Technology's Impact on Learning
From a Department of Education 1995 forum, some panelists contended that rather than debating the connections between technology-based instruction and test scores, schools should focus on the most obvious and compelling reason form implementing technology-namely, that students need strong technology skills to succeed in the world of work. This section will provide you with the impact technology has on learning.
You can find the following in this section:
- How Does Technology Enhance Student Achievement?
- Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT)
- Effects of Educational Technology
- Information Superhighway
- Multiple Intelligences and Multi-media
- Connecting Students to a Changing World
- Better Students Through Technology
- Is Technology Making an Impact?
- Research Showing Impact of Technology
ED Report The Costs and Effectiveness of Educational Technology
"Through the use of advanced computing and telecommunications technology, learning can also be qualitatively different. The process of learning in the classroom can become significantly richer as students have access to new and different types of information, can manipulate it on the computer through graphic displays or controlled experiments in ways never before possible, and can communicate their results and conclusions in a variety of media to their teacher, students in the next classroom, or students around the world. For example, using technology, students can collect and graph real-time weather, environmental, and populations data from their community, use that data to create color maps and graphs, and then compare these maps to others created by students in other communities. Similarly, instead of reading about the human circulatory system and seeing textbook pictures depicting bloodflow, students can use technology to see blood moving through veins and arteries, watch the process of oxygen entering the bloodstream, and experiment to understand the effects of increased pulse or cholesterol-filled arteries on blood flow." (page 16)
"We know now - based on decades of use in schools, on findings of hundreds of research studies, and on the everyday experiences of educators, students, and their families - that, properly used, technology can enhance the achievement of all students, increase families’ involvement in their children’s schooling, improve teachers’ skills and knowledge, and improve school administration and management."
How Does Technology Enhance Student Achievement?
Basic Skills Instruction
- Computer assisted instruction to drill
- Multi-media software - teach to a variety of learning styles
- Videodiscs - strengthen basic skills
- Video and audio technologies - bring material to life
- Distance learning - at least as effective as traditional methods of instruction
- All forms - develop new skills related to use of technology itself, necessary in workplace
Advanced Skills Instruction
- Interactive educational technologies, including:
- Computer-generated simulations
- Students learn to: organize complex information, recognize patterns, draw inferences, communicate findings
- Learn better organizational and problem-solving skills
Assessment of Student Progress
- More comprehensive with multimedia
- Assessments which require student’s active participation
- Electronic portfolios
- They like it better
- Increased family involvement
- Improved teachers’ skills
- Improved School Administration and Management
"We know that successful technology-rich schools generate impressive results for students, including improved achievement; higher test scores; improved student attitude, enthusiasm, and engagement; richer classroom content; and improved student retention and job placement rates. Of the hundreds of studies that show positive benefits from the use of technology, two are worth noting for their comprehensiveness. The first, a U.S. Department of Education-funded study of nine technology-rich schools, concluded that the use of technology resulted in educational gains for all students regardless of age, race, parental income, or other characteristics. [GET THIS] The second, a 10-year study supported by Apple Computer, Inc., concluded that student provided with technology-rich learning environments ‘continued to perform well on standardized tests but were also developing a variety of competencies not usually measured. Students explored and represented information dynamically and in many forms; became socially aware and more confident; communicated effectively about complex processes; became independent learners and self-starters; knew their areas of expertise and shared that expertise spontaneously.’" (ACOT)
Success Seen in ED Study:
- Rising scores on state tests
- Improved student attendance
- Increased student comprehension
- Strong study
- Parent and teacher support
- Improved student retention
- Improved placement in jobs.
ACOT as summarized by Howard Mehlinger:
"In 1986 Apple Computer, Inc. launched a project call Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT). The project began with seven classrooms representing what was intended to be a cross section of K-12 schools. Each participating student and teacher received two computers: one for home and one for school. The goal of the project was to see how the routing use of computers would affect how students learn and how teacher teach."
One issue the project hoped to confront was the possibility of any negative effects from prolonged exposure to computers. Some critics have worried that students who use computers extensively will become ‘brain-dead’ or less social from looking at the computer screen all day. At the end of two years, the investigators learned that some of their worst fears had been groundless.
