Internet insights

1st December 2000 at 00:00
TEACHERS and educational researchers often seem to be worlds apart. But from this month that could all change - - at least as far as literacy work is concerned.

Thanks to the National Literacy Trust it is now possible for teachers and students to access the early results of studies and contact researchers in this field. The horse's mouth is just a click and an

e-mail away.

The trust has brought together 50 UK literacy experts and 35 current or recent research projects on a single website. Direct contact might be more than most people need, but teachers will find the site worth browsing nevertheless.

Researchers such as Maria Evangelou, a research student at Oxford University, also stand to benefit. She is investigating the effects of an Oxfordshire experiment that is trying to boost the literacy of children from disadvantaged backgrounds by working with families from the moment of birth. Normally, her findings would filter out over several years, through conference papers, journal articles and perhaps a book chapter. Literacy co-ordinators in schools beyond Oxfordshire might never hear about her work, but now he will have a worldwide audience.

Among the other researchers listed on the site are Michael Rice at the Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University, who has found that, contrary to expectations, dyslexics in his prison survey were no more common than in the general population. Martin Coles of Nottingham is investigating the ways in which beginning readers make sense of computer screens.

Frank Hardman's north-east team are looking at how good teachers make the Literacy Hour work, and Marion Meiers in Australia is tracking the progress of 1,000 children. She has already produced preliminary findings and the site gives contact details and access to her first conference paper at http:www.acer.edu.auacerworkshopsliteracyconference.html.

The trust's research index is readily searchable by researcher, project and theme.

Robin Close, a policy analyst at the trust, can be contacted at r.close@mcmail.com. The address for the index is

www.literacytrust.org.ukresearchresearchindex3.html

Readers can e-mail suggestions on future Internet sites to Sam

Saunders at J.P.Saunders@leeds.ac.uk


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