Research Finds Laptop Learning Yields Better Students and Better Teachers Through Anytime, Anywhere Access

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2000 — Today at the U.S. Department of Education’s Secretary’s National Conference on Educational Technology: Measuring Impacts and Shaping the Future, students and teachers from the Mott Hall School, where every student has his or her own laptop computer, are demonstrating how technology is transforming their learning. New independent research announced at the conference finds that students who use a laptop as an everyday learning tool are better writers, more collaborative and get more involved in their schoolwork. In addition, findings indicate that teachers are improving their teaching methods and showing greater confidence in their classrooms.

Since 1997, ROCKMAN ET AL, a San Francisco-based independent research organization, has conducted surveys to assess the experiences of schools participating in Microsoft Corp.’s Anytime Anywhere Learning program, which incorporates laptop learning with the Microsoft

Office productivity suite and access to the Internet. The program, which started with 52 schools, has grown to include more than 800 schools with 125,000 students and teachers using Windows

operating system-based laptops powered by Microsoft Office and connectivity to the Internet for learning at school and at home. Year three results and Mott Hall’s subsequent proprietary analysis show how anytime, anywhere access to technology transforms learning to meet the needs of a new generation of digital kids and to empower teachers with a tool for more project-based, constructivist classrooms. The research also highlights the connection between the use of laptops in the classroom and improved student achievement.

Kids in the ‘net’ generation learn and interact differently, and traditional technology models aren’t keeping up with their new learning needs,

said Jane Broom, group manager of Microsoft Education Programs.

Successful programs like Mott Hall’s have even sparked replication in higher education circles, with City College of New York School of Education integrating laptops into its teacher education curriculum to make sure more teachers are prepared to teach in schools where every student has access.

Anytime Anywhere Learning Research Results
Results from the Anytime Anywhere Learning research demonstrate that students are not only becoming better writers, they are also collaborating on projects and becoming much more involved in their schoolwork. Teachers report improvements in their teaching methods and greater confidence in using technology in their lesson plans.

  • Access to technology improves students’ writing and encourages collaboration among students. The laptops support all elements of the writing process from research to drafting to presentation. Also, students work in groups more often and at their own pace, using their laptops to learn how to process and organize assignments, as well as how to work with others. Teachers who use laptops are increasing the frequency at which they assign projects where students teach other students (90 percent of teachers who use laptops vs. 46 percent of teachers who do not).

  • Students who use laptops are more involved in their schoolwork. Students who use laptops explore topics on their own (80 percent of laptop students vs. 46 percent of non-laptop students), review and revise their work more often than students who do not use laptops, and work on long projects (80 percent of laptop students compared to 38 percent of non-laptop students).

  • Teachers who use laptops use a more constructivist approach to teaching. Constructivist teaching is based on the belief that learning is most meaningful when students are actively involved in the learning process rather than passively receiving information. Most teachers surveyed who use laptops employ traditional teaching methods, such as lecturing, less often than before — only once a week on average. Specifically, 90 percent of those educators stated that students in their classes teach each other, rather than relying solely on the teacher for direction, and 83 percent said they learn from their students.

  • Teachers who use laptops feel more empowered in their classrooms. Teachers who use laptops have a greater sense of control over their responsibilities for instruction and managing student learning. They also have greater confidence in using technology tools in eight measurable categories, such as word processors, e-mail and the Internet, than their peers who do not use laptops.

More Schools, More Countries, More Partners and Lower-Cost Devices
In addition to growth in the United States, the trend for anytime, anywhere access to learning is transforming the educational experience for students worldwide. More than 1,250 schools have pilot programs in the United Kingdom, Belgium and Canada. Intel Corp. and IBM Corp. are the latest industry partners to join hardware providers such as Toshiba America Information Systems, Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp. and NetSchools in supporting programs and solutions for Anytime Anywhere Learning.

Year Three Key Findings
Two Anytime Anywhere Learning programs in Iowa and Georgia are pioneering the use of less-expensive Handheld PCs running Windows CE- and Pocket Office-based applications. The Iowa CE Laptop Project is a joint effort of three districts and the Grant Wood Area Education Agency involving 170 students in east central Iowa. At the Athens Academy in Georgia, 107 fifth and sixth graders are using Handheld PCs as a language arts tool and are writing more and improving their writing mechanics. Both projects are evaluating how using low-cost (a less than $1,000 price point), lightweight devices to increase access to technology can improve student learning and change teaching practices.

Laptop Learning Spotlight School: Mott Hall, New York City, Community District 6

Located in Community District 6, the Harlem-Washington Heights area of Manhattan, the Mott Hall School is dedicated to the academic and personal development of students who will become tomorrow’s leaders. Mott Hall, one of the original


schools in the Anytime Anywhere Learning program, is a 100 percent laptop school, with all 450 students using laptops for learning at home and in the classroom.

In addition to participating in the national research project, District 6 conducted a separate research study with Metis Associates Inc. that revealed significant improvements in student achievement and motivation. Results showed improved student achievement, specifically increased test scores (a 10-point improvement in reading and math and a five-point improvement for English as a Second Language) for students using laptops. Those students also had a higher attendance rate.

Anytime Anywhere Learning Laptop Program Background

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