In the last post, I wrote about how I compared 1:1 schools to the rest of the schools in the state. That process enabled me to use a technique called propensity score matching to identify control schools that would look similar to 1:1 schools on multiple measures (22 variables). After completing that process I had identified my 37 treatment (1:1 schools) and 73 control (non-1:1 schools). Surveys were then sent to teachers at each of those schools, and I received approximately 1,000 complete responses. The survey responses were then used to answer the three major research questions from my study.
The first research question is one that may seem to have a very obvious answer. I wanted to investigate whether there were major differences in the amount of time that 1:1 and non-1:1 students used technology. However, schools have often invested in technologies that have failed to reach wide-scale adoption or use (Cuban, 1986; Saettler, 2004). My literature review focused on many of those wide scale technology implementations that didn’t result in increased time using technology. Project Red actually reported that in 40% of 1:1 schools, students did not use the technology on a daily basis. My experiences in education also provide much anecdotal evidence about how increased technology doesn’t always amount to increased student use. One example I’ve often seen is the dust filled technology room in the media center. Another quite obnoxious example is the interactive white board that has turned into a bulletin board.
Teachers were able to select their answers from a 7-point Likert scale. The responses ranged from “Not at all” to “Daily.” On average, teachers at 1:1 schools reported scores that were over 1 point higher than teachers at non-1:1 schools on the 7-point scale representing how much time students use technology. Although my study didn’t allow me to quantify the number of minutes students used technology, it did allow me to acknowledge that a major difference existed between students at 1:1 schools and those that weren’t at 1:1 schools. This finding may be fairly powerful for school leaders who believe that their students should be using technology on a regular basis. The table below highlights the number of responses for each of the choices. As you can see, there were fewer 1:1 teachers who responded, but their scores were much higher on the scale overall.
Cuban, L. (1986). Teachers and machines: The classroom use of technology since 1920. New York, N.Y.: Teachers College Press.
Saettler, P. (2004). The evolution of American educational technology. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.