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IES Grant

Title: Developing Seamless Blended Learning Through Collaborative In-Class and Online Dialogue About Critical Civic Issues to Improve Elementary Students' Interpersonal Competencies and Academic Achievement
Center: NCER Year: 2020
Principal Investigator: Lin, Tzu-Jung Awardee: Ohio State University
Program: Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (07/01/2020 – 06/30/2024) Award Amount: $1,399,999
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A200364

Co-Principal Investigators: Glassman, Michael; Anderman, Eric

Purpose: More elementary schools nowadays provide students with laptops and Internet connectivity, but limited research on blended learning has been done at the elementary level. This project aims to iteratively develop and evaluate a seamless blended dialogic intervention where the attributes of both face-to-face and online discussions reinforce each other to promote elementary students' interpersonal competencies and academic achievement.

Project Activities: During phase one, researchers will iteratively develop and refine the blended dialogic intervention and determine its usability and feasibility. During phase two, the researchers will implement a small-scale cluster-level randomized control pilot study to evaluate the promise of the intervention and its cost.

Products: The products of this project will include a fully developed blended dialogic intervention focused on civics content, information about the cost to implement the intervention in elementary schools, and evidence of its promise for improving elementary students' interpersonal competencies and academic achievement. The project will result in peer-reviewed presentations and publications as well as additional dissemination products that reach education stakeholders such as practitioners and policymakers.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The study will take place in public elementary schools located in two suburban districts in Central Ohio representing a wide range of student populations.

Sample: Twenty-eight social studies teachers and approximately 740 fourth- and fifth- grade students from the 2 districts will participate in the study. The first set of development iterations will involve four teachers and their classes. The second set will involve eight classes including the same four teachers and four new teachers. The pilot study will involve 20 other teachers and their classes.

Intervention: The intervention is built upon prior work on collaborative critical dialogue. Social studies teachers will serve as the primary instructors. The intervention involves four 2-week civic learning units. The curriculum will be implemented based on a social constructivist approach in which teachers facilitate collaborative critical dialogue based on three design principles and 10 principle-aligned key components.

Research Design and Methods: The project will occur in two phases: The first phase focuses on intervention development and establishing feasibility and fidelity. Implementation and iterative revision of the units will continue throughout six cycles of development. Each cycle includes field-testing, reviewing, and revising the units. The second phase focuses on a small-scale cluster-level randomized control pilot study using multiple data analytic approaches in evaluating efficacy, feasibility, and fidelity. Within each grade and within each district, schools matched on student demographics will be randomly assigned to either the treatment or control condition.

Key Measures: Interpersonal competencies are assessed by self-report measures of conflict resolution style inventory, civic participation, social value, teacher-report of interpersonal competence, peer nominations of social behavior, and peer rating of social acceptance. Epistemic competencies are assessed by a reflective essay task. Social relationships are assessed by friendship nominations and classroom network centrality. Academic achievement is based on Ohio's State Test scores in English Language Arts and Math.

Control Condition: The control condition during the pilot study will be classrooms of the same grades in a business-as-usual (BAU) condition.

Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will analyze qualitative data sources using a thematic analysis and multiple case study and conduct repeated measures analyses of covariance on pre- and post-tests collected in Phase 1. Intervention efficacy will be evaluated using (generalized) growth curve models and three-level hierarchical linear models based on the data collected in Phase 2. The theory of change will be explored using a multigroup bootstrapping mediation analysis.

Cost Analysis: Researchers will conduct a cost analysis of the blended dialogic intervention during two phases of the study using the ingredients method of cost analysis.