What is the impact of home computer use on schoolchildren?

August finds us one month away from the traditional start of the school year. Although many communities have year-long school and many schools begin in August, September brings to mind  “Back to School.”

To begin our back to school state of mind re-entry, let’s begin to think about what is the impact of  home computer use on schoolchildren?

The answer to that question—there is little or no educational benefit— seems to belie our assumptions.  Multiple studies seem to suggest that technology immersion programs do not offer any advantage in attaining better test scores but rather the principal effect on students is improved computer skills.

To learn more see http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/business/11digi.html

In “The Medium is the Medium” David Brooks recently wrote how disadvantaged students were given 12 books of their own choosing to take home at the end of the school year for three years.  Researchers found that the students who brought the books home had significantly higher reading scores than other students.  “In fact, just having those 12 books seemed to have as much positive effect as attending summer school.”

Another study which examined computer use among a half million 5th through 8th graders in North Carolina found that the spread of home computers and high-speed internet access was associated with significant decline in math and reading scores.

The findings suggest, “broadband access is not necessarily good for kids and may be harmful to their academic performance.”

The question these findings beg is: Can an Internet culture attract people to serious reading and learning?

To read more



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