K12: Skills and Learning

How do children learn, and what does mean for how we teach? What role does digital media and other modern technology play in the learning process? What are the most effective ways to build public understanding and support when it comes to student-centered learning, personalized learning, deeper learning, 21st century skills, and related approaches to rethinking passive learning focused on “the basics”?

Public Perceptions Research

Talking About Skills and Learning: A FrameWorks MessageMemo for the Core Story of Education Project (2012). 

What are the perceptual obstacles that prevent education reformers from engaging the public in meaningful discussions about improving skills development through educational reforms large and small? New FrameWorks research begins to answer this question and the initial findings are encapsulated in this MessageMemo. This MessageMemo represents the first in a series of interpretive reports to emerge from the Core Story of Education Project.

Mapping the Gaps on Skills and Learning (2012).
This interactive multi-media report maps the gaps between the ways that the public and experts think and talk about issues of skills and learning in education. The report is a summary of findings. Those findings are then illustrated with video data pulled from peer discourse sessions.

Informational not Pedagogical: Peer Group Perceptions of Digital Media and Learning (2011).
This report shares the results of peer discourse sessions conducted with diverse groups of civically engaged people about digital media and learning. This research demonstrates the utility of explanatory metaphors in translating the expert discourse on digital media and learning to lay audiences and the necessity of both explanatory metaphors and values for garnering support for social policies that can show people how the mentored use of digital media can be used to produce better outcomes in American education.

Faster and Fancier Books: Mapping the Gaps Between Expert and Public Understandings of Digital Media and Learning (2010).
This report lays the groundwork for the larger reframing project by comparing expert discourse on this topic with the ways that average Americans talk and think about digital media and learning. Data from interviews with members of these groups are compared to examine gaps in understanding that can ultimately be addressed through strategic communication strategies.

Media Content Analyses

Where’s the Learning? An Analysis of Media Stories of Digital Media and Learning (2011).
This report examines the explicit and implicit messages embedded in the media’s presentation of issues related to digital media and learning in the nation’s newspapers, radio and TV news sources. When mainstream news outlets discuss issues related to digital media and learning, the focus is mainly on uses in the business and political sectors, ignoring the potential of digital media as interactive pedagogical tools for K-12 children. The report underscores significant opportunities to shift public understanding of this issue by framing digital media as an interactive, hands-on and engaged approach to student learning.

Field Frame Analyses

The Stories We Are Telling: How Digital Media and Learning is Communicated by Ed Reformers (2012).
This study uses a Field Frame Analysis approach to identify whether and how DML issues are presented in the education reform field. One of the most important findings of this study is that there are prominent supporters of DML in the education reform field. However, the ways in which these organizations discuss DML, and learning and technology issues more generally, may actually hinder rather than build wider support for DML programs.

Reframing Research

Weaving Skill Ropes: Using Metaphor to Enhance Understanding of Skills and Learning (2013).
This report presents "Weaving Skill Ropes" as an explanatory metaphor that helps people reason about the concepts of skills and learning: what skills children need, how these skills are learned, and how they are inter-related. The report describes the iterative research process that produced the "Weaving Skill Ropes" explanatory metaphor and provides a guide on how to use this communications tool.

Information Is the Main Ingredient: Using Metaphor to Enhance Understanding of Digital Media and Learning (2012).
This report presents the results of metaphor development research based on the use of qualitative and quantitative methods with over 2100 members of the public, as well as a usability test drive with DML advocates themselves. Our research yielded two productive metaphors: (1) Cooking with Information and (2) Information Driver. Cooking with Information is an effective metaphor in expanding the public’s understanding of using digital media as a hands-on, interactive tool for lifelong learning. Information Driver is another successful metaphor for opening up opportunities for productive discussions on teacher mentorship and the facilitated learning process.

Valuing Digital Media and Learning: A FrameWorks Research Report on Values (2012).
The experiment assessed the ability of seven candidate values to promote more productive thinking on three dimensions related to DML. Progress and Pragmatism were the highest scoring values in: (1) creating more favorable views for a role for digital media in learning, (2) increasing respondents’ acknowledgement of the benefits of digital media that experts cite, and (3) expanding support for policies that implement the kinds of interactive and experiential learning proposed by DML experts and advocates. We suspect that combining the values of Progress and Pragmatism will provide a potent “one-two” punch that could cause significant changes in the way people orient themselves toward this issue.

Digital Media and Learning

A Hands-on Approach to Talking About Learning and Digital Media: A FrameWorks MessageMemo (2012).
This new MessageMemo summarizes the findings from FrameWorks’ research and provides front-line communicators with a communications map for improving the public’s understanding of digital media and learning both in and outside of the classroom, and for increasing support for digital media and learning opportunities in education.

Video Presentations of Research

Digital Media and Learning Trigger VideoThis video is a final summary of FrameWorks' research findings and communications recommendations on Digital Media and Learning.

Digital Media and Learning Cultural Models video In this video we look at findings from Cultural Models interviews FrameWorks conducted with everyday Americans to find out how they think and talk about digital media, learning, and how the two are related. This video shows us the "pictures in their heads."

Communications Toolkits

Talking About Digital Media and Learning
Our toolkit offers a suite of empirically-based application tools to help experts and advocates build public support for digital learning policies and programs. These communication tools include talking points, frequently asked questions, sample op-eds, and key framing guides.