The Impact of Homes with a School-Provided Laptop
By: Shawna Shell
Published: 05/16/2012
Uploaded: 11/20/2017
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2012 (May) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: laptops, mobile, parents, stress, Technologies, wordle

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Description/Abstract: For decades, educational policy advocates have argued for providing technology to students to enhance their learning environments. From filmstrips (Oppenheimer, 1997) to desktop computers (Cuban, 2002) to laptops (Silvernail, 2009; Warschauer, 2006), they have attempted to change the environment and style in which students learn, and how tools can now go from home to school daily. This interaction between home and school brings to light the question of understanding the goals, needs, and expectations of successfully integrating mobile learning apparatus into both.

The effectiveness of technology-rich projects has received mixed reviews from researchers and critics alike: from the vantage point of integration successfully affecting students' real-time test scores, to increasing technology and multimodal literacies, and to fostering a participatory learning culture both in and out of the classroom.

The purpose of this study was to investigate parent participation, which has been shown to be a critical component of any educational environment. Analyzing the effects of home-to-school technology interactions and the role of the parent helps to better realize the potential benefits and risks to home-to-school collaborative efforts, and may also provide guidance on how to integrate technology into the mainstream curriculum so that all students can benefit from extended and unbounded learning opportunities.

The study was a combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies, conducted at an award-winning laptop school in New York. The study focused on parents' perceptions of issues that included: student excitement, homework time differences, parent responsibilities, and training needs. Eighty-one families participated in the study.

Overall, the results showed that students' excitement to use a laptop within their education was high, homework time was improved because of adequate access to a computer, and students' responsibility for their own success was increased. Parents felt they were responsible for the day-to-day care of the device, such as maintaining the hardware component, but there was no significant increase in parents' appreciation of the actual pedagogy being delivered through the device that the school had originally hoped for.

Two significant findings were revealed: 1) laptops reduced parental stress during homework time, and 2) parents perceived the program as being absolutely free, paid for through either a grant or taxes, which was not the case and had been clearly communicated in all contracts with the parents.