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Giving students laptop can enhance learning

Schools that provide each student with a laptop computer, as well as the appropriate support for both students and teachers, see significant improvement in academic achievement, a new study suggests.

The researchers analysed over 15 years of studies on “one-to-one” laptop programmes, and found that such programmes that take a comprehensive approach were linked to higher test scores in English, maths, science and writing, along with other benefits.

“In the past couple of decades, one-to-one laptop programmes have spread widely, but so has debate about whether they are cost-effective and beneficial to educational outcomes,” said lead author Binbin Zheng, assistant professor of educational technology at Michigan State University in the US.

“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,” Zheng noted.

The findings appeared in the journal Review of Educational Research.

In addition to improved scores on standardised tests, the benefits of successful laptop programmes include an improved writing process.

“Students received more feedback on their writing, edited and revised their papers more often, drew on a wider range of resources to write and published or shared their work with others more often,” Zheng said.

The researchers reviewed nearly 100 academic studies on one-to-one laptop programmes dating back to 2001, although only 10 of the studies were scientifically rigorous enough to use in a statistical analysis in the paper.

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