Schools that provide their students with a laptop each and extend the required technological support to its teachers and students, give better academic results than schools that do not invest in technology, finds a new study.
Researchers analysed years of studies on “one-to-one” laptop programme, and found that such programmes that take a comprehensive approach were linked to higher test scores in English, math, science and writing, along with other benefits.
“In the past couple decades, one-to-one laptop programmes have spread widely, but so has debate about whether they are cost-effective and beneficial to educational outcomes,” said Binbin Zheng from Michigan State University in the US.
“I believe this technology, if implemented correctly, is worth the cost and effort because it lifts student achievement, enhances engagement and enthusiasm among students, improves teacher-student relationships and promotes 21st century skills such as technological proficiency and problem solving,” said Zheng.
One-to-one laptop programmes, in which each student in a class, grade level, school or district gets a computer, can improve educational outcomes when there is teacher buy-in, suitable technical support and professional development for teachers, and appropriate implementation with the curriculum, researchers said.
In addition to improved scores on standardised tests, the benefits of successful laptop programmes include an improved writing process, they said.
“Students received more feedback on their writing, edited and revised their papers more often, drew on a wider range of resources to write and published or shared their work with others more often,” said Zheng.
Researchers reviewed nearly 100 academic studies on one-to-one laptop programmes dating back to 2001, although only 10 of the studies were scientifically rigorous enough to use in a statistical “meta-analysis.” Knowing the general impact of these programmes can help school districts better shape their technology policies, said researchers.
The findings were published in the journal Review of Educational Research.
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