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2003 Quaker Valley Digital School District Early Effects and Plans for Future Evaluation

Date: December 2003
Author: Kerri A. Kerr, John F. Pane, Heather Barney
Affiliation: Rand Education
Keywords: change, motivation, teaching


The Quaker Valley School District was one of three districts selected by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to receive a two-year "Digital School District" grant beginning in 2001. Key technology provisions in Quaker Valley's proposal were to supply laptop computers to every student in grades 3-12, to set up wireless networks in all district buildings and several community sites, and to provide wireless Internet connections in the homes of all students in grades 3-12.

The purpose of this report is twofold. First, to provide a limited evaluation of the implementation and impacts of the Digital School District (DSD) program at the end of the grant period, based on data previously collected by the district and its formative evaluator as well as limited qualitative data collection by RAND during a 3-day site visit. Second, to provide a conceptual framework and Theory of Change describing the Quaker Valley program, and a research design for a future, more comprehensive evaluation of the initiative.

Key Findings:

Positive for students:

* benefits from increased awareness and competence with technology

* motivation and engagement increases were reported

* increased confidence, more willingness to work with and teach other students, and improved communication skills

* some taking more responsibility for their own learning

Negative for students:

* some inappropriate use, and

* some experienced social difficulties due to excessive use of the computers

Positive for teachers:

* increased availability of new materials and activities for lessons, and

* increased capacity for communication with students, parents, peers, and principals.

Negative for teachers:

* increase in workload related to using the technology for both administrative and instructional purposes.

Source Article: http://www.rand.org/pubs/technical_reports/TR107/