Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Focused Ubiquity: A Purposeful Approach to Providing Students with Laptops

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Focused Ubiquity: A Purposeful Approach to Providing Students with Laptops

Article excerpt

Introduction

Since the late 1970s, people have ruminated on the significant impact technology can have on student learning. In the early 1980s, as technology began to alter the way business was conducted throughout the world, policy makers emphasized the great promise that technology held for transforming public education. An early enthusiasts felt that computers would radically alter the relationship between teacher and student and that computers would open up the world to students to allow them to access information and discover new ways for creative expression (Papert, 1980).

Research related to the use of computers in the classroom has identified a number of positive influences technology can exert on the learning process. The use of computers in the classroom, coupled with clearly stated learning objectives, results in increased student achievement (Ringstaff & Kelley, 2002). Schacter and Fagnano (1999) argued that technology in the classroom positively impacts student learning, including understanding and achievement, and increases affective attributes. According to Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, and Malenoski (2007), computers in the classroom create "dynamic learning environments" and bolster efforts to differentiate instruction (p. 2).

Clariana (2009) reported that 31% of surveyed superintendents were implementing some sort of ubiquitous computer program, or one-to-one computing program, that provides a computer to every student in their school districts (pp. 5- 6). Technology enhances student learning and the use of ubiquitous computer efforts are on the rise, but little is known about the different one-to-one computing options available to educators. The aim of this study was to document an alternative approach to infusing computers into the classroom, measure the impact this focused approach had on both teaching and learning, and conduct a cost effectiveness analysis of the three approaches.

Literature review

The purpose of the literature review is to provide an overview of the use of technology in the learning process. The literature review is divided into four sections and these sections explore the optimal practices related to technology and student achievement.

Technology and learning

The push for change in education has opened the door to new ideas while stressing the importance of altering the way teachers teach and students learn. In a letter written to the Members of Congress in November 2010, The Secretary of Education for the United State of America, Arne Duncan, stated that:

   The model for learning described in this plan calls for engaging
   and empowering personalized learning experiences for learners of
   all ages. The model stipulates that we focus what and how we teach
   to match what people need to know and how they learn. It calls for
   using state-of-the-art technology and Universal Design for Learning
   (UDL) concepts to enable, motivate, and inspire students to
   achieve, regardless of background, languages, or disabilities. It
   calls for ensuring that our professional educators are well
   connected to the content and resources, data and information, and
   peers and experts they need to be highly effective. And it calls
   for leveraging the power of technology to support continuous and
   lifelong learning. (p. v)

The ideas outlined in the plan entitled Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology (U.S. Department of Education, 2010) highlight the need for increased college completion rates among young people in order to ensure America is able to compete in a global economy. The plan also stressed that technology is at the core of virtually every aspect of daily life and work, and must be leveraged in a way to continuously improve the education system from the time children enter academia until they complete higher level schooling and/or enter the workforce.

Part of the push for using technology in schools has come from business leaders who are vocalizing the desire for employees to have strong computer skills. …

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