Research: Wireless Laptops Motivate Students

Courtesy of TechWeb Notebook PCs increase student motivation while encouraging technology skills, according to a recent report. Students are self-directed and get highly personalized instruction with their own computers and Internet access, according to The Center for Research in Education Policy at the University of Memphis, which released results of a report on the subject at the National Educational Computing Conference. The report is backed by HP and based on observations of Michigan's Freedom to Learn program in 2004 and 2005. It also reflects surveys of teachers, students, and administrators. About 23,000 students and 1,500 teachers in 100 Michigan school districts are participating in the program. Students get their own wireless HP notebook PCs and are allowed to learn at their own pace. Teachers, meanwhile, receive comprehensive training and curriculum guidance through a centralized learning portal. HP technology hosts the statewide portal, which runs on a Microsoft Class Server. A survey of 279 teachers from 77 schools showed increased confidence in integrating the PCs into lessons, aligning notebook use with curriculum standards and greater overall computer skills. More than 90 percent of teachers designated as "leaders" said the program improved student proficiency and comfort, and more than 85 percent said it increased student motivation. More than 90 percent of teachers who participated in professional development reported that the program increased student motivation and student-teacher interaction. Of the 4,245 students (mostly sixth graders) who completed the survey, more than 60 percent said the notebooks increased their interest in learning. More than 87 percent said they want the computers next year, and nearly 60 percent said notebooks make schoolwork easier. Achievement data and parent perceptions are currently under analysis. Previous results, from the Michigan Educational Assessment Program, demonstrated improvements in math and reading scores.

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