Byeong-Young Cho - Research and Grants


Cho, B-Y., & Fraundorf, S. (July 2018-June 2020). Examining How Metacognitive Knowledge Intervention Can Facilitate Digital Literacy: An Experimental Study of High School Learners. LRDC Internal Research Award

How can students identify and use reliable Internet sources? Digital literacy is central to success in college, career, and life. However, many students fail to successfully read, write, and think in Internet environments because they lack appropriate thinking strategies for the nebulous space of the Internet, in which an unprecedented number of information sources need to be located, evaluated, and integrated. These metacognitive and digital literacy skills are often missing in current literacy curricula, so there is a critical need to identify approaches to instruction that would prepare students for an increasingly complex knowledge society.

In this project, we develop and test a metacognitive intervention to support college students’ Internet inquiry on a socio-scientific issue and their strategic processing of digital sources of information. We hypothesize that student performance can be enhanced with metacognitive knowledge of what, how, and especially why literacy strategies work in the digital environment. The goals of our project are rooted in the interdisciplinary nature of the PIs’ background in literacy education and cognitive psychology. First, we test the predictions of learning theories about what kinds of metacognitive knowledge are most relevant to digital literacy performance. Second, we seek scientific evidence on the most pedagogically effective ways to enhance metacognition in education and digital literacy. Ultimately, we aim to acquire insights to creating a prolonged, sustainable approach to teaching learners the high-level literacies required for learning in the digital age.

Ok, H., Cho, B-Y., Seo, S., Kim, J., & Kim, J-Y. (November 2016-October 2019). Development of an assessment prototype for the cognitive domain of digital literacy. Grant funded by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2016S1A5A2A03926657).
Cho, B-Y., & Rainey, E. (January 2018). Promoting Disciplinary Literacy and Learning through Multisource Text Inquiries: An Instructional Study of Middle School Learners. Spencer Small Research Grant

The proposed study examines middle-school students’ literacy and history learning during a 3-week unit designed to engage them in multisource text inquiries about salient questions of local history. In the unit, students will be supported to learn how to critically examine primary and secondary sources, generate their own questions of history, and present informed stances on current events based on historical understandings. Our project seeks to generate knowledge about the nuances of student learning in a loosely designed inquiry cycle that more closely approximates that of a historian than what is typically found in classrooms. Also, we seek to build understandings of the instructional affordances and potential challenges of engaging students in these highly sophisticated disciplinary literacy practices. Key practices to be learned include discipline-specific ways of grappling with unsettled questions of history, combing through archives and selecting sources, and developing and sharing an informed stance with an interested audience. The focus of the unit is on Pittsburgh’s Hill District, a historically Black neighborhood in Pittsburgh that was destroyed in the name of “urban renewal” in the 1950s-60s. Primary data sources include classroom video, daily student writing samples, pre/post-tests, cognitive interviews, and small group presentations given by students.

Cho, B-Y. w/ Kucan, L. & Rainey, E. (January-December 2018). Digital citizens think critically: Engaging students in learning through interactive digital sources. Mitroff Research Award.

The proposed study is focused on the intersection of students' history learning and their digital literacy engagement. Specifically, the study examines how middle school students learn about the recent Lower Hill District redevelopment plan and the history that is needed to contextualize that plan. Student learning will involve the investigation of multiple sources in an interactive digital archive. Research questions driving the investigation center on how students make use of these resources to develop informed perspectives on the controversial issue.

Research Interests

Byeong-Young Cho


University of Pittsburgh
5114 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260