The Effect of Using XO Computers on Students' Mathematics and Reading Abilities: Evidences from Learning Achievement Tests Conducted in Primary Education Schools in Mongolia

By Yamaguchi, Shinobu; Sukhbaatar, Javzan et al. | International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, June 2014 | Go to article overview

The Effect of Using XO Computers on Students' Mathematics and Reading Abilities: Evidences from Learning Achievement Tests Conducted in Primary Education Schools in Mongolia


Yamaguchi, Shinobu, Sukhbaatar, Javzan, Takada, Jun-ichi, Dayan-Ochir, Khishigbuyan, International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology


(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

INTRODUCTION

The One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project is implemented by One Laptop per Child, a USA-based, non-profit organization created by faculty members from the MIT Media Lab. With the mission to empower the world's poorest children through education, this organization seeks to design, manufacture, and distribute sufficiently inexpensive laptops to every child in the world so that they can have access to knowledge and modern forms of education. The OLPC project allows children to use the laptops to access knowledge and to be engaged in their own capacity for learning, regardless of their physical location or financial limitations (OLPC, 2008). As of 2013, over 2.4 million children and teachers in 54 countries worldwide have received XO laptops (OLPC, 2013).

This article presents a brief description of the OLPC project in Mongolia, as well as a review of the OLPC literature. This is followed by our study methodology, and then followed by data analysis and findings. Within this study, over 2,000 5th grade students in 14 schools were tested on Math and Reading skills tests, which were also used in 2008 National Primary Education Assessment. The study findings are discussed in light of relevant literature.

OLPC INITIATIVES IN MONGOLIA

OLPC project intended to improve the quality of education in Mongolia by achieving the following objectives: 1) providing access to computers and learning materials in order to improve teachers' skills; 2) creating a strong learning network that connects children and teachers at the national and international levels; 3) create community-based initiatives using laptop networks; 4) empowering teachers to foster student-centered methodology; 5) allowing students to apply their learning into their life and community; 6) enabling easy access to information; and 7) strengthening math and science (OLPC, 2008).

The President of Mongolia and the OLPC Foundation USA signed an Aide Memoire during the official visit of the former President Enkhbayar to the USA in 2007 (Embassy of Mongolia, 2007). With this initiative, Mongolia agreed to receive 20,000 XO computers for the school children. Specifically, it was agreed that 10,000 XO computers would be donated from the OLPC Foundation and the Government of Mongolia would purchase remaining 10,000 XO computers using state budget funding (nearly 1.2 billion tugriks or 1 million USD).

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (MECS) was in charge of managing the project nationwide. To follow up this initiative, the Government Cabinet resolution was approved in 2008 to establish the National OLPC Project Organizing Committee, to allocate state funding to finance OLPC activities, including OLPC Project Management Unit (PMU) staff salaries, customs tax, delivery cost of XOs to rural schools, additional equipment, basic teacher training, and development of Mongolian content (Government of Mongolia, 2008).

In early 2008, the OLPC Foundation donated the first 1,000 laptops to the Mongolian government, and two schools, one in Ulaanbaatar and another in rural area, were selected as pilot schools. OLPC Foundation funded all the activities needed for the start of the project. This initial support included provision of educational guidelines, installing the basic programs and infrastructure needed to run XO computers in schools such as setting up wires or VSAT, access points and local networking, development of criteria for school selection as well as OLPC technical assistance team visits.

The MECS set basic rules and responsibilities related to the distribution of XO computers. First, at the initial stage, schools with electricity would have priority to receive XO computers. Second, Internet connection fees for schools would be covered from school operating cost. Third, schools receiving XO computers would do so through an agreement with parents of children in grades 2-5. …

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