Date of Award:

2012

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Education

Advisor/Chair:

Dr. Michael Freeman

Abstract

Digital technology is becoming increasingly affordable and schools are engaging in 1:1 implementations faster than research can support. Laptop implementations in a 1:1 ratio promise personalized instruction and more access to enriched curriculums and information. As schools transition, it is imperative they know and can predict what the impact on measures of student achievement will be. This is especially so for more “at‐risk” student populations.

During the 2010‐2011 school year, a Utah junior high school implemented a 1:1 laptop program to investigate the demands of 1:1 implementation prior to other area schools making similar transitions. Exploratory research was conducted on science classes to investigate the initial reaction of different demographic groups to a 1:1 laptop implementation. Four measures of student outcomes were evaluated (academic credits gained, class grades, attendance, and incidents of discipline referral). After 5 months of 1:1 implementation in science, it was found that:

    • 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.
    • Low‐income ethnic minority students measured slight improvement on class grades after laptops were introduced, and this reaction appeared to be different from the lowincome White students.
    • Students who participated in a laptop computer class that was in addition to their science class achieved slightly better grades in science than did students who only used the laptop in science.
    • The introduction of laptops appeared to have little or no consistent influence on student attendance or discipline referral although teachers did state classroom management required adjustments after laptop introduction.

Because of the different responses by the more “at‐risk” student populations to 1:1 implementation, it is important that additional research be conducted on the different reactions of demographic subpopulations in the 1:1 setting. This exploratory study helped provide a referential foundation and questions from which additional research and more effective laptop implementations can begin.

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on October 19, 2012.

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