Schools across the nation are trying to bring more technology into the classroom by making tablet computers available to each student. A new study found that while the tablets do help, academic performance may be better if students share the device.
Northwestern University researcher Courtney Blackwell studied iPad usage and the academic performance of kindergarten students at three schools. Students at one school had an iPad for their personal use, the second school had students sharing 23 units, and a third school didn’t provide the device at all.
Blackwell found that kids sharing iPads did 28% better on literacy tests at the end of the year. Kids with their own device improved by 24% and those who did not have iPads in the classroom improved by 20%.
“I think it’s important to remember that iPads and technology in general are just one part of the curriculum, with many other factors playing a role in children’s achievement,” she said in an article in Time magazine. “Technology has always been touted as a potential panacea for education, but historically it has never changed the U.S. education system on a large scale. That said, with so many schools integrating one-for-one tablets and other devices, we need to know how technology is affecting learning to understand the best way to make tablets and technology most effective for students and teachers.”