Technology's Impact on
From a Department of Education
1995 forum, some panelists contended that rather than debating
the connections between technology-based instruction and test
scores, schools should focus on the most obvious and compelling
reason form implementing technology-namely, that students need
strong technology skills to succeed in the world of work. This
section will provide you with the impact technology has on
You can find the following in this section:
Report The Costs and Effectiveness of Educational
"Through the use of advanced computing and
telecommunications technology, learning can also be
qualitatively different. The process of learning in the
classroom can become significantly richer as students
have access to new and different types of information,
can manipulate it on the computer through graphic
displays or controlled experiments in ways never before
possible, and can communicate their results and
conclusions in a variety of media to their teacher,
students in the next classroom, or students around the
world. For example, using technology, students can
collect and graph real-time weather, environmental, and
populations data from their community, use that data to
create color maps and graphs, and then compare these maps
to others created by students in other communities.
Similarly, instead of reading about the human circulatory
system and seeing textbook pictures depicting bloodflow,
students can use technology to see blood moving through
veins and arteries, watch the process of oxygen entering
the bloodstream, and experiment to understand the effects
of increased pulse or cholesterol-filled arteries on
blood flow." (page 16)
"We know now - based on decades of use in
schools, on findings of hundreds of research studies, and
on the everyday experiences of educators, students, and
their families - that, properly used, technology can
enhance the achievement of all students, increase
families involvement in their childrens
schooling, improve teachers skills and knowledge,
and improve school administration and management."
Basic Skills Instruction
- Computer assisted instruction to drill
- Multi-media software - teach to a variety of learning
- Videodiscs - strengthen basic skills
- Video and audio technologies - bring material to life
- Distance learning - at least as effective as traditional
methods of instruction
- All forms - develop new skills related to use of
technology itself, necessary in workplace
Advanced Skills Instruction
- Interactive educational technologies, including:
- Computer-generated simulations
- Students learn to: organize complex information,
recognize patterns, draw inferences, communicate findings
- Learn better organizational and problem-solving skills
Assessment of Student Progress
- More comprehensive with multimedia
- Assessments which require students active
- Electronic portfolios
- They like it better
- Increased family involvement
- Improved teachers skills
- Improved School Administration and Management
"We know that successful
technology-rich schools generate impressive results for students,
including improved achievement; higher test scores; improved
student attitude, enthusiasm, and engagement; richer classroom
content; and improved student retention and job placement rates.
Of the hundreds of studies that show positive benefits from the
use of technology, two are worth noting for their
comprehensiveness. The first, a U.S. Department of
Education-funded study of nine
technology-rich schools, concluded that the use of technology
resulted in educational gains for all students regardless of age,
race, parental income, or other characteristics. [GET THIS] The
second, a 10-year study supported by Apple
Computer, Inc., concluded that
student provided with technology-rich learning environments
continued to perform well on standardized tests but were
also developing a variety of competencies not usually measured.
Students explored and represented information dynamically and in
many forms; became socially aware and more confident;
communicated effectively about complex processes; became
independent learners and self-starters; knew their areas of
expertise and shared that expertise spontaneously."
Success Seen in ED Study:
- Rising scores on state tests
- Improved student attendance
- Increased student comprehension
- Strong study
- Parent and teacher support
- Improved student retention
- Improved placement in jobs.
Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT)
ACOT as summarized by Howard Mehlinger:
"In 1986 Apple Computer, Inc.
launched a project call Apple
Classrooms of Tomorrow
(ACOT). The project began with seven classrooms representing what
was intended to be a cross section of K-12 schools. Each
participating student and teacher received two computers: one for
home and one for school. The goal of the project was to see how
the routing use of computers would affect how students learn and
how teacher teach."
One issue the project hoped to confront was the possibility of
any negative effects from prolonged exposure to computers. Some
critics have worried that students who use computers extensively
will become brain-dead or less social from looking at
the computer screen all day. At the end of two years, the
investigators learned that some of their worst fears had been
- Teachers were not hopeless illiterates where technology
was concerned; they could use computers to accomplish
- Children did not become social isolates. ACOT classes
showed more evidence of spontaneous cooperative learning
than did traditional classes.
- Children did not become bored by the technology over
time. Instead, their desire to use it for their own
purposes increased with use.
- Even very young children had no problem becoming adept
users of the keyboard. With very little training, second-
and third- graders were some typing 25 to 30 words per
minute with 95% accuracy - more than twice as fast as
children of that age can usually write.
