Laptop projects have been around in schools for quite some time, but it hasn’t been until very recently that researchers have been able to gather data on the impact of providing every student with mobile technology.

Interestingly, the results would indicate that laptop projects, sometimes called 1:1 initiatives, have shown to increase not only students’ collaborative skills but also in increasing self-directed learning. As we saw earlier, both factors are important to the expectations of Gen Y/Z learners.

Area #2 Mobile Technology

In a meta-study of the laptop initiatives in six states (Florida, Maine, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas), researchers at the William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State learned:

  1. Laptops increase student engagement. Interestingly, even though many of the technology-rich projects required more time of students, they reported the activities more fun and engaging.
  2. The use of laptops generally had a positive impact on student achievement, writing in particular.
  3. Laptops had a positive impact on creativity and higher-order thinking skills.
  4. Students using laptops improved their communication and collaboration skills.
  5. Researchers observed significant increases in independent inquiry and research with students using laptops.

Laptop or tablet initiatives are costly, and therefore implementation of projects must be thoughtful and well planned. Researchers have learned a great deal of what it takes to successfully implement a 1:1 project. Most importantly, teachers must be excited and willing to make full use of the tools and begin to restructure they way they organize their classroom activities and communicate with students.

As Marshall prepares to implement its 1:1 project, our faculty have formed a 1:1 Steering Committee and several sub-committees to prepare the groundwork. Our Professional Development sub-committee is developing a comprehensive plan to support and inspire faculty as they move forward next year. In addition, this summer several of our teachers will be attending national conferences on laptop programs.