It’s one of the most basic questions in K-12 education: What does the research say?
A new online tool aims to give both ed-tech developers and school officials a simple way to get an answer. Visitors to the interactive platform can search and filter academic research on areas of interest to schools, from the impact of different classroom strategies to studies focused on specific academic subjects.
Digital Promise, a nonprofit interested in promoting educational technology and the use of research in schools, says it created the “research map” with both companies and schools in mind, so each set of players could probe academic scholarship independently, based on their needs.
The map allows users to search a database of research drawn from 183 academic journals, with roughly 6,000 articles. But its reach is even broader, in that it allows users to analyze trends across academic research drawn from about 100,000 articles.
The tool is meant to act as a “starting point” for ed-tech developers and K-12 officials, said Aubrey Francisco, Digital Promise’s research director. The organization started, she said, with the question “How can we make it easier for educators and product developers to access research?”
For both companies and K-12 educators, the reality is “you don’t know what you don’t know,” Francisco said. “If you don’t know what research is out there, you can’t find it” and use it.
Some articles are available free online. Others are behind paywalls. Digital Promise’s site, however, also gives boiled-down summaries of research on various academic topics, with citations to more detailed scholarship.
A version of this article appeared in the May 18, 2016 edition of Education Week as New Online Tool Maps Research for Education Practitioners