A Michigan State University study has shown that students who receive laptops from their schools do better in class. Researchers saw higher test scores in English, math, science, and writing when students were given laptops, but the programs need to include one-to-one program support for both students and teachers.
“In the past couple of decades, one-to-one laptop programs have spread widely, but so has debate about whether they are cost-effective and beneficial to educational outcomes,” Binbin Zheng, assistant professor of educational technology at MSU and lead author of the paper, said in an article for eSchool News. “I believe this technology, if implemented correctly, is worth the cost and effort because it lifts student achievement, enhances engagement and enthusiasm among students, improves teacher-student relationships, and promotes 21st-century skills such as technological proficiency and problem-solving.”
The catch is proper implementation, according to Zheng. She found that educational outcomes improve when there is teacher buy-in, enough technical support and professional development for instructors, and suitable curriculum.
“Just putting a laptop before a student doesn’t really help them with anything,” she said. “Technology should not be implemented for technology’s sake.”