Getting Results with Laptops: What Outcomes Can Districts and Schools with Laptop Programs Expect to See? and What's the Best Way to Ensure They're Positive?

Technology & Learning, October 2004 | Go to article overview

Getting Results with Laptops: What Outcomes Can Districts and Schools with Laptop Programs Expect to See? and What's the Best Way to Ensure They're Positive?


Despite a growing number of mobile computing initiatives across the country, including dramatic statewide adoptions in Maine and Michigan, laptop programs continue to breed controversy. For instance, critics of Maine's laptop program point to a $28 million per year price tag that hasn't yet yielded higher scores on the state's educational assessment test. Meanwhile, in suburban Andover, Mass., and other communities, one-to-one computing programs are being dropped or delayed due to lack of sustainable funding.

Given this backdrop of continuing debate, we decided to examine laptop programs from two perspectives. First, what does the most current research say about their impact on teaching and learning? For this angle we tapped into the expertise of Saul Rockman, who's conducted numerous studies of K-12 mobile computing environments, most recently in Indiana (see "A Study in Learning" below). We also wanted to go a step further and offer practical advice on how to successfully structure a laptop program to get the most return on investment. After a visit to East Rock Magnet School in New Haven, Conn., we found the perfect in-the-trenches expert, Domenic Grignano, who rolled out a wireless laptop program there two years ago (see "12 Tips for Launching a Wireless Laptop Program" on page 37). Together, Rockman and Grignano paint an impressive--and realistic--picture of the potential of laptop programs.

RELATED ARTICLE: A study in learning.

What does the latest research on mobile computing tell us about teachers, students--and testing?

By Saul Rockman

At least one of every six U.S. districts now has some form of laptop program in one or more schools, encouraged by both the falling prices of computers and the positive public perception generated by promoting such an initiative. For the past decade I've led a research group that's focused on the study of ubiquitous laptop computing, starting with Microsoft and Toshiba's Anytime, Anywhere Learning initiative, where we looked at approximately 50 schools and districts around the country. Among the studies we're currently conducting is Tech-Know-Build, a Technology Innovation Challenge Grant project that provides laptops and wireless Internet access to some 3,000 students and 175 teachers in Indianapolis and Crawfordsville, Ind.

Perhaps not surprisingly, recent findings from the four-year investigation of the Tech-Know-Build project confirm and emphasize existing research showing that teaching and learning change in consistent and reliable ways when laptops are introduced into the school environment. We see more project-based learning, increased student motivation and experimentation, and higher rates of peer mentoring. Some of these shifts can be tied to an overall lower student to computer ratio. But we've found that with laptops, specifically, the behaviors appear earlier and are more pronounced, especially among special education and ELL students.

Here, a look at some key points that have surfaced over the course of the Indiana project, and those preceding it, based on extensive quantitative and qualitative research that included classroom observations, interviews, focus groups, and surveys.

Learning environments are transformed. Educators involved in laptop programs overwhelmingly promote collaborative learning and at the same time provide individualized instruction. This often means students and teachers move around more. Instead of staying put to do seatwork, students gather together to work on projects, which frees teachers to roam about the room helping those who have problems or need remediation. In addition, learning in laptop classrooms is often more self-directed: the majority of Tech-Know-Build teachers responding to a spring 2004 survey say they now let students decide what materials and resources to use in their projects.

Assessment techniques change. Teachers in laptop classrooms are more willing to assign presentations and multimedia products to students, and score them using customized, project-driven rubrics and even self-assessments. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Getting Results with Laptops: What Outcomes Can Districts and Schools with Laptop Programs Expect to See? and What's the Best Way to Ensure They're Positive?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.