Results of Independent Research Support Educator and Parent Enthusiasm For Student Use of Laptop Computers to Learn Anytime, Anywhere

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 10, 1998 — Compelling findings from a newly released study reveal that students with full-time access to laptop computers demonstrate increased critical and creative thinking, produce higher quality work, and, most importantly, are more motivated and interested in core academic subjects.
“Powerful Tools for Schooling,” sponsored by Microsoft Corp. and Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., is the latest independent study in the three-year evaluation of Anytime Anywhere Learning school laptop programs, in which Microsoft® Windows® operating system-based laptops with Microsoft Office Professional and Internet connectivity are integral teaching and learning tools.

The study, conducted by nationally known education researcher Saul Rockman of San Francisco, involved more than 150 teachers and more than 450 students from 20 schools where students have 24-hour access to laptop computers, and computers are fully integrated into classroom instruction. Through a combination of surveys, observations, simulated problem-solving tasks and student interviews, researchers found the following:

  • Laptops help students apply more problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

    Student problem-solving simulations confirm what 85 percent of teachers report – students with access to laptops use a greater number and variety of information sources in research projects. Critical thinking is second only to writing as the skill that a third of teachers say is most improved using laptops.

  • Laptops enhance learning in core academic subjects and increase students’ passion

    for learning. When asked to name their favorite project of the year, students in their second year of laptop use named a project in a core academic subject area twice as often as students without access to laptops did. Seventy-one percent of teachers believe their students who use laptops are highly motivated and more willing to focus on schoolwork.

  • Laptops lead to higher quality work, especially writing. Eighty-seven percent of teachers believe access to laptops has increased the quality of their students’ work. More than a third name writing as the academic area of most improvement.

  • Laptops help teachers spend more one-on-one time with students. In high-school classrooms where students have access to laptops, teachers spent twice as much class time consulting and conferencing with individual students or small groups as teachers in classes without laptops did. Overall, 41 percent of teachers surveyed said they lecture less and provide twice as much project-based instruction as they did before having laptops in their classrooms.

  • Laptops extend the school day. Seventh-grade students using laptops spent 10 times as much out-of-school computer time on schoolwork as seventh-grade students who did not use laptops but had desktop computers at home.

“Our second year of Anytime Anywhere Learning research revealed some of the most compelling findings that I have ever seen about how technology can improve learning,”
Rockman said.
“In schools where students are learning with laptops, we are seeing the types of educational change called for by today’s national standards and school-reform efforts.”

Microsoft and Toshiba are funding this three-year independent evaluation of Anytime Anywhere Learning as part of the companies’ overall commitment to help increase access to technology for students and teachers.

“Microsoft’s support of Anytime Anywhere Learning is one way that it is helping educators develop and evaluate strategies for increasing access to technology and integrating it into the curriculum,”
said Mary Stephenson, director of Microsoft’s K-12 programs. ‘
“Powerful Tools for Schooling’ offers educators and parents insights into how technology can best be used to help improve the way students learn and teachers teach.”

The vision for Toshiba’s Notebooks for Schools
program, the company’s brand name for Anytime Anywhere Learning, is that all students will have the opportunity to benefit from having access to business tools, such as portable PCs, that will help prepare them for life and work in the 21st century.

“Powerful Tools for Schooling’ provides credible data on how our Notebooks for Schools program helps develop students’ collaboration, analysis and presentation skills – critical skills that will serve them in tomorrow’s workplace,”
said Tom Healey, national program director for Toshiba’s Notebooks for Schools program.
“By giving students access to technology today, they will be better equipped to succeed in the business world tomorrow. Providing a comprehensive notebook program that teaches children how to work with tools they’ll use throughout their lives is one example of how we are making technology useful to students and educators.”

The complete research study is available at or .

Anytime Anywhere Learning Grows Worldwide

In the United States, enthusiasm for this trend of classroom computing is high, with more than 60,000 students and teachers at 500 public and private schools participating nationwide – a tenfold increase over the 52 schools that piloted programs in 1996. Anytime Anywhere Learning has generated interested from educators in other countries as well. Both Canada and the United Kingdom are piloting laptop programs this school year, and educational delegations from around the world have visited U.S. schools with Anytime Anywhere Learning programs.

