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2005 Technology Promoting Student Excellence: An Investigation of the First Year of 1:1 Computing in New Hampshire Middle Schools

Date: 2005
Author: Damian Bebell
Affiliation: Boston College
Keywords: engagement, motivation, achievement, interactions


Despite continued interest in and excitement about 1:1 computing, few research studies fully address the impacts on teaching and learning in these intensive computing environments. Given the initial positive results of recent 1:1 research and program evaluations, especially the Maine seventh and eighth grade statewide program, more public and policy-maker attention has turned to 1:1 technology as a promising educational reform.

The current paper presents a program evaluation of the initial nine months of a 1:1 laptop program across six New Hampshire middle schools. The analysis of the New Hampshire data reflects many of the most cited benefits of 1:1 computing including: increased teacher and student use of technology across the curriculum, increased student engagement and motivation, and improved teacher-student interactions. In addition, participating teachers report improvements in student achievement and students' ability to retain content material.

Key Findings:

Initial findings are consistent with many of the most cited benefits of 1:1 computing including:

* increased student engagement (Russell, Bebell, Cowan & Corbelli, 2003),

* decreased disciplinary problems (MEPRI, 2003),

* increased use of computers for writing (Russell, Bebell, & Higgins, 2004), and

* teachers' perceived increase in students' academic performance (GMSP, 2004).

Like other studies of 1:1 computing (Russell, Bebell, & Higgins, 2004), participating teachers and students' use of computers dramatically increased across the curriculum. In addition to showing increases in students and teachers' use of technology in school, the results of the web-based follow-up teacher survey (October 2004) document teachers' strong belief that the TPSE program had positive impacts on teaching and learning for all types of students. Specifically, nearly all teachers reported that students across all ability levels were more motivated, more engaged, and participated more when laptops were available at 1:1 ratio.

Most teachers also reported improvements in their interactions with students and interactions among students. The improvement of student to teacher interactions was reported to be greatest for at-risk/low achieving students. In addition, the majority of teachers noted that students' peer review improved during the initial months of the TPSE program. Despite concern that 1:1 laptop programs may lead to less collaborative work among students, the majority of TPSE teachers report that students of all ability levels demonstrated improvements in both working independently as well as collaboratively with their peers.

Teachers generally reported improvements in student achievement and indicated increases in students' ability to retain content material and the quality of students' writing. Teachers also reported that laptops were used to better meet students' learning styles and differentiate instruction.

Source Article: http://www.bc.edu/research/intasc/