Best evidence in brief: review study about technology integration in education

There is a new Best Evidence in Brief and this review study will interest many:

Morrison, Morrison, & Ross, from our own Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University, have completed a review of the research literature on the infusion of technology into the school curriculum.

The review examines the results from a number of studies investigating the effectiveness of computer use in the classroom. The focus of the studies ranged from student engagement to achievement using observations, surveys, and achievement tests. The researchers also summarize the results from several meta-analyses.

Key findings from the research included:

  • Multiple studies reported higher engagement of students with their coursework when involved in one-to-one laptop programs, which produced two key benefits: (1) a development of a deeper level of understanding and (2) an increase in student achievement.
  • Several studies reported increased interactions with peers. One study found that students interacted twice as much when they were using a computer than doing other activities, with the conversations focused primarily on problem-solving (Svensson, 2000). 
  • Many studies found an increase in student-centered instruction. Teachers had additional tools and time they could devote to individualized instruction to meet the needs of specific learners. Thus, rather than a one size fits all approach, teachers could customize the instruction to address the specific needs of individual students.

The researchers point out that, “Just as buying a professional-looking mixer will not make you a better cook, technology alone will not make student learning better. If the teacher, though, introduces new methods of teaching requiring different uses of a computer rather than to simply present information, then we are likely to see an improvement in learning.”

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