Many U.S. schools have significantly increased their laptop implementations. South Carolina’s Beaufort County School District, one of the original pilot schools, started with 300 sixth-graders using laptops. The district’s Anytime Anywhere Learning program now has nearly 2,000 participating students – more than half of the county’s middle-school students. These students come from all economic groups and from rural and urban settings. Both educator and parent enthusiasm for laptop learning is high in Beaufort. Kitty Ott, mother of eighth-grader Melanie, said,
“I have never seen Melanie as excited about school and learning as she has been since the day she brought her laptop home.”

Herman Gaither, executive superintendent of the Beaufort County School District, said that improved academic performance has convinced district leaders to try expanding the initiative to all middle-school students as quickly as possible.
“Not only have our laptop students improved their schoolwork and demonstrated higher-level thinking skills,”
said Gaither,
“but our teachers – some of them with extensive experience – are learning how to integrate technology into the existing curriculum and, in doing so, are transforming their classrooms.”

Across the country in the heart of Fresno County, Calif., another Anytime Anywhere Learning pilot school district, Clovis Unified, saw such positive results from its 90-student laptop pilot that the district quickly expanded the program to include 500 seventh- and eighth-grade students in its second year. Today more than 1,100 students from all three district intermediate schools are learning with laptops.

“We see similar findings to those of the ‘Powerful Tools for Schooling’ study in our laptop classrooms every day,”
said Walt Buster, superintendent of schools for the Clovis Unified School District.
“The intermediate school years are often a time when students become disengaged from school and studying, but in classrooms with laptops, students are more motivated to study hard and excel in their core academic subjects.”

About the Companies

With Microsoft’s leadership, a number of hardware, software and training companies are supporting educators’ implementation of laptop programs. Educators are sharing their laptop experiences, visions and strategies through a free* resource book, a Web site and the annual Anytime Anywhere Learning Summit, which was attended by more than 700 educators in 1998. For more information on the 1999 Anytime Anywhere Learning Summit, to be held Jan. 29-31 in Dallas, visit

Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. (TAIS) continues to be the leading vendor for portable computers, with 18.1 percent market share in the U.S. market and 20.1 percent worldwide in the second quarter of 1998, according to International Data Corp. The company offers portable, desktop and server computing solutions for business customers under the Toshiba brand name. For dealer referral and product literature, call (888) 625-3276 (62-LEARN), or visit the company’s World Wide Web site at .

With headquarters in Irvine, Calif., and annual sales of approximately $3 billion, TAIS comprises nine divisions, which manufacture and market a wide range of business and information-oriented products in the United States and Latin America, and one wholly owned subsidiary, which operates a network of copier and fax dealers. Products include portable and desktop computers, monitors, PC servers, plain-paper copiers, facsimile systems, voicemail systems, digital business telephone systems, toner products, systems solutions for the cable industry, digital cameras and network systems.

TAIS is an independent operating company, owned by Toshiba America Inc., a subsidiary of the $44 billion Toshiba Corp., the sixth-largest electronics and electrical equipment manufacturer and the world’s 37th-largest corporation in terms of sales. Toshiba Corp. is a world leader in high-technology products with 315 major subsidiaries and affiliates worldwide.

Rockman et al is an independent research and consulting firm, specializing in technology and learning. The company consults with corporations, state and federal agencies, and educational organizations on research, evaluation and policy development that advance the application of technology to meet educational and business learning needs. Rockman et al undertakes local, regional and national studies of technology’s role in school reform for both public and private clients. Saul Rockman established Rockman et al in 1990 after leaving Apple Computer Inc., where he was manager of education research. Rockman et al has offices in San Francisco and Bloomington, Ind. For more information, call (415) 543-4144 or visit the company’s Web site at .

Microsoft’s support of Anytime Anywhere Learning is part of its continuing efforts to help create a global Connected Learning Community, in which all students and educators have access to technology and information online to support learning today and for a lifetime.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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