Computers may or may not boost student achievement

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USA Today ran this article: Computers may not boost student achievement on April 11th.

Computers MAY not boost student achievement? Doesn’t that also mean that they may boost student achievement? (You have to love the negative spin)

Parents help kids with homework more often and students’ grades benefit slightly

In the first year, their grade-point averages rose modestly

Those sure sound like positive steps. When a school adopts a new curriculum in math or science, do they assume that the grade point average is going to rise in the first year? In the schools I’ve been involved with, it’s usually not until the second year that you start to evaluate the affects of a new program on student learning. Why should technology be held to a higher standard? Change takes time whether it is technology or curriculum.

About 37% of the children say they stare at the screens for more than
three hours a day; a few report more than five hours a day.

Only 37%? Is it just me or does that seem low. That every middle school student has a laptop and yet only a 1/3 use it for three hours or more a day?

Here is the part that gets me really shaking my head:

teachers report more classroom distractions as students check e-mail. And students actually feel distracted

“They felt that time is not used as effectively as before,”

I wonder what kind of PD these teachers received? If a teacher all of a sudden had to manage a classroom full of middle schoolers with laptops, trying to keep them on task could be an issue. Especially if you are trying to teach the lesson the same way you did before the students had laptops. This gets back to the notion that technology changes everything. From classroom management, to teaching, to grading, to interactions on a daily basis. If teachers are not given the time to learn and figure out the aspects of a new laptop program then sure there are going to be distractions. You really think a student is going to sit and take notes on their laptop without also checking their e-mail, IMing, and downloading the latest song release?

Does this mean we need to ban or disable everything except the word processing program or does it mean we need to learn to use these other programs just as effectively as we do word?

Bringing laptops into the classroom changes everything. If you don’t adjust or believe that it does then yes they are going to be distracting to both students and teachers.

A Tennessee study found that schools serving low-income children had
more computers than your typical school — 125 for poor kids’ schools
vs. 114 elsewhere, and computers in low-income schools often were more
connected to the Internet.

Guess this means e-rate is working?

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.

1 Comment

  1. Great minds think alike! I noted this same lame article and posted about it.
    “Paper, Pencils and Books May Not Boost Student Achievement”
    I tried to find the author’s email address on USA Today but gave up fairly quickly. The whole article was quotes substantiated by zero. What I hate about it is that those that have no idea about the power and potential power of tech as a tool to get at learning will just note or remember the headline.

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