Check http://www.eschoolnews.com/resources/reports/1to1computing/ for a compendium of recent studies
Research-based Results from Educational Technology
Factors that Contribute to Improved Educational Outcomes
Margaret Honey of EDC in New Approaches to Assessing Students Technology-Based Work in Great Expectations: Leveraging Americas Investment in Educational Technology , 2002
After more than two decades of research on the benefits of educational technology, evidence that demonstrates the positive effects technology can have on student achievement is mounting. Specifically studies have shown that:
- Large-scale statewide technology implementations have correlated use of technology with increases in students performance on standardized tests.
- Software supporting the acquisition of early literacy skills - including phonemic awareness, vocabulary development, reading comprehension and spelling - can support student learning gains.
- Mathematics software, particularly programs that promote experimentation and problem solving, enable students to embrace key mathematical concepts that are otherwise difficult to grasp.
- Scientific simulations, microcomputer-based laboratories and scientific visualization tools have all been shown to result in students increased understanding of core science concepts.
We have also learned that if technologies are to be used to support real gains in educational outcomes, then five factors must be in place and working in concert.
1. There must be leadership around technology use that is anchored in solid educational objectives. Simply placing technologies in schools does little good. Effective technology use is always targeted at specific educational objectives; whether for literacy or science learning, focus is the key to success.
2. There must be sustained and intensive professional development that takes place in the service of the core vision, not simply around technology for its own sake; moreover, this development must be a process that is embedded in the culture of schools.
3. There must be adequate technology resources in the schools, including hardware and technical support to keep things running smoothly.
4. There must be recognition that real change and lasting results take time.
5. Finally, evaluations must be conducted that enable school leaders and teachers both to determine whether they are realizing their goals and to help them adjust their practice to better meet those goals.
The Most Current Empirical Research
John Schacter in The Impact of Education Technology on Student Achievement: What the Most Current Research Has to Say (1999)
These studies show that in over 700 empirical research studies, in the study of the entire state of West Virginia, in a national sample of fourth- and eighth-grade students, and in an analysis of newer educational technologies that students with access to (a) computer assisted instruction, or (b) integrated learning systems technology, or (c) simulations and software that teaches higher order thinking, or (d) collaborative networked technologies, or (e) design and programming technologies, show positive gains in achievement on researcher constructed tests, standardized tests, and national tests. There is, however, evidence in some of these studies that learning technology is less effective or ineffective when the learning objectives are unclear and the focus of the technology use is diffuse.
Improving and Changing Classroom Practice with Multimedia Learning Technologies
Changing the Face of Education in Missouri in New Horizons, 2002
Currently there are 585 eMINTS (enhancing Missouris Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies) classrooms in grades 3-12 in rural, suburban and urban settings throughout Missouri. Over 15,000 children and teachers report to eMINTS classrooms every morning. When they reach those classrooms they find a rich array of multimedia learning technologies, including:
- Teacher laptop
- Interactive whiteboard and projector
- Teacher workstation computer
- Digital camera and scanner
- One Internet-connected computer for every two students
- Software limited to Microsoft Office and Inspiration
However, what these teachers and students DO with the technology is the big story. The instructional model promoted and supported by eMINTS is inquiry-based, collaborative and multi-disciplinary in nature. Teachers must often learn to teach in very different ways from those they learned and have practiced over the years.
The analysis of MAP (Missouri Assessment Program) scores for students in eMINTS classrooms in the spring of 2001 showed that, on average, students in eMINTS classes scored higher in every subject area than other students. The analysis compared 1,836 students enrolled in eMINTS classes with 4,217 students not enrolled in eMINTS classes in the same grades and schools. In every subject area, students enrolled in third and fourth grade eMINTS classes scored higher than students not enrolled in eMINTS classes. In addition, the average eMINTS student scored higher than the statewide student average in every subject area.
Improving Student Writing with Computers
Michael Russell, Professor at the Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation, and Educational Policy at Boston College,
We just finished a meta-analysis of the effects of computers and student writing. This study focused on research performed since 1991 and found a positive effect of about .4 standard deviations on the quality of student writing and .5 standard deviations on the quantity of student writing. ...This effect tended to be larger for middle and high school students than for elementary students.
The Value of particular Technologies Targeted at Specific Educational Objectives
Robert Tinker, President of the Concord Consortium
It is as silly to ask for "a study.. of education technology" as it would be to study whether cars are useful. The are many situations in which educational technology is inappropriate or badly implemented. Similarly, there are many situations where the value of technology is so obvious that no study is needed. And there have been a wealth of rigorous studies, not just anecdotes, that show the value of particular technologies in particular contexts. There have been many reviews of these studies, such as the 1999 research review by John Schacter, available at http://web.mff.org/publications/publications.taf?page=161 and the Fall, 2000 issue of the "Future of Children" from the Packard Foundation athttp://www.futureofchildren.org/pubs-info2825/pubs-info.htm?doc_id=69787