Technology-enhanced classroom instruction

Technology such as computers, mobile devices, internet access, and interactive white boards can be incorporated into instruction to help educators deliver learning materials and support learning in traditional classrooms (Cheung 2012*). Computer-assisted instruction programs, for example, deliver instruction at each student’s assessed level, supplementing teacher instruction but relying primarily on computer/student interaction. Computer-managed learning programs assess students, assign materials, score tests, and chart progress. Comprehensive models combine computer-assisted instruction with non-computer activities.

Expected Beneficial Outcomes (Rated)

  • Increased academic achievement

Other Potential Beneficial Outcomes

  • Enhanced academic instruction

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is strong evidence that educational technology modestly improves student achievement when incorporated into traditional classroom learning (Cheung 2012*Cheung 2013*Tamim 2011*, Mathematica-Streke 2011), especially when the intervention includes teacher training and support (Archer 2014*). Effects are stronger for educational technology applications in K-12 classrooms than in postsecondary classrooms (Tamim 2011*).

Educational technology modestly improves reading outcomes for K-12 students (Cheung 2012*Mathematica-Streke 2011). Effects appear stronger for comprehensive programs that integrate teacher and computerized instruction than for computer-assisted instruction (CAI) alone (BEE-Cheung 2012*). For struggling readers, however, small-group tutorial programs that tightly integrate with a class’ reading curriculum can produce greater improvements in reading outcomes than comprehensive, whole-class programs or CAI (Cheung 2012*). Effects can also be stronger for beginning reading programs. However, beginning reader intervention programs that do not use computers can be more effective than technology-enhanced interventions (Mathematica-Streke 2011).

Educational technology modestly improves K-12 math outcomes, especially for elementary and special education students (Li 2010*). Effects on math outcomes appear stronger for CAI programs than for more integrated approaches (Cheung 2013*). Effects also appear stronger when programs use a student guided problem-solving approach rather than simply supplementing an existing didactic approach (Li 2010*Rosen 2007). Integrating educational technology into elementary school science classrooms can also enhance teaching and increase science learning (Slavin 2014).

Technology enhanced classroom instruction can benefit at-risk students when engaging students in interactive learning with teachers and technology and when the technology is used to explore and create, instead of to drill students (Darling-Hammond 2014).

Technology enhanced instruction can also improve college student achievement, especially in the physical and social sciences (Timmerman 2006*). Enhancements appear most effective when they interactively support cognition rather than simply presenting course content electronically (Schmid 2009*, Schmid 2014*).

Impact on Disparities

No impact on disparities likely

Implementation Examples

The federal Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology shares stories about educational technology innovation around the country and provides resources and grants for states to improve the use of technology in their school systems (US ED OET-About). The National Education Technology Plan outlines a vision for greater equity of access to technology and to enriched learning experiences provided by technology across the country (US ED-NETP 2016).

Implementation Resources

US ED-ED-TECH - US Department of Education (US ED). Enhancing education through technology (ED-TECH) state program.

NCSL-Technology - National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Technology in the classroom.

RWT - Talking Fingers. Read, write & type! (RWT). Learning system.

Voyager-VP - Voyager Sopris Learning. Voyager Passport (VP) with eBooks: Literacy solutions to accelerate student achievement.

AIR-Technology - American Institutes for Research (AIR). Technology for teaching and learning.

US ED OET-Resources for teachers - US Department of Education (US ED), Office of Educational Technology (OET). Featured resources for teachers.

Citations - Evidence

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

Cheung 2012* - Cheung ACK, Slavin RE. How features of educational technology applications affect student reading outcomes: A meta-analysis. Educational Research Review. 2012;7(3):198–215.

Cheung 2013* - Cheung ACK, Slavin RE. The effectiveness of educational technology applications for enhancing mathematics achievement in K-12 classrooms: A meta-analysis. Educational Research Review. 2013;9:88–113.

Tamim 2011* - Tamim RM, Bernard RM, Borokhovski E, Abrami PC, Schmid RF. What forty years of research says about the impact of technology on learning: A second-order meta-analysis and validation study. Review of Educational Research. 2011;81(1):4-28.

Mathematica-Streke 2011 - Streke A, Chan T. Reviewing systematic reviews: Meta-analysis of What Works Clearinghouse computer-assisted interventions. Princeton: Mathematica Policy Research (MPR); 2011.

Archer 2014* - Archer K, Savage R, Sanghera-Sidhu S, et al. Examining the effectiveness of technology use in classrooms: A tertiary meta-analysis. Computers & Education. 2014;78:140-149.

BEE-Cheung 2012* - Cheung ACK, Slavin RE. Effects of educational technology applications on reading outcomes for struggling readers: A best evidence synthesis. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education. Best Evidence Encyclopedia (BEE). 2012.

Li 2010* - Li Q, Ma X. A meta-analysis of the effects of computer technology on school students’ mathematics learning. Educational Psychology Review. 2010;22(3):215–43.

Rosen 2007 - Rosen Y, Salomon G. The differential learning achievements of constructivist technology-intensive learning environments as compared with traditional ones: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Computing Research. 2007;36(1):1–14.

Slavin 2014 - Slavin RE, Lake C, Hanley P, Thurston A. Experimental evaluations of elementary science programs: A best-evidence synthesis. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 2014;51(7):870-901.

Darling-Hammond 2014 - Darling-Hammond L, Zielezinski MB, Goldman S. Using technology to support at-risk students’ learning. Stanford, CA: Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE); 2014.

Timmerman 2006* - Timmerman CE, Kruepke KA. Computer-assisted instruction, media richness, and college student performance. Communication Education. 2006;55(1):73–104.

Schmid 2009* - Schmid RF, Bernard RM, Borokhovski E, et al. