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September 17, 2012

Exploring the effects of 1:1 laptop implementation on students

Name: Ryan Hansen
Major: Education
Department: TEAL
Graduation date: Summer 2012 (PhD)
Title: Exploring the effects of 1:1 laptop implementation on quantifiable student outcomes in junior high school science classes between demographic subpopulations of students

The use of internet-based information and digitalized resources is becoming increasingly common in public schools. Laptops or tablets are being provided to students in a 1:1 ratio to be used in accessing instructional information and also as a medium of interaction between the student and the teacher. As schools transition to digital systems of instruction, it is imperative that administrators can predict what the impact on measures of student achievement will be and especially for the more "at-risk" student populations. To investigate the initial reaction of different demographic student groups to a 1:1 implementation, exploratory research was conducted at a school piloting such a program in science classes. Four measures of student outcomes were used in evaluation: academic credits gained, class grades, attendance, and incidents of discipline referral. After 5 months of implementation, most demographic groups experienced little or no change in measured outcomes after the laptop was introduced 1:1. There were no demographic groups that performed significantly better with laptops than they did previously without them. Low-income White students performed relatively worse on academic measures than did all other demographic groups after laptops were introduced and this was in contrast to the more neutral responses experienced by all other demographic groups. The introduction of laptops appeared to have little or no consistent influence on student attendance or discipline referral to administration. Because of the different responses by the different demographic groups to 1:1 implementation on academic measures, it is important that additional research be conducted. In addition to providing a referential foundation and questions for future research, helpful information and insight is also available to the school administrator who may be considering similar digital transformations for their schools.