Do computers really make a difference in kids' learning?
Yes, no, maybe… It depends on what we want children to learn.
Are you interested in the national, state, or local curriculum guidelines? Is lifelong learning important? What do you see as the most important skills? For example, communicating is essential, however people can communicate in many different ways. Traditionally, students have spent most of their time using paper and pencil in the classroom. Today, the word processor, graphics, charts, email, chats, speaking/audiotape, movement/videotape, and the telephone are all tools for communicating ideas.

For example, you might join the Women of NASA chat. This project involves your students in real-time communication with professional women at NASA.
Your students could become involved with a communication project that involves writing, information processing, graphing, and sharing ideas at the Virtual Pond Project.
Ringmaster Quote
Ask not what computers can do with children, but what children can do with computers.
Explore the following websites to investigate the potential of technology:
  • The SofWeb page provides starting points for research articles.
  • The ACOT page focuses on Apple's research projects.
  • The Nuggets page provides an educational technology report.
Use the following websites as starting points for educational technology resources:
The NCET report includes the following positive impacts of technology in education:
  • Flexibility to meet individual needs
  • Reduce the risk of failure at school
  • Present relevant information
  • Motivate and stimulate learning
  • Enhance special needs learning
  • Encourage thinking & collaboration
  • Promote "fresh" teaching
The SPA report suggests positive effects of technology on:
  • achievement
  • collaboration
  • self-learning
  • learning attitudes
The SPA report suggests that effects are based on the following influences:
  • nature of student population
  • software design
  • role of teacher
  • student grouping
  • technology access
The ACOT projects provide the following conclusions:
  • Enthusiasm & Collaboration
  • Graduation Rate Increases
  • Higher Ed Entry Increases
  • Writing Increases
  • Reduced Absentee Rates
  • Basic Skill Learn Time Reduced
  • Information Literacy Increases
What's the impact of technology? It depends on what you want to measure. Are you looking at the effectiveness of technology in reaching a particular learning outcome? Are you interested in efficiency in terms of time, money, or some other measure? What about the appeal, motivation, interest, and novelty of technology?
Believers in technology need to unite. Why are you a believer? How do you judge effectiveness, efficiency, and appeal? Is it test scores, anecdotes, or smiles? How can you show nonbelievers?
Do computers really make a difference in kids' learning?

Do It!
Board members won't read articles. You need to show them!
Given flip chart paper and markers, create a visual representation that can help board members, parents, and community members understand the importance of technology in learning.