The Project RED research team, which has strong ties to the One-to-One institute, recently released a report that identifies best practices for implementing technology in schools to see improvement in student achievement and cost savings.
The report had seven major findings. The first one identified nine factors that most strongly link technology to educational success, including that:
1. Technology is integrated into all intervention classes;
2. Principals and school leaders set aside time for professional learning and collaboration for teachers;
3. Students use technology to collaborate;
4. Technology is integrated into core curricula at least once a week or more;
5. Online formative assessments are administered at least weekly;
6. The lower the student-to-computer ratio, the better;
7. Virtual field trips are used monthly;
8. Students use search engines every day; and
9. Principals receive training on how to encourage teacher buy-in, best practices for technology implementation, and learning transformations as a result of technology.
About one percent of the surveyed schools implemented all nine factors, according to the report. One-to-one schools that did so outperformed all other schools, including one-to-one schools that do not implement all nine factors.
“The presence of computers in a school is a first-order change that does not guarantee improved achievement,” says the report. “Implementation best practices are as important as the technology itself.”
The report also found a positive correlation between properly implemented technology and cost savings. It estimated that total national savings on copying costs could grow to $739 million in high schools alone if all high schools moved to a learning management system. Other cost savings come from reducing redundancies in data collection and software, tracking and identifying the best instructional materials for specific populations of students, and lowering drop-out rates.
Having support from school leaders, like principals, is key to successful implementation of technology, and using technology in intervention classes increases test scores and course completion rates while lowering the drop-out rate, the report says. The survey also found that online collaboration increases student productivity and engagement, and the greatest benefits are seen when students use technology every day.
Data was pulled from a survey of almost 1,000 schools in 49 states and Washington. Findings focused on school-level data instead of district-level data in order to get as close as possible to the students, teachers, and principals, according to the report.
You may recognize some of the names managing Project RED, including Leslie Wilson, the chief executive officer of the One-to-One Institute, Thomas Greaves of the Greaves Group, and Jeanne Hayes of the Hayes Connection, among others.
The full report is 180 pages and must be purchased through Project RED, but a free preview is also available.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.