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Daniel Light focuses his research on the issues of school reform, social media, and the networked world, as well as technology-enhanced education across school systems both in the U.S. and internationally. He brings expertise in both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to his leadership of studies that seek to identify new strategies to improve outcomes for students, particularly those in under-resourced communities.
Light is currently coordinating the evaluation of a Sesame Workshop program on financial empowerment in India, China, Mexico, Brasil, Egypt, Chile and Bangladesh. Light is also the PI of an NSF-funded study, TwISLE (Twitter and Informal Science Learning and Engagement), that is examining the role of social media in public science discourse. To date, much of the existing literature on social media tools, such as Twitter, has involved quantitative analysis of the number of followers and has focused on the volume, rather than the nature, of the communication. In contrast, EDC's study will examine how the public understands and uses information shared by respected science institutions via social media.
Over the past 15 years, Light has led extensive research on the introduction of technology and pedagogical reform in schools throughout the developing world. He has done field research in schools in many countries, including Bosnia, Canada, China, India (Growing Changes: An Indian Case Study of Transforming Learning with Technology), Jordan, Macedonia, Russia (read a related blog post), Turkey, and Vietnam. In 2015, the United Nations' State of the World's Children 2015 report featured a chapter written by Light, and he recently authored a chapter based on his research ("Multiple Paths to the 21st Century: National Responses to Enhancing Education with ICTs in Chile, India, and Turkey") published in the book Transforming Education: Global Perspectives, Experiences and Implications.
Light has been particularly involved in studying the use of educational technologies in Latin American countries (Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, and Peru) and has shared this work in the book Las TIC en las aulas. Experiencias latinoamericanas (ICT in the Classroom: Experiences from Latin America), in journals such as Policy Futures in Education (An Educational Revolution to Support Change in the Classroom"), and at international conferences. In 2016, Light was an invited speaker at the Communicative Figurations Conference in Bremen, Germany; the International Conference of Education, Research, and Innovatoin in Seville, Spain; and the IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies in Athens, Greece.
His research in the U.S. has encompassed a broad range of topics, including comprehensive systems of learning supports, innovative models of high school education, technology integration, the evaluation of youth development and school-to-work programs, the design of technology-related needs assessment instruments, impact studies of technology use with students, and the role of guidance counseling in helping students plan for the future. He has published this work extensively in case studies, reports, and articles, including: Rebuilding for Learning (Gainesville, GA case study); Integrating Web 2.0 Tools Into the Classroom: Changing the Culture of Learning); and "Principals for Web 2.0 Success" (Learning & Leading with Technology). (Visit ResearchGate and Academia.edu to view all of Light's publications.)
He received an MA in International Affairs from Carleton University, Canada, an MA in Sociology and Historical Studies from the New School for Social Research, and a PhD in Sociology from the New School for Social Research.