearing in Reading Research Quarterly and it ranked in the top 10% of all 2,816,478 articles across all journals tracked by Almetric in January of 2015. See Report. (http://www.altmetric.com/details.php?domain=onlinelibrary.wiley.com&citation_id=2699126)
 

The ORCA assessments have been placed online for practitioners and researchers to use. They are available here. (http://www.orca.uconn.edu/professional-development/understanding/using-the-orcas/ )

We have created an online professional development site for teaching and assessing online research and comprehension skills with the ORCAs. The professional development site is available here. (http://www.orca.uconn.edu/professional-development/understanding/about/ )

A chapter was completed on the nature of writing during online research and comprehension and was accepted for publication in the major handbook of writing research. The chapter incorporated data and studies from the ORCA Project:

Leu, D.J., Slomp, D., Zawilinski, L., & Corrigan, J. (in press). Writing from a new literacy lens. In Charles A. MacArthur, Steve Graham, Jill Fitzgerald (Eds.) Handbook of Writing Research, Second Edition. New York: Guilford Press.

A chapter was completed and accepted for publication in a major new handbook of research on individual differences in reading. The chapter incorporated data and studies from the ORCA Project:

Leu, D.J., Kiili, C., & Forzani, E. (in press). Individual differences in the new literacies of online research and comprehension. To appear in: Afflerbach, P. (Ed.) Handbook of Individual Differences in Reading: Reader, Text, and Context. New York: Routledge

Two practitioner-oriented articles were completed and accepted for publication in the flagship journal for reading instruction: Reading Teacher:

Leu, D.J., Forzani, E., Timbrell, N., & Maykel, C. (in press). Seeing the forest, not the trees: Essential technologies for literacy in the primary and upper elementary grade classroom. The Reading Teacher. Newark, DE: International Literacy Association.

Leu, D.J., Forzani, E., & Kennedy, C (2015). Income inequality and the online reading achievement gap: Teaching our way to success with online research and comprehension. The Reading Teacher. Vol. 68(6), 422–427. DOI:10.1002/trtr.1328 Newark, DE: International Literacy Association

 

2014

Clint Kennedy, Cheryl Maykel, and Nicole Timbrell taught an innovative online course with video and other technologies for masters students on new literacies in school classrooms, EPSY5198-001.

Nicole Timbrell, from Loreto Kirribilli in Sydney Australia spent a year as a member of the New Literacies Research Lab and as a graduate research assistant on the ORCA Project. Nicole is a secondary English teacher in Australia.

Elena Forzani presented a keynote address to the International Reading Association’s Preconvention Institute, “Increasing the Rigor and Authenticity of Reading and Writing Instruction: Research to Practice.” She spoke on “Shifting Literacy from Page to Screen: Teaching The New Literacies of Online Research and Comprehension in the K- 12 Classroom.”

PIRLS will be using an adaptation of the ORCA assessments, ePIRLS, developed at the New Literacies Research Lab, in their international assessment of reading among 10 year olds. They will be testing online research and comprehension skills such as locating, evaluating, synthesizing, and communicating with online information.

The New Literacies Research Lab organized a symposium at the American Educational Research Association in Philadelphia that featured innovative research and development taking place in the assessment of online research, problem solving, and literacy. Groups from the New Literacies Research Lab, the PIAAC international assessment of workforce preparedness funded by OECD, and the GIZA Project at Educational Testing Services, funded by IES and the RFU initiative, presented their instruments and research results.

A chapter appeared, discussing the ORCA Project in a prominent book for practitioners:

Leu, D.J., Zawilinski, L., Forzani, E., & Timbrell, N. (2014). Best practices in new literacies and the new literacies of online research and comprehension. In Morrow, L.M. & Gambrell, L. B. (Eds.) Best practices in literacy instruction. 5th Edition. New York: Guilford Press.