- Software was not a major problem. Teacher found programs
- including productivity tools - to use in their classes.
Standardized test scores showed that student were performing
as well as they might have been expected to do without the
computers; some were doing better. The studies showed that ACOT
students wrote better and were able to complete unites of study
more rapidly than their peers in non-ACOT classrooms. In one
case, students finished the years study of mathematics by
the beginning of April. In short, academic productivity did not
suffer and in some cases even improved.
Most interesting, however, is that classroom observers noticed
changes in the behavior of teachers and students. Students were
taking more responsibility for their own learning, and teachers
were working more as mentors and less as presenters of
By the end of the fourth year, ACOT classrooms had change;
teachers were teaching differently, though they did not all teach
alike. Each teacher seemed to have adjusted his or her own style
to the computer-rich environment, but all the teachers were aware
of the changes that had occurred in their own professional
The students had also changed, especially the ACOT students at
West High School, a school serving urban, blue-collar families in
Columbus, Ohio. Twenty-one freshmen were selected at random from
the student body to participate in a study of ACOT. They stayed
with the program until their graduation four years later. Al 21
graduated, whereas the student body as a whole had a 30% dropout
rate. Nineteen of the ACOT students (90%) went on to college,
while only 15% of non-ACOT student sought higher education. Seven
of the ACOT students were offered full college scholarships, and
several businesses offered to hire those who did not intend to go
on to college. ACOT students had half the absentee rate, and they
had accumulated more than their share of academic honors. But
perhaps the most important finding was the difference exhibited
by these students in how they did their work. The ACOT students
routinely and without prompting employed inquiry, collaboration,
and technological and problem-solving skills of the kind promoted
by the school reform movement.
Learning More About ACOT
Visit the ACOT Homepage at ACOT
- 900-APPL (1775) (Apple education information)
- 825-2145 for ACOT research reports and video
The ACOT Research Portfolio - 1990 includes the
- ACOT Evaluation Study: First- and Second-Year Findings
- Teacher Beliefs and Practices Part I: Patterns of Change
- Teacher Beliefs and Practices Part II: Support for Change
- Teaching in High-tech Environments: Classroom Management
- Development of Teacher Knowledge and Implementation of a
Problem-based Mathematics Curriculum
The ACOT Research Portfolio - 1992 includes the
- Computer Acquisition: A longitudinal Study of the
Influence of High Computer Access on Students
Thinking, Learning, and Interactions
- The Negotiations of Group Authorship Among Second-Graders
Using Multimedia Composing Software
- Partnerships for Change
- The Relationship Between Technological Innovation and
- Trading Places: When Teacher Utilize Student Expertise in
The ACOT Research Portfolio - 1994 includes the
- Creating an Alternative Context for Teacher Development:
ACOTs Two-year Pilot Project
- Creating an Alternative Context for Teacher Development:
The ACOT Teacher Development Centers
- Environments that Support New Mode4s of Learning: The
Results of Two Interactive Design Workshops
- MediFusion: A Tool That Supports Learning Through
Experience, Reflection, and Collaboration
- Student Engagement Revisited: Views from Technology-Rick
Two-page summaries of many of the research reports are
available free, either by fax of electronically. To order by fax,
call Apple Education at (800) 800-APPL (2775)
ACOT of Impact on Students
The following information summarize ACOT's impact on students:
- Explored and represented information dynamically and in
- Became socially aware and more confident.
- Communicated effectively about complex processes.
- Used technology routinely and appropriately.
- Became independent learners and self-starters.
- Knew their areas of expertise and shared that expertise
- Worked well collaboratively.
- Developed a positive orientation to the future.
Other ACOT Findings After 10 Years
- Technology acts as a catalyst for fundamental change in
the way students learn and teacher teach.
- Technology revolutionizes the traditional methods
- Students become re-energized and much more excited about
learning - resulting in significantly improved grades -
while dropout and absentee rates decrease dramatically.
- For high school students in the program, drop-out rates
fell from 30 percent to near zero, while absenteeism was
reduced from 8 percent to 4 percent.
- Teachers can and will embrace technology, if they are
given the kind of professional development and support
Effects of Educational Technology
In a 1994 Software Publisher's Association (SPA) study,
research found that:
- Educational technology has a significant positive impact
on achievement in all subject areas, across all levels of
school, and in regular classrooms as well as those for
- Educational technology has positive effects on student
- The degree of effectiveness is influenced by the student
population, the instructional design, the teachers
role, how students are grouped, and the levels of student
access to technology.
