Techno-glitter

Giving laptops to students may be a waste of money, notes USA Today.

Taxpayer-supported school computer and Internet giveaways are political gold, but studies have questioned whether they actually help student achievement. This research, presented at the American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting, confirms skeptics’ doubts.

Using computers to teach reading in the early grades had negative results.

Via This Week in Education.

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Comments

  1. photoncourier.blogspot.com says:

    Michael Schrage of MIT has some interesting thoughts on computers in the classroom, which I summarize here.

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    As opposed to books?
    While there are fitness advantages to carrying around half your weight in books, I would suspect that other activities could substitute. Laptops should not be considered a game, but an interactive book and drill mechanism.

  3. Jack Tanner says:

    ‘Giving laptops to students may be a waste of money’

    Knock me over with a feather. Whoda thunk?

  4. Wayne Martin says:

    I don’t have much use for USA Today as a general rule, so I contacted Jing Lei, the author of this work, for more details. Ms. Lei promptly returned the following executive summary of her research, and permission to post on this WEB-site:

    One-To-One Computing: What Does It Bring To Schools?

    Jing Lei
    Syracuse University
    Yong Zhao
    Michigan State University

    Executive Summary

    This study examined the impact of one-to-one computing on student learning and school culture. Specifically, the study attempted to answer three questions: 1) How students used their laptops? 2) What impact one-to-one computing had on student learning and parental involvement; and 3) What were the perception of and concerns over one-to-one computing? The data included surveys, observations, and interviews with teachers, students and parents. The data were collected over a period of one year—the first year of the implementation of the project.

    1) How did students use their laptops?
    Students on average spent about 2-3 hours a day working on their laptops (7.7% less than 1 hour/day, 24.6% 1-2 hours/day, 30.8% 2-3 hours/day, and 36.9% more than 3 hours/day).Students spent most of the time in school on learning activities. The most popular use of laptops was doing homework (81.4%), followed by searching information for school work (71.4%), and communicating with teachers and friends (65.8%).

    2) What was the impact on student learning and parental involvement?
    a. Student technology proficiency increased significantly (pI don’t have much use for USA Today as a general rule, so I contacted Jing Lei, the author of this work, for more details. Ms. Lei promptly returned the following executive summary of her research, and permission to post on this WEB-site:

    One-To-One Computing: What Does It Bring To Schools?

    Jing Lei
    Syracuse University
    Yong Zhao
    Michigan State University

    Executive Summary

    This study examined the impact of one-to-one computing on student learning and school culture. Specifically, the study attempted to answer three questions: 1) How students used their laptops? 2) What impact one-to-one computing had on student learning and parental involvement; and 3) What were the perception of and concerns over one-to-one computing? The data included surveys, observations, and interviews with teachers, students and parents. The data were collected over a period of one year—the first year of the implementation of the project.

    1) How did students use their laptops?
    Students on average spent about 2-3 hours a day working on their laptops (7.7% less than 1 hour/day, 24.6% 1-2 hours/day, 30.8% 2-3 hours/day, and 36.9% more than 3 hours/day).Students spent most of the time in school on learning activities. The most popular use of laptops was doing homework (81.4%), followed by searching information for school work (71.4%), and communicating with teachers and friends (65.8%).

    2) What was the impact on student learning and parental involvement?
    a. Student technology proficiency increased significantly (p

  5. While we don’t have access to the full text of the research report, from the executive summary it looks like CV-filler.

    Certainly nothing in the executive summary sheds light on how to improve the use of computers in education or offers much useful information of any kind. The executive summary has far too much emphasis on preceptions, feelings and beliefs with little of substance.

  6. Wayne Martin says:

    > Certainly nothing in the executive summary
    > sheds light on how to improve the use of
    > computers in education or offers much
    > useful information of any kind. The
    > executive summary has far too much
    > emphasis on preceptions, feelings and
    > beliefs with little of substance.

    Agreed. Don’t have a clue if there is anything of substance in this work.