- Teachers were not hopeless illiterates where technology was concerned; they could use computers to accomplish their work.
- Children did not become social isolates. ACOT classes showed more evidence of spontaneous cooperative learning than did traditional classes.
- Children did not become bored by the technology over time. Instead, their desire to use it for their own purposes increased with use.
- Even very young children had no problem becoming adept users of the keyboard. With very little training, second- and third- graders were some typing 25 to 30 words per minute with 95% accuracy - more than twice as fast as children of that age can usually write.
- Software was not a major problem. Teacher found programs - including productivity tools - to use in their classes.
Standardized test scores showed that student were performing as well as they might have been expected to do without the computers; some were doing better. The studies showed that ACOT students wrote better and were able to complete unites of study more rapidly than their peers in non-ACOT classrooms. In one case, students finished the year’s study of mathematics by the beginning of April. In short, academic productivity did not suffer and in some cases even improved.
Most interesting, however, is that classroom observers noticed changes in the behavior of teachers and students. Students were taking more responsibility for their own learning, and teachers were working more as mentors and less as presenters of information.
By the end of the fourth year, ACOT classrooms had change; teachers were teaching differently, though they did not all teach alike. Each teacher seemed to have adjusted his or her own style to the computer-rich environment, but all the teachers were aware of the changes that had occurred in their own professional outlooks.
The students had also changed, especially the ACOT students at West High School, a school serving urban, blue-collar families in Columbus, Ohio. Twenty-one freshmen were selected at random from the student body to participate in a study of ACOT. They stayed with the program until their graduation four years later. Al 21 graduated, whereas the student body as a whole had a 30% dropout rate. Nineteen of the ACOT students (90%) went on to college, while only 15% of non-ACOT student sought higher education. Seven of the ACOT students were offered full college scholarships, and several businesses offered to hire those who did not intend to go on to college. ACOT students had half the absentee rate, and they had accumulated more than their share of academic honors. But perhaps the most important finding was the difference exhibited by these students in how they did their work. The ACOT students routinely and without prompting employed inquiry, collaboration, and technological and problem-solving skills of the kind promoted by the school reform movement.
Learning More About ACOT
Visit the ACOT Homepage at ACOT http://www.info.apple.com/education
- 900-APPL (1775) (Apple education information)
- 825-2145 for ACOT research reports and video
The ACOT Research Portfolio - 1990 includes the following reports:
- ACOT Evaluation Study: First- and Second-Year Findings
- Teacher Beliefs and Practices Part I: Patterns of Change
- Teacher Beliefs and Practices Part II: Support for Change
- Teaching in High-tech Environments: Classroom Management Revisited
- Development of Teacher Knowledge and Implementation of a Problem-based Mathematics Curriculum
The ACOT Research Portfolio - 1992 includes the following reports:
- Computer Acquisition: A longitudinal Study of the Influence of High Computer Access on Students’ Thinking, Learning, and Interactions
- The Negotiations of Group Authorship Among Second-Graders Using Multimedia Composing Software
- Partnerships for Change
- The Relationship Between Technological Innovation and Collegial Interaction
- Trading Places: When Teacher Utilize Student Expertise in Technology-Intensive Classrooms
The ACOT Research Portfolio - 1994 includes the following reports:
- Creating an Alternative Context for Teacher Development: ACOT’s Two-year Pilot Project
- Creating an Alternative Context for Teacher Development: The ACOT Teacher Development Centers
- Environments that Support New Mode4s of Learning: The Results of Two Interactive Design Workshops
- MediFusion: A Tool That Supports Learning Through Experience, Reflection, and Collaboration
- Student Engagement Revisited: Views from Technology-Rick Classrooms
Two-page summaries of many of the research reports are available free, either by fax of electronically. To order by fax, call Apple Education at (800) 800-APPL (2775)
ACOT of Impact on Students
The following information summarize ACOT's impact on students:
- Explored and represented information dynamically and in many forms.
- Became socially aware and more confident.
- Communicated effectively about complex processes.
