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2005 A Study of One-to-One Computer Use in Mathematics and Science Instruction at the Secondary Level in Henrico County Public Schools

Date: February 2005
Author: Andrew A. Zucker, Raymond McGhee
Affiliation: SRI International
Keywords: math, science, middle schoolhigh school, hardware support


This report describes the findings of the evaluation of HCPS's Teaching and Learning Initiative, conducted by SRI International (SRI) and Education Development Center (EDC) and based on data collected through the end of the 2003-2004 school year.The overall goal of the project is to increase understanding of one-to-one computing initiatives, especially in mathematics and science education.By giving laptop computers to more than 25,000 teachers and students in grades 6 to 12, Henrico County Public Schools (HCPS) in Virginia became the largest school district in the United States to implement one-to-one computing in its middle and high schools. HCPS established wireless local area networks in all of its schools, invested in new hardware and software, and provided a range of technology professional development to support the use the laptops in daily instruction.The SRI-EDC team was interested in documenting a variety of teaching and learning practices with laptops in which teachers and students participated, and identifying some of the structures and resources within the schools and the division that influenced laptop use.

Key Findings:

Visits from the evaluators combined with surveys revealed that laptops were being used frequently and in a variety of ways. In Science, uses included virtual dissections, virtual field trips, lab write-ups, drill-and-practice statewide tests, databases and spreadsheets, WebQuests, and the creation of Web pages. In Mathematics, students used computer assisted instruction software, sketchpad software, spreadsheets, drawing programs, and sites where teachers create tests that student's access online.

From interviews with students, teachers, parents, and administration it was concluded that there was:

* greater access to resources and information available to students and families

* increased student motivation, engagement, interest, and self directed learning

* more student interaction with teachers

* better-organized students

* easier access by teachers and students to up-to-date instructional content

* more flexibility for teachers during instruction

* increased professional productivity and greater collaboration among teachers

* improved home-school communication

* an increased need for planning time to make good use of the laptops

* added challenges for teachers to manage classrooms and discipline.

* Extensive staff development provided by technology trainers in every building was essential for program success.

* Hardware, software, and technical support, available in each building, was essential for program success.

* While the program's success was aided by high-level instructional and technical support, barriers included high incidence of breakage and repair, short laptop battery life, students' forgetting to bring laptops to school, management and discipline incidence, and time for teachers to plan and develop lessons.

* As one looks into the future, HCPS's one-to-one initiative, like all others, will change and evolve in response to changes in technology and what HCPS learns about implementation. Given the positive findings about the laptop initiatives in HCPS, as well as the one in Maine, where all middle school students statewide have been provided with laptop computers, it is not surprising that many other districts and states are investigating and implementing one-to-one computing initiatives in some of their schools. The declining costs of digital equipment, combined with the reported benefits of providing computers to all teachers and students, suggests that one-to-one computing in schools will eventually include millions of students in schools across the country.

Source Article: http://ubiqcomputing.org/FinalReport.pdf