Performance of students in programs that try to equip each child and teacher with a laptop are outperforming their peers in traditional classrooms, according to a new study.
Findings in schools that participated in the 1 to 1 program show that students are more engaged and exhibit higher achievement, according to the Journal of Technology, Learning and Assessment.
There is a caveat in the team's findings, however.
Schools with a total approach -- including training staff for best practices, supportive administrations, and strong leadership -- exhibited tangible results.
Conversely, institutions that were autonomous, idiosyncratic, non-collaborative, and non-differentiated teaching practices, showed no benefit, the study states.
One such hyped initiatives in recent years is Maine's Learning and Technology Initiative, one of the largest scale deployments of 1 to 1 in the country.
The program, launched in 2001, was a statewide launch costing nearly $120 million. Results left something to be desired, however, as researchers found negligible improvement in students, and almost half of teachers using them to provide instruction.
While most deployments simply replaced paper with computers, the authors recommends 6 ways that schools should reform to make the adoption of technology, or any other cognitive tool effective. When done so, no question arises about getting teachers to use the computers, the authors state.
With the practice of teaching and learning so deeply embedded in the rules, design, collaboration, schema, and feedback processes of the
school, its capacity to function is only possible using those tools.
When a school reaches this point, it is a self-organizing learning enterprise, the report states.
These environments yielded students that outperformed their traditional classroom peers on English/Language Arts standardized tests by a statistically significant margin.
Study authors also reported on evidence of increased student motivation and engagement, as well as changes in teachers' instructional practices.
The special edition of the journal, published by Boston College, represents the first collection of findings involving the effectiveness of the program.