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The IERI Research Community :: Projects

Best Practices - Teacher Preparation - Technology: Connections that Enhance Children's Literacy Acquisition and Reading Achievement

Linda D. Labbo


Background: Improving the preparation of reading teachers is crucial to our national goal of raising reading achievement levels for all children. Online multimedia cases of classrooms that reflect research-based instruction based on proven principles of effective instruction can play an important role in educating more effective reading teachers. Online multimedia cases that merge case-based methods with anchored, situated models of teaching and learning provide a way to improve teacher preparation and thereby raise children's reading achievement.

Purpose: The CTELL project sought to develop a rich online set of multimedia cases of best practice instruction in early reading, grades K-3 and to evaluate the consequences of using these cases for preservice teacher education.

Intervention: This project studied the impact of using the CTELL online video cases during teacher education courses in reading (K-3).

Setting: The use of the CTELL cases was studied in 20 different colleges of education around the nation over a period of two years.

Research Design: The samples used in a series of quantitative and qualitative studies consisted of pre-service teacher educators, teachers in preparation, inservice teachers. For quantitative studies, assignment to treatment and control conditions was randomly determined whenever possible.

This research project used a complex set of data collection and analytic approaches. These included: online surveys, parametric and non-parametric analyses, focus group testing, qualitative analyses, concept maps, as well as data mining and mixed-method approaches.

Findings: Project findings cluster into four major areas: (1) the use of multimedia cases in preservice literacy instruction; (2) the effect of multimedia cases on preservice teachers' conceptual change; (3) the effect of multimedia cases on preservice teachers knowledge of principles of effective reading instructions; and (4) the general effectiveness of the CTELL multimedia cases as vehicles to improve preservice literacy methods instruction, thereby improving the teaching of reading in our nation's schools.

Findings showed that all of our teacher educators were able to integrate multimedia cases into their courses to meet their course goals, but that respective course goals differed widely and influenced how the cases were used. With regard to conceptual change, CTELL case use resulted in cognitive reorganization and conceptual change in preservice-teacher subjects' reframing their ideas of how to teach reading effectively. Closely linked to the above finding, CTELL case use resulted in significant increase in preservice teachers' knowledge of effective principles of reading instruction. Finally, as a result of the above and other findings, CTELL cases were deemed to positively affect conceptual change and knowledge acquisition as compared to control groups, implying their potential to improve the effectiveness of the nation's preservice literacy teacher education programs.

Kinzer, C. K., Cammack, D. W., Labbo, L. D., Teale, W. H, & Sanny, R. (2006). The need to (re)conceptualize preservice teacher development and the role of technology in that development. In M. McKenna, L. Labbo, R. Kieffer, & D. Reinking (Eds.), International handbook of literacy and technology: Transformations in a post-typographic world. (Vol. II) (pp. 211-233). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Kinzer, C. K., Kapur, M., Cammack, D. W., & Lohnes, S. (in press). Assessing conceptual change in an anchored, case-based environment. Proceedings of the 7th Annual Meeting of the Conference of the Learning Sciences. Mawah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Kinzer, C. K., Kapur, M., Lohnes, S., Cammack, D. W., Hoffman, D., Kontovourki, S., & Turkay, S. (in press). Assessing preservice teachers' conceptual change in an Internet-based, case instructional environment. Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society/5th International Conference on Cognitive Science. Mawah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Labbo, L. D. (in press). Question: Do computers belong in primary classrooms? Simple Answer: Yes! Complex Answer: Yes but Why?*. Wisconsin State Reading Association Journal.

