The Impact of Education Technology on Student Achievement
The purpose of this briefing is to outline what we know about the impact of education technology on learning and to identify resources for further study.
Research on the impact of technology on learning is in its infancy though we are beginning to see solid work emerge. In this report, we look at some large scale state and national studies as well as some innovative smaller studies that provide visions for new uses of technology in learning and instruction.
There are 5 large scale studies of education technology to date. These studies were selected for their scope, comprehensive samples, and generalizability to local, state, ...view middle of the document...
Sivin-Kachala's Review of the Research
Jay Sivin-Kachala (1998) reviewed 219 research studies from 1990 to 1997 to assess the effect of technology on learning and achievement across all learning domains and all ages of learners: From his analysis of these individual studies he reported the following consistent patterns:
Students in technology rich environments experienced positive effects on achievement in all major subject areas.
Students in technology rich environments showed increased achievement in preschool through higher education for both regular and special needs children.
Students' attitude toward learning and their own self-concept improved consistently when computers were used for instruction.
The level of effectiveness of educational technology is influenced by the specific student population, the software design, the educator's role, and the level of student across the technology.
The Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT)
In their evaluation of the Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow, Baker, Gearhart, and Herman (1994) assessed the impact of interactive technologies on teaching and learning in five school sites across the nation (e.g., California, Tennessee, Minnesota, and Ohio). The goals of ACOT were to encourage instructional innovation, and to emphasize to teachers the potential of computers to support student innovative, long-term projects, access to multiple resources, and cooperative learning. Over the course of the five year initiative, comparisons were made of a)ACOT students' basic skills performance to nationally reported norms, b)ACOT students' progress and achievement over time, and c) ACOT teachers' teaching practices.
The ACOT experience appeared to result in new learning experiences requiring higher level reasoning and problem solving, although the authors claim this finding was not conclusive.
ACOT did have a positive impact on student attitudes and did have an impact on changing teacher teaching practices toward more cooperative group work and less teacher stand-up lecturing.
On standardized tests including vocabulary, reading comprehension, mathematics concepts, and work-study, ACOT students performed no better than comparison groups or nationally reported norms who did not have access to computers or to the teaching and learning reforms implemented in ACOT schools.
West Virginia's Basic Skills/Computer Education (BS/CE) Statewide Initiative
Dale Mann's (1999) study of the state of West Virginia's Basic Skills/Computer Education (BS/CE) program analyzed a representative sample of 950 fifth-grade students' achievement from 18 elementary schools across the state. These fifth-grade students had been participating in the West Virginia BS/CE program since 1991-92. Data was also collected from 290 teachers to show the influence...