Students who used school-issued laptop computers at school and home perform better in their HSC science exams than those not given the computers, recent research from the University of Sydney has shown.
"While improvements are small to medium they are statistically significant, particularly in the context of highly competitive HSC exams where a margin of a few marks can affect a student's future at university or in the job market," said Simon Crook, a PhD candidate in the physics education research group at the University of Sydney and lead author of an article recently published in the International Journal of Science Education.
While there is widespread research on the impact of using laptops on students' motivation, there is a lack of research on their influence on academic achievement, especially for science. This study capitalised on a unique natural experiment created by the staged roll-out of the campaign, the Digital Education Revolution, in which only half of Year 9 NSW students in 2008 received laptops from their schools. In late 2011, when these students sat their HSC examinations half of them had been schooled with their own laptops for more than three years, and half had not. The research looked at the results of 967 science students from 12 high schools in Sydney, in HSC biology, chemistry and physics.
A paper, "An Evaluation of the Impact of 1:1 Laptops on Student Attainment in Senior High School Sciences', has been published in the International Journal of Science Education and also been featured in The Australian (subscribers only). Authors on the article are Simon Crook (lead), STL reseacher Associate Professor Manju Sharma from the School of Physics and Dr Rachel Wilson from the Faculty of Education and Social Work.
You can view the paper here.