Labbo, L.D., Eakle, A.J., & Montero, M.K. (2002) Digital Language Experience Approach: Using digital photographs and software as a Language Experience Approach innovation. Reading Online, 5(8). Available:

Schrader, P. G., Leu, D. J., Kinzer, C. K., Ataya, R., Teale, W. H., Labbo, L. D., & Cammack, D. (2003). Using Internet delivered video cases to support pre-service teachers understanding of effective early literacy instruction: An exploratory study. Instructional Science, 31, 317-340. Also available at

Teale, W. H., Leu, D. J., Jr., Labbo, L. D., & Kinzer, C. (2002). The CTELL project: New ways technology can help educate tomorrow s teachers of reading. The Reading Teacher, 55, 654-659. Also available at

Kinzer, C. K. & Cammack, D. W. (Dec, 2001). The potential of case-based instruction in preservice literacy education. Paper presented at the National Reading Conference. San Antonio, TX.

Kinzer, C, Labbo, L. D., Leu, D. J., & Teale, W. H. (April, 2002). Best practices - teacher preparation - technology: Connections that enhance children s literacy acquisition and reading achievement. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans.

Kinzer, C., Labbo, L., Leu, D. & Teale, W. (May, 2002). Effective Use of Classroom Computers: Video Examples from K-3 Classrooms. Featured Speaker Presentation, 47th Annual meeting of International Reading Association Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Kinzer, C, Labbo, L. D., Leu, D. J., & Teale, W. H. (May, 2003). CTELL: Case Technologies in Literacy Learning. Reading Research 2003. One-Day Research conference preceding IRA s 48th Annual Convention.

Labbo, L. D. (April, 2002). Readin , Writin and Computin : Classroom Adventures in Screenland. Preconference Institute presentation, 47th Annual meeting of the International Reading Association Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Labbo, L. D. (February, 2003). Computers, Kids, Teachers and Literacy Instruction: Practical Ideas from Classrooms (and would you believe that they are all supported by research?). Keynote Speech for the Wisconsin State Reading Association Annual Conference in Milwaukee, WI.

Labbo, L. D, Eakle, J., & Love, M. (Dec, 2002). Overview of the Case Technologies Enhancing Literacy Learning (CTELL) Project - Making the complex visible. Paper presented at National Reading Conference, Miami, FLA,

Labbo, L. D., & Love, M. (Dec, 2002). Reconceptualizing classroom computer activities as semiotic acts. Paper presented at National Reading Conference, Miami, FLA.

Labbo, L. D., & Teale, W. (April, 2001). Figuring out how computers fit in: Practical Classroom applications for K-3 computer-related literacy instruction. Featured Speaker Presentation at the 46th Annual meeting of International Reading Association Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA.

Labbo, L. D., Teale, W. H., Kinzer, C. K., and Leu, D. J. (May, 2003). Kids, Computers, and Literacy Learning: Stepping into K-3 Classrooms. Featured Technology Speech at the 48th Annual meeting of the International Reading Association Conference, Orlando, FLA.

Leu, D. J. (November, 2001). New Literacies for New Times: Reading and Writing Instruction with the Internet. Keynote address at the New England Reading Association. Burlington, VT.

Leu, D. J. (December, 2001). The case for CTELL: Central issues facing pre-service teacher education in early literacy. Paper presented at the National Reading Conference. San Antonio, TX.

Leu, D. J., Ataya, R., Coiro, J., Kara-Soteriou, J., & Sulzen, J. (September, 2001) New literacies for new times: The changing nature of classroom literacy instruction as the Internet enters our classroom. An invited talk to the Connecticut Association of Reading Research. Hartford, CT.

Teale, W. H. (August, 2002). A synthesis of principles and practices of effective early literacy instruction: The results of research reviews, a national survey, and interviews with teachers who use technology for literacy instruction in outstanding ways. World Congress of the International Reading Association. Edinburgh, Scotland.

Teale, W. H. & Bassuk, S. (December, 2001). Digital interactive anchor cases: Key literacy instructional principles across early childhood classrooms. Paper presented at the National Reading Conference. San Antonio, TX.

Teale, W. H., Leu, D. J., Labbo, L. D., & Kinzer, C. (January, 2002). CTELL: A Case-Based Approach to Preservice Education for Teaching Reading in Grades K-3. Invited paper presented at the Harvard Literacy Institute. Cambridge, MA.

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