- Technology makes instruction more student-centered,
encourages cooperative learning, and stimulated increased
- Positive changes in the learning environment evolve over
time and do not occur quickly.
"Americas Children and the Information
Superhighway: A Briefing Book and National Action Agenda"
Wendy Lazarus and Laurie Lipper, Directors, The Childrens
- A five-year report (1987-1992) by the Sacramento School
District in California found that students using
multimedia and telecommunications showed improved
attitudes toward reading, social studies and science, and
became more active and independent in learning. Some also
showed improved reading scores.
- A survey of 550 teachers who use telecommunications
technology in the classroom reported that
"inquiry-based analytical skills - like critical
thinking, data analysis, problem solving, and independent
thinking - develop when students use a technology that
supports research, communication, and analysis. However,
telecommunications does not directly help their
performances on state- or city- mandated tests.
Multiple Intelligences and
Howard Gardner, Professor of Harvard University and author of Frames
of Mind (New York: Basic Books, 1983) from Multimedia Book,
ITTE wrote that:
- Seven or more "multiple intelligences" that are
of equal importance in human beings and develop at
different times and in different ways in different
- Multi-media can go along way to addressing these
intelligences, much more than traditional teaching
- Below is a list of the intelligences and the technology
tools that can be used to teach to them
Verbal/Linguistic intelligence: The
ability to think, communicate, and create through words both in
speech and in writing.
- Computer software which allows young children to
write and illustrate their own stories before their
fine motor skills are developed enough to allow them
to do so by hand.
- Word processing software stimulates learners to
interact more closely with their work.
- Audio and video recording can give students instant
feedback on their story-telling skills and can help
them develop them further.
- Multimedia software helps students produce multimedia
- Telecommunications programs link students who
correspond in writing.
Memorize and perform mathematical operations, ability to think
mathematically, logically, and analytically and to apply that
understanding to problem solving.
- Multimedia products that graphically illustrate physics
- Providing challenging visual/spatial tasks which
develop mathematical and logical thinking .
- Develop higher-order mathematical thinking by
making abstract ideas concrete.
Visual/spatial intelligence: The
ability to understand the world through what we see and imagine
and to express ideas through the graphic arts.
- "Paint" programs that allow students who are
unskilled with paper and brush create art on computer
- Databases of art work.
- Desktop publishing.
- Camcorders to create documentaries.
- Internet links to museums and virtual tours.
Bodily/kinesthetic intelligence: The
ability to learn through physical coordination and dexterity and
the ability to express oneself through physical activities.
- Educational games which challenge fine motor coordination
while developing logical thinking skills and mastery over
- Construction of lego robots and program their movement
through the computer.
- Electronic fieldtrips - programs that allow students to
interact electronically with a scientist who is exploring
the depths of the Mediterranean or the inside of a
Musical intelligence: The ability to
understand, appreciate, perform, and create music by voice or
instruments or dance.
- Students can hum into a synthesizer and make it sound
like any instrument they want.
- Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) makes it
possible to make music on an electronic keyboard, which
can be made to sound like any instrument and then can be
- Interactive presentations of renowned classical music let
students understand music on many different levels;
listening to it, seeing the score as it is played,
hearing individual instruments played alone, reviewing
biographical material about the composer and learning
about the musics historical and cultural
Interpersonal intelligence: The ability to work
cooperatively with other people and to apply a variety of skills
to communicate with and understand others.
- Clusters of students working together on computers learn
more than individual students working alone.
- Electronic networks linking students with their peers
within the community and around the world.
- Lumaphones allow students to see a picture of the person
with whom they are speaking.
Intrapersonal intelligence: The
ability to understand, bring to consciousness, and express
ones own inner world of thoughts and emotions.
- Multimedia gives teachers the tools to turn the classroom
into centers of student-directed inquiry.
- Technology offers tools for thinking more deeply,
pursuing curiosity, and exploring and expanding
intelligence as students build "mental models"
with which they can visualize connections between ideas
on any topic.
- Individual growth plans, developed jointly by the
student, parents and teacher can encourage the
development of intrapersonal intelligence. Technology
supports such plans with electronic records, videotaped
interviews, and multimedia portfolios of student work.
