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Back to Feb. Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 229 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS FEBRUARY 2005

New Study: Computers Can Harm Learning
Too much exposure to computers harms academic performance, whether the computers are used at home or at school, according to a large-scale new study by German researchers.

Performance in math and reading suffered significantly among students who have more than one computer at home, and, while students benefited from limited use of computers at school, those who used them several times per week at school performed worse academically, University of Munich researchers announced in November. They examined a sample of 175,000 15-year-olds in 31 countries.

"The mere availability of computers at home seems to distract students from learning," the study concludes. Computers apparently serve mainly as devices for playing games.

"It seems if you overuse computers and trade them for other [types of] teaching, it actually harms the student," lead researcher Ludger Woessmann said. "At least we should be cautious in stating that increasing [access to] computers in the home and school will improve students' math and reading performance." (Christian Science Monitor, 12-6-04)

However, the study found that academic performance rose among students who routinely used e-mail or educational software.

The findings come as U.S. schools invest ever more heavily in computer technology for students and teachers. In Maine, for example, $37 million is being spent over four years to put laptop computers into the hands of every 7th- and 8th-grader, as well as their 3,000 teachers.


 
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