A study from ORCA Project data has been submitted for publication to the leading journal in applied measurement in education:

Cui, W., Sedransk, N., & Kulikowich, J. M. (in review). Evaluating multidimensionality in a performance based assessment of online reading comprehension. Manuscript submitted originally to Journal of Educational Measurement. Revised manuscript submitted to Applied Measurement in Education

 

2013

The European Reading Conference, “New Challenges – New Literacies” took place in Jönköping, Sweden. Don Leu delivered the keynote address: “The new literacies of online research and comprehension: Reading with a lens to the past and a lens to the future.”

Out of Print, a documentary narrated by Meryl Streep and directed by Vivienne Roumani, featured Don Leu, Jeff Bezos, Ray Bradbury, Scott Turow, Jeffrey Toobin, and others exploring the changes that are taking place to reading online. The movie premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

Elena Forzani and Cheryl Maykel, doctoral students at the research lab, received the Wirth-Santoro Award for Outstanding Literacy Research from the Connecticut Association for Reading Research. The award was presented for their study, “Evaluating Connecticut Students’ Ability to Critically Evaluate Online Information.”

Dr. Carita Kiili, formerly a doctoral student scholar at the New Literacies Research Lab, won the CICERO Learning 2012 doctoral thesis prize for her work entitled “Online reading as an individual and social practice.” The thesis, graded laudatur, was awarded by University of Jyväskylä in Finland. A video of Carita, describing her research, appears here.

Elena Forzani received a pre-doctoral fellowship from the Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut.

A research team at the University of Jyväskylä was awarded funding from the Finnish Academy of Science for their eSeek Project, a neuro psychology project to study cognitive processes associated with the new literacies of online research and comprehension. They used a Finnish version of the ORCA assessments, developed at The New Literacies Research Lab. Don Leu served as a consultant for the project.

 

2012

The annual conference of the Australian Literacy Educators Association in Sydney, Australia featured Don Leu, who delivered the keynote address: “Preparing students for their literacy and learning future: The new literacies of online information and communication.”

An article published by members of the New Literacies Research Lab team in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy was the most frequently downloaded article in that journal during 2012: Leu, D.J., McVerry, J.G., O’Byrne, W. I., Kiili, C., Zawilinski, L. Everett-Cacopardo, H., Kennedy, C., & Forzani, E. (2011). The new literacies of online reading comprehension: Expanding the literacy and learning curriculum. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 55(1). 5-14. International Reading Association.

Donna Bone was promoted to Business Manager for the New Literacies Research Lab.

 

2011

CNN interviewed Don Leu about adolescents’ ability to think critically about information they encounter online, work conducted at the New Literacies Research Lab with Dr. David Reinking at Clemson University.

Don Leu presented the Green Honors Chair Lecture at Texas Christian University.

Don Leu received the A.B. Herr Award for distinguished service in reading by the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers. The award recognizes a professional educator who has made outstanding contributions to the field of reading.

A practitioner-oriented article appeared in the leading journal of adolescent literacy and included data from the ORCA Project. According to the editors, it was the most frequently downloaded article during 2012:

Leu, D.J., McVerry, J.G., O’Byrne, W. I., Kiili, C., Zawilinski, L. Everett-Cacopardo, H., Kennedy, C., & Forzani, E. (2011). The new literacies of online reading comprehension: Expanding the literacy and learning curriculum. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 55(1). 5-14. International Reading Association. doi:10.1598/JAAL.55.1.1

 

2010

Carita Kiili, an advanced doctoral student at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland joined us as a visiting doctoral scholar and a member of The New Literacies Research Team. She worked on a study of collaborative online reading and research among secondary students and participated in work on the ORCA project and other research and professional development projects.

 

2009

Dr. Lisa Kervin from the University of Wollongong joined us at the New Literacies Research Lab as a Visiting Scholar, participating in work on the ORCA project and other research and professional development projects that were underway.

The New Literacies Research Lab was awarded a $2.8 million research grant to develop practical, reliable, and valid assessments of online research and comprehension with colleagues at the National Institute of Science, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Rhode Island.

The Finnish Reading Association and the University of Jyväskylä convened a fall conference on new literacies. Don Leu presented a keynote address.