Connecting Students to a Changing
The following quotes were taken from Connecting Students to a
Changing World: A Technology Strategy for Improving Mathematics
and Science Education. A Statement by the Research and Policy
Committee of the Committee for Economic Development 1995:
"Fortunately, the same rapid
technological changes that have made these new workplace
competencies so important and greater knowledge of mathematics
and science so critical also provide new and effective tools to
help raise the knowledge and skills of teachers and the
achievement of students." (page 4)
technologies, the most important of which are computers,
communications systems (including Internet connections), and
interactive videodisk and CD-ROM systems, provide a learning
environment in which problem solving and intellectual inquiry can
flourish." (page 4)
"The technology also allows
students to work at their own pace and encourages them to take
initiative and learn independently." (page 4)
Better Students Through Technology
Visit the site http://www.cast.org/stsstudy.html
and learn more about the following:
- The Role of Online Communications in Schools: A National
Study" is a report of a study conducted by CAST
(Center for Applied Special Technology), and independent
research and development organization, and sponsored by
the Scholastic Network and Council of the Great City
The study compared the work of 500 students
in fourth-grade and sixth-grade classes in seven urban
school districts (Chicago, Dayton, Detroit, Memphis,
Miami, Oakland, and Washington, DC) with and without
online access. Results show significantly higher scores
on measurements of information management, communication,
and presentation of ideas for experimental groups with
online access than for control groups with no online
"Technology is making a significant, positive impact on
education. Important findings in these studies include:
- Educational technology as demonstrated a significant
positive effect on achievement. Positive effects have
been found for all major subject areas, in preschool
through higher education, and for both regular education
and special needs students. Evidence suggests that
interactive video is especially effective when the skills
and concepts to be learned have a visual component and
when the software incorporates a research-based
instructional design. Use of online telecommunications
for collaboration across classrooms in different
geographic locations has also been show to improve
- Education technology has been found to have positive
effects on student attitudes toward learning and on
student self-concept. Students felt more successful in
school, were more motivated to learn and have increased
self-confidence and self-esteem when using computer-based
instruction. This was particularly true when the
technology allowed learners to control their own
- The level of effectiveness of educational technology is
influenced by the specific student population, the
software design, the teachers role, how the
students are grouped, and the level of student access to
- Students trained in collaborative learning, had higher
self esteem and student achievement.
- Introducing technology into the learning environment has
been shown to make learning more student-centered, to
encourage cooperative learning, and to stimulate
increased teacher/student interaction.
- Positive changes in the learning environment brought
about by technology are more evolutionary than
revolutionary. These changes occur over a period of
years, as teachers become more experienced with
- Courses for which computer-based networks were use
increased student-student and student-teacher
interaction, increased student-teacher interaction with
lower-performing students, and did not decrease the
traditional forms of communication used. Many student who
seldom participate in face-to-face class discussion
become more active participants online.
- Greater student cooperation and sharing and helping
behaviors occurred when students used computer-based
learning that had students compete against the computer
rather than against each other.
- Small group collaboration on computer is especially
effective when student have received training in the
Research Showing Impact of
- Institute for the Transfer of Technology to
- 1680 Duke Street
- Alexandria, VA 22314
- (703) 838-6722
- Education Resources Information Center (ERIC)
- c/o. Access ERIC
- 1600 Research Boulevard
- Rockville, MD 20850
- (800) 538-3742
- Office of Educational Technology
- U.S. Department of Education
- 600 Independence Ave., SW
- Washington, D.C. 20202
- (800) 872-5327
- North Central Regional Technology Education
- Educational Laboratory
- 1900 Spring Road
- Suite 300
- Oak Brook, IL 60521
- (630) 218-1051
- International Society for Technology in
- 1787 Agate Street
- Eugene, OR 97403-1923
- (541) 346-4414
- Effective Practice: Computer Technology in
- Order at (800) 336-5191
- Committee for Economic Development
- 477 Madison Ave.
- New York, NY 10022
- (212) 688-2063 ext. 212
- Connecting Students to a Changing World: A
Technology Strategy for Improving Mathematics and
- Software Publishers Association
- 1730 M. Street, NW
- Washington, D.C. 20036
- (202) 452-1600
- Analysis of research findings available in Report
on the Effectiveness of Technology in Schools
- American School Board Journal March 1993
- "Asking the Right Questions" Saul
- Midcentral Educational Laboratory
- Impact of Technology/Additional Resources