Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Does IT Improve Academic Achievement?

A point made by these researchers: recent large-scale efforts to increase computer access for disadvantaged children around the world happens without paying sufficient attention to how parental oversight affects a child's computer use.

Home Computer Use and the Development of Human Capital

By: O. Malamud, Univ. of Chicago / C. Pop-Eleches, Colombia Univ.

Key findings from the 2009 report include the following:
Computer use was mostly focused on games displacing the time for home work and reading:
- significantly lower schoolgrades in `Maths, English and Romanian
- significantly higher scores in computer skills and fluency

Find a downloadable pdf here
And a review in Slate web magazine here

Alex Tabarrok posted on the website Marginal Revolution, September 11, 2009, on the issue First debug the child, then the computer. We quote from the comments:
High schools in South Dakota have had access to a state-aided program to provide kids with laptops for school use (they don't get to keep them). The school here tried to put as much of the curriculum as possible on them. They've found out that (surprise) kids may not take proper care of them or use them approriately; in fact the first year of the program at our school saw a huge increase in kids failing classes because they were using the computers for everything but homework. Maintenance costs have also proven to be a budget buster; replacing a broken computer is a lot more expensive than replacing a damaged book, and some parents have said "you're making them use it; you pay for it".
Posted by: mikesdak at Sep 11, 2009 3:16:51 PM
Read it here

To close the digital divide systematically, see:

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