Monday, August 30, 2010

Home Computers: Help or hindrance in education

This research found an unexpected trend.

Scaling the Digital Divide: Home Computer Technology and Student Achievement

Does differential access to computer technology at home compound the educational disparities between rich and poor? Would a program of government provision of computers to early secondary school students reduce these disparities? We use administrative data on North Carolina public school students to corroborate earlier surveys that document broad racial and socioeconomic gaps in home computer access and use. Using within-student variation in home computer access, and across-ZIP code variation in the timing of the introduction of high-speed internet service, we also demonstrate that the introduction of home computer technology is associated with modest but statistically significant and persistent negative impacts on student math and reading test scores. Further evidence suggests that providing universal access to home computers and high-speed internet access would broaden, rather than narrow, math and reading achievement gaps.


....The research suggests that programs to expand home computer access would lead to even wider gaps between test scores of advantaged and disadvantaged students, Vigdor said. Several states have pursued programs to distribute computers to students. For example, Maine funded laptops for every sixth-grader, and Michigan approved a program but then did not fund it.

We use the computer a lot at our house. My older daughters take three courses online from a private school. My oldest takes an online course from a university. All my children use ALEKS for math. My youngest daughter taught herself to read on But, my children do not use facebook.

However, parental involvement seems to mitigate the downward trend.

Vigdor and Ladd concluded that home computers are put to more productive use in households where parental monitoring is more effective. In disadvantaged households, parents are less likely to monitor children’s computer use and guide children in using computers for educational purposes.

This study has given me some food for thought.


Sarah in deepest, darkest Lomellina said...

I don't think I could home educate without a 'puter.

It is in the living room to make usre that it is doing what I want it to do rather than pootling off to play with Pokomon games.

There is a rason for that, I used to train teachers to integrate technology into the classroom, I used to have to monitor them to keep them on task rather than checking their email or going off to window shop.

When the going gets tough, the "not so sure of what to do" go to ebay.

Sarah in deepest, darkest Lomellina said...

Ok, my spelling is not that bad but my fingers are tired and hitting the wrong keys.

Honest gov.

Anonymous said...

Thanks VERY much for mentioning ALEKS; I had never heard of it. I might use it for Chemistry, but I'm partial to the Jacobs books for Algebra and Geometry. I WISH I could find an online resource that used Jacobs!

And when the time comes for Physics, we'll be using Wiley's online Halliday, Resnick and Walker.

jessica said...

I just read this....but thinking back to our conversation's, this supports why Ellen did so well in testing.

unsquander said...

Here is something I ran across in a marketing email put out by RedHat: an article on an "Open Source" high school in Utah