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1998 Powerful Tools for Schooling: Second Year Study of the Laptop Program

Date: October 1998
Author(s): Saul Rockman, Melissa Chessler and Laura Walker
Affiliation: Rockman et. al
Keywords: problem solving, complex, critical, thinking


During the 1997-1998 school year, ROCKMAN ET AL tracked the experiences of teachers and students at selected pioneer schools during their second year of the Laptop Program. In these programs, participating students have full-time access to notebook computers both in school and at home. The second year study explores when and how the computers are used, their impact on teaching and learning, and participants' assessments of their experiences in the program. Our findings point to significant learning and student and teacher accomplishments in skill development, applications of technology for schoolwork, and improved critical thinking.

The major findings of this second study are grouped under:

* Students' use of computers

* Impact on teaching and learning

* Teachers and Students' assessment of the program

Key Findings:

Students' use of computers:

* Laptop students spend more time using computers

* Laptops appear to extend the school day

* Laptops are frequently used in core subject area classes

* Laptop students in public schools use the computer more often than private school Laptop students

* Purposes of in-school laptop use vary by grade level and subject

* Students choose tools appropriate to the task

* Students and teachers make use of a subset of software

* More computer use results in more proficient students

Impact on teaching and learning:

* Laptop students spend more time engaged in collaborative work than Non-Laptop students

* Laptop students participate in more project-based instruction

* Laptops lead to more student writing and to writing of higher quality

* Laptops increase access to information and improve research and analysis skills

* Laptop students prepare more presentations than Non-Laptop students

* Teachers and students take on different roles when students have laptops

* Laptop students report a greater reliance on active learning strategies

* Laptop students use computers to accomplish complex school tasks

* Laptop students readily engage in problem solving and critical thinking

* Teachers attribute students' critical thinking skills and problem-solving proficiency to their use of laptops

* Teachers believe laptops benefit students' learning in general, but significant, ways

Teachers and Students' assessment of the program:

* Teacher enthusiasm remains high

* Teachers believe laptops benefit all types of students

* Teachers name advantages of laptops over desktops or lab

* Students enjoy using the computers

* Students' favorite projects reflect laptops' positive impact

Source Article: http://www.microsoft.com/education/download/aal/research2.rtf