You know how OLPC stresses that children should take computers home. That extending the school day throughout the day will make smarter students. And that families would welcome the XO laptop into their homes.
Well OLPC might want to re-think that idea when they read the recent New York Times article Computers at Home: Educational Hope vs. Teenage Reality where two studies show that computers at home decreased math and English test scores of students in low-income families.
- Home Computer Use and the Development of Human Capital found that:
Children who won a voucher had significantly lower school grades in Math, English and Romanian but significantly higher scores in a test of computer skills and in self-reported measures of computer fluency.
- Scaling the Digital Divide: Home Computer Technology and Student Achievement found that:
[We can] 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.
Now what do you think: are these researchers on to something - that if you leave a child with a laptop, they'll play useless games instead of doing homework, and therefore fall behind their peers? Or are test scores actually incapable of capturing the cognitive impact of computer usage, and therefore a useless indicator of XO laptop success?
Either way, join us on the Educational Technology Debate as we wonder,
Do Computers and Internet Access at Home Reduce Student Test Scores?
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