Technology in Classrooms Lowers Scores

A 2016 academic study divided 167 West Point students of a sophomore economics class into three groups:  those who could use a laptop or tablet at will in class; those who could use a tablet but only flat on their desk face up; and those students who were not permitted to use any computer device at all in class.

At the end of the course, what group did better? 

Hands down, the students who used no device significantly outperformed their peers.  The two other groups performed equally badly by comparison.

The authors of this study speculate that these results would likely be more pronounced in younger students and among those who are less motivated to succeed. seii-discussion-paper-2016-02-payne-carter-greenberg-and-walker-2-1

Yet here we go with a multi-million dollar technology plan

This is a deeply disturbing conclusion because Timberlane is going headlong into a multi-million dollar technology plan to put a computer device in the hands of every student at Timberlane from Kindergarten to 12th grade. The teachers are also getting wrapped up in wifi.  We will be putting a computer projector and interactive whiteboard in every classroom, too.

When the school board made this precipitous decision a few weeks ago, I asked for some evidence that technology in the classroom was making academic improvements. Crickets.

Dependence on technology is handicapping our children

What’s worse is that we are stripping our children of the ability to take handwritten notes when they get to college.  Note taking at the speed necessary during lectures is possible only with cursive writing – and even better when sprinkled with some shorthand. By replacing cursive writing with keyboarding, our children will have one less skill with which to pull away from technology for their own benefit.

Does technology really help teachers?

The few times I have gotten to see technology demonstrated in the school environment, endless time has been spent setting up and then figuring out why it wasn’t working. I suspect teachers spend way more time making technology work which cannot help but take away from their primary instruction time – not to mention the time they spend preparing for lessons mediated by technology.

We hear so much about technologically aided “response to instruction.”  We’ve had STAR for a few years yet our 11th grade reading scores are still below state average. Thankfully math scores have edged above the state average this year though we’ve yet to regain our 2013 glory.

When something isn’t working despite buckets of money and a significant investment in professional development, isn’t it time to question our fundamental direction?  Let’s try something radical and take devices out of the classrooms entirely.  One good thing would happen at once:  there would be no more movies.

 

 

 

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Sandown Issues

2 responses to “Technology in Classrooms Lowers Scores

  1. St. Nick

    Direct quotes…

    “We want to be clear that we cannot relate our results to a class where the laptop or tablet is used deliberately in classroom instruction, as these exercises may boost a student’s ability to retain the material. ”

    “…we admit that these 2SLS estimates can only be interpreted as causal under strong assumptions.”

    “this amounts to about a 1.7 point reduction”

    • “We want to be clear that we cannot relate our results to a class where the laptop or tablet is used deliberately in classroom instruction, as these exercises may boost a student’s ability to retain the material. ”

      And about how much time in a classroom do you think this applies to with our children? I would say not nearly enough time to compensate for the distraction of simply using the technology.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s