- Used technology routinely and appropriately.
- Became independent learners and self-starters.
- Knew their areas of expertise and shared that expertise spontaneously.
- Worked well collaboratively.
- Developed a positive orientation to the future.
Other ACOT Findings After 10 Years
- Technology acts as a catalyst for fundamental change in the way students learn and teacher teach.
- Technology revolutionizes the traditional methods teachers use.
- Students become re-energized and much more excited about learning - resulting in significantly improved grades - while dropout and absentee rates decrease dramatically.
- For high school students in the program, drop-out rates fell from 30 percent to near zero, while absenteeism was reduced from 8 percent to 4 percent.
- Teachers can and will embrace technology, if they are given the kind of professional development and support they need.
In a 1994 Software Publisher's Association (SPA) study, research found that:
- Educational technology has a significant positive impact on achievement in all subject areas, across all levels of school, and in regular classrooms as well as those for special-needs students.
- Educational technology has positive effects on student attitudes.
- The degree of effectiveness is influenced by the student population, the instructional design, the teacher’s role, how students are grouped, and the levels of student access to technology.
- Technology makes instruction more student-centered, encourages cooperative learning, and stimulated increased teacher/student interaction.
- Positive changes in the learning environment evolve over time and do not occur quickly.
"America’s Children and the Information Superhighway: A Briefing Book and National Action Agenda" Wendy Lazarus and Laurie Lipper, Directors, The Children’s Partnership, 1994
- A five-year report (1987-1992) by the Sacramento School District in California found that students using multimedia and telecommunications showed improved attitudes toward reading, social studies and science, and became more active and independent in learning. Some also showed improved reading scores.
- A survey of 550 teachers who use telecommunications technology in the classroom reported that "inquiry-based analytical skills - like critical thinking, data analysis, problem solving, and independent thinking - develop when students use a technology that supports research, communication, and analysis. However, telecommunications does not directly help their performances on state- or city- mandated tests.
Howard Gardner, Professor of Harvard University and author of Frames of Mind (New York: Basic Books, 1983) from Multimedia Book, ITTE wrote that:
- Seven or more "multiple intelligences" that are of equal importance in human beings and develop at different times and in different ways in different individuals.
- Multi-media can go along way to addressing these intelligences, much more than traditional teaching methods.
- Below is a list of the intelligences and the technology tools that can be used to teach to them
Verbal/Linguistic intelligence: The ability to think, communicate, and create through words both in speech and in writing.
· Computer software which allows young children to write and illustrate their own stories before their fine motor skills are developed enough to allow them to do so by hand.
· Word processing software stimulates learners to interact more closely with their work.
· Audio and video recording can give students instant feedback on their story-telling skills and can help them develop them further.
· Multimedia software helps students produce multimedia reports.
· Telecommunications programs link students who correspond in writing.
Logical/mathematical intelligences: Memorize and perform mathematical operations, ability to think mathematically, logically, and analytically and to apply that understanding to problem solving.
- Multimedia products that graphically illustrate physics concepts.
- Providing challenging visual/spatial tasks which develop mathematical and logical thinking .
- Develop higher-order mathematical thinking by making abstract ideas concrete.
Visual/spatial intelligence: The ability to understand the world through what we see and imagine and to express ideas through the graphic arts.
- "Paint" programs that allow students who are unskilled with paper and brush create art on computer screens.
- Databases of art work.
- Desktop publishing.
- Camcorders to create documentaries.
- Internet links to museums and virtual tours.
Bodily/kinesthetic intelligence: The ability to learn through physical coordination and dexterity and the ability to express oneself through physical activities.
- Educational games which challenge fine motor coordination while developing logical thinking skills and mastery over abstractions.
- Construction of lego robots and program their movement through the computer.
- Electronic fieldtrips - programs that allow students to interact electronically with a scientist who is exploring the depths of the Mediterranean or the inside of a volcano.
Musical intelligence: The ability to understand, appreciate, perform, and create music by voice or instruments or dance.
- Students can hum into a synthesizer and make it sound like any instrument they want.
- Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) makes it possible to make music on an electronic keyboard, which can be made to sound like any instrument and then can be orchestrated electronically.
- Interactive presentations of renowned classical music let students understand music on many different levels; listening to it, seeing the score as it is played, hearing individual instruments played alone, reviewing biographical material about the composer and learning about the music’s historical and cultural backgrounds.
Interpersonal intelligence: The ability to work cooperatively with other people and to apply a variety of skills to communicate with and understand others.
- Clusters of students working together on computers learn more than individual students working alone.
- Electronic networks linking students with their peers within the community and around the world.
- Lumaphones allow students to see a picture of the person with whom they are speaking.
Intrapersonal intelligence: The ability to understand, bring to consciousness, and express one’s own inner world of thoughts and emotions.
- Multimedia gives teachers the tools to turn the classroom into centers of student-directed inquiry.
- Technology offers tools for thinking more deeply, pursuing curiosity, and exploring and expanding intelligence as students build "mental models" with which they can visualize connections between ideas on any topic.
- Individual growth plans, developed jointly by the student, parents and teacher can encourage the development of intrapersonal intelligence. Technology supports such plans with electronic records, videotaped interviews, and multimedia portfolios of student work.
The following quotes were taken from Connecting Students to a Changing World: A Technology Strategy for Improving Mathematics and Science Education. A Statement by the Research and Policy Committee of the Committee for Economic Development 1995:
"Fortunately, the same rapid technological changes that have made these new workplace competencies so important and greater knowledge of mathematics and science so critical also provide new and effective tools to help raise the knowledge and skills of teachers and the achievement of students." (page 4)
"Currently available technologies, the most important of which are computers, communications systems (including Internet connections), and interactive videodisk and CD-ROM systems, provide a learning environment in which problem solving and intellectual inquiry can flourish." (page 4)
"The technology also allows students to work at their own pace and encourages them to take initiative and learn independently." (page 4)
Visit the site http://www.cast.org/stsstudy.html and learn more about the following:
- The Role of Online Communications in Schools: A National Study" is a report of a study conducted by CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology), and independent research and development organization, and sponsored by the Scholastic Network and Council of the Great City Schools.
The study compared the work of 500 students in fourth-grade and sixth-grade classes in seven urban school districts (Chicago, Dayton, Detroit, Memphis, Miami, Oakland, and Washington, DC) with and without online access. Results show significantly higher scores on measurements of information management, communication, and presentation of ideas for experimental groups with online access than for control groups with no online access.
"Technology is making a significant, positive impact on education. Important findings in these studies include:
- Educational technology as demonstrated a significant positive effect on achievement. Positive effects have been found for all major subject areas, in preschool through higher education, and for both regular education and special needs students. Evidence suggests that interactive video is especially effective when the skills and concepts to be learned have a visual component and when the software incorporates a research-based instructional design. Use of online telecommunications for collaboration across classrooms in different geographic locations has also been show to improve academic skills.
- Education technology has been found to have positive effects on student attitudes toward learning and on student self-concept. Students felt more successful in school, were more motivated to learn and have increased self-confidence and self-esteem when using computer-based instruction. This was particularly true when the technology allowed learners to control their own learning.
- The level of effectiveness of educational technology is influenced by the specific student population, the software design, the teacher’s role, how the students are grouped, and the level of student access to the technology.
- Students trained in collaborative learning, had higher self esteem and student achievement.
- Introducing technology into the learning environment has been shown to make learning more student-centered, to encourage cooperative learning, and to stimulate increased teacher/student interaction.
- Positive changes in the learning environment brought about by technology are more evolutionary than revolutionary. These changes occur over a period of years, as teachers become more experienced with technology.
- Courses for which computer-based networks were use increased student-student and student-teacher interaction, increased student-teacher interaction with lower-performing students, and did not decrease the traditional forms of communication used. Many student who seldom participate in face-to-face class discussion become more active participants online.
- Greater student cooperation and sharing and helping behaviors occurred when students used computer-based learning that had students compete against the computer rather than against each other.
- Small group collaboration on computer is especially effective when student have received training in the collaborative process.