Argueta et al (2011)

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Argueta, R; Huff, J; Tingen, J & Corn, J (2011) Laptop Initiatives: Summary of Research Across Six States. Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, North Carolina State University. (accessed 22-08-2012)

Report on the evaluations of 1:1 initiatives in Florida, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. They found generally positive relationships between 1:1 environments and various aspects of the teaching and learning process. They reported that teachers used the laptops to develop instructional materials, access information related to instruction, and communicate with colleagues; students used laptops to complete classroom assignments and conduct research.

In some initiatives there was a shift from teacher-centered to student-centered instructional practices, with teachers facilitating more and presenting less, and many students becoming more self-directed learners. Students and teachers reported an increase in engagement and motivation after the implementation of several of the 1:1 initiatives. Some but not all of the evaluations also found an association between laptop use and increased student achievement in several academic areas. Evaluators also reported that laptops have facilitated the development of 21st century skills (e.g. digital literacy, creativity and innovation skills, critical thinking and problem solving skills, communication and collaboration, and self-directed learning) among students.

Issues and recommendations

Effective leadership is fundamental for the successful implementation and sustainability of the initiative, as are thorough planning, initial and ongoing targeted professional development, buy-in from all stakeholders, and a robust infrastructure.

Implementers should plan to assess the initiative’s impact on student learning and use the results to make adjustments to improve that learning. In particular,:

• Develop a thorough implementation plan and train teachers before distributing digital devices

• Ascertain that the school or district has the appropriate technological and leadership infrastructures to run the program

• Secure strong buy-in from all stakeholders, including district and school leadership, teachers, students, parents, and the community

• Construct a leadership team with an eye toward members who will commit long-term to the initiative and support it

• Provide continuous professional development that is aligned with teacher needs

• Ensure continuous availability of efficient technical and instructional support personnel

• Enact policies for the appropriate use of digital devices and resources

• Use data from project evaluations to inform and improve future program decisions.