Laptops in school classes improve scores

Feb 15, 2011
Le chercheur Thierry Karsenti a examiné l’influence des ordinateurs portables dans l’apprentissage. Credit: La Tribune/Imacom par Jessica Garneau

The use of laptops in elementary and high school classrooms fosters academic success according to a study conducted in the Eastern Townships School Board (ETSB) by Thierry Karsenti of the Université de Montréal Faculty of Education.

“The ETSB has jumped from 66th to 23rd in the provincial rankings and the dropout rate has fallen from 39.4 percent in 2004-2005 to 22.7 percent in 2008-2009,” says Karsenti. Some might think that the implementation of laptops in the classroom can explain these improvements, but Karsenti isn't bestowing any magical properties to information and communication technology (ICT). In his opinion, a slew of other factors must be present for laptops to have a positive influence in the classroom.

Karsenti and student Simon Collin conducted the study from April 2010 to January 2011 and selected the ETSB because every student from grade 3 to 11 has had a in class for the past eight years. They surveyed 2,432 , 272 teachers, 14 interventionists, and three administrations.

Karsenti highlights that the use of computers as a teaching tool increased concentration, reinforced motivation and facilitated both the development and the autonomy of students. In addition, it provides tailored education all the while teaching computer skills.

“We are witnessing the opening of schools to society,” says Karsenti who holds the Canada Research Chair in Information and Communication Technology in Education. “Students post their work online, read what others have done and can work on projects with students in Korea or Paraguay. It almost seems unfair to other students!”

Karsenti adds that students with laptops write more than average students and seeing as the computer isn't introduced before grade three they still know how to use a good old-fashioned pencil.

The presence of computers clearly affects the teacher-student relationship.

And although students interviewed disapprove of the use of computers in class for any other purpose than learning, teachers must remain interesting or they risk losing their students to Facebook, MSN, or any other distraction that is more appealing than what is happening in the classroom. In addition, teachers can be challenged by students who are fact-checking online what is being taught.

Explore further: Public boarding school—the way to solve educational ills?

Related Stories

Relationships Improve Student Success

Jun 29, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- When students are underachieving, school policymakers often examine class size, curriculum and funding, but University of Missouri researchers suggest establishing relationships may be a powerful ...

See something? Tell the teacher

Nov 23, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Many school districts are pushing principals to spend more time in classrooms observing and evaluating teachers but few are using the information they gather to improve education.

Recommended for you

Public boarding school—the way to solve educational ills?

Apr 25, 2015

Buffalo's chronically struggling school system is considering an idea gaining momentum in other cities: public boarding schools that put round-the-clock attention on students and away from such daunting problems as poverty, ...

Study finds we think better on our feet, literally

Apr 24, 2015

A study from the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health finds students with standing desks are more attentive than their seated counterparts. In fact, preliminary results show 12 percent ...

Improving transfer of migrant remittances

Apr 24, 2015

Millions of people work abroad as maids, construction workers and other low-wage laborers. The money they send back home is essential to their families, helping them start businesses, send children to school ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.