|Back to May Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 256||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||May 2007|
|Does Education Technology Help Math or Reading?|
The study compared the classes of 439 teachers in 132 schools. These classes were at four different levels: 1st-grade reading, 4th-grade reading, 6th-grade math, and Algebra I (usually 9th grade). At each of the four levels, students in the technology classroom used the study software for about 10 or 11% of their instructional time in that subject over the course of a year. There was no significant difference in the learning of students in the technology classrooms and the control group classrooms at any of the four levels studied.
These results are especially surprising because the study used software products that are among the best available. Companies volunteered 160 products for the study. The Department of Education chose 16 of those, based on reported prior evidence of effectiveness as well as ease of implementation and whether teacher training and support were available. 12 of the 16 products have won or been nominated for awards. The reading software programs cost an average of $100 per student per year. Most of the math programs cost less than $20 per student per year.
Although the study did not look into the popularity of software programs or how widely they are already being used, according to the companies themselves some products have already been used in thousands of classrooms or even thousands of schools nationwide.
The study will evaluate a second year of results, which will help to show whether the products are more effective when teachers have more experience in using them.