The advancements in classroom technology over the last decades have been abundant. We’ve moved from ink and parchment to pen and paper; blackboard to whiteboard to smartboard; radio to television and video; and now to computers, laptops and adaptive learning technologies.
As technology advances, it seems like a natural choice to incorporate it into our classrooms. But how can we best take advantage of these advances and what kind of an impact will they truly have on learning?
A wealth of positive attributes, according to a recent study out of the University of Michigan led by Binbin Zheng, assistant professor of educational technology. The paper focused on K-12 schooling and reviewed almost 100 academic studies focusing on laptop programs from 2001 to present day, with a meta-analysis performed on 10 of the studies.
One of the main takeaways of the research was that students who were given laptops and provided with the right support were able to raise their level of academic achievement. Researchers found the highest improvements in the subjects of English, writing, science and math.
When it came to writing, the study found students who took part in laptop programs benefitted from higher levels of feedback, edited or revised their work more frequently, used a variety of resources and were more likely to share work with their peers.
In addition to boosting grades, it was also found that students who engaged in learning through laptops were more enthusiastic and engaged with their studies, built better student-teacher relationships and were gaining tech and problem solving skills to help usher them into the 21st century.
The study also found that in order to achieve the highest rate of success, a plan must be put in place. All of the required pieces must work together: teachers must embrace the idea, have the appropriate tech support when problems or questions arise and the laptop program must be properly incorporated with the curriculum.
The findings in this study also help quell the once-proclaimed thoughts of laptop programs not being cost-effective or helpful when it comes to learning. With the price of some laptops slipping, now might be a good time for schools to consider investing in computerized learning programs.
In addition to this study, Zheng and her co-authors believe more research should be done to provide additional proof that computerized learning programs are successful and in-hand help develop policies surrounding the use of technology in the classroom.
Have you seen success incorporating technology into your studies? Let us know in the comment section below.