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Researchers To Address Education in the Digital Age

Washington, D.C., policy research briefing looks at impact of technology on learning

  • Experts examine how technology alters landscape for teachers, students
  • Top Northwestern researchers include Ellen Wartella, Eszter Hargittai and David Figlio
  • Panelists speak at noon Tuesday, May 19, in Washington, D.C.
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Can online education replace traditional instruction? Will high-tech tools improve or exacerbate inequities in the classroom? Northwestern University researchers will address these and other questions during “Education in the Digital Age,” a policy research briefing to be held in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, May 19.

The digital revolution has helped usher in a new era in the classroom. Whether through MOOCs -- massive open online courses -- or programs that equip all students with laptops or tablets, technology is transforming many fundamental aspects of teaching and learning.

But the best way to integrate these new methods inside schools is the subject of intense debate. Experts from Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research (IPR) will discuss their research on how technology impacts learning at the May 19 event, which is co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley and Robert Dold.

The event is open to the public; reporters are welcome. Register by today, Friday, May 15.

Panelists include:

Ellen Wartella: “Parents, Pencils, and iPads: Developing Pre-K Curriculum Standards for Technology in the Classroom”

Wartella, the Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor of Communication and an associate of the Institute for Policy Research, is a leading scholar on the role of media in children’s development. She is the director of the Center on Media and Human Development at Northwestern and chair of the department of communication studies. Wartella is co-principal investigator on a five-year multi-site grant from the National Science Foundation titled “Collaborative Research: Using Educational DVDs to Enhance Young Children’s STEM Education (2013-2018).”

Eszter Hargittai:Digital Natives or Digital Naives? The Internet Skills Gap Among Young Adults”

Hargittai, Delaney Family Professor in the department of communication studies and an IPR associate, heads the Web Use Project at Northwestern. Her research focuses on the social and policy implications of digital media; she has a particular interest in how differences in people's Web use skills influence what they do online.

David Figlio: “Learning in Cyberspace vs. Classrooms: Can Online Education Replace Traditional Instruction?”

Figlio is the director of IPR and the Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy and of economics at Northwestern. He’ll be discussing recent research on the relative impacts of online delivery versus face-to-face instruction. “While a move toward online education may offer some benefits in terms of reduced costs and increased flexibility for students, there may be real costs in student learning that counterbalance these benefits,” Figlio said.

  • When: Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 12 to 1:30 p.m.
  • Where: Rayburn House Office Building, B340 50 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C.
  • Register online by Friday, May 15. Seating is limited. Lunch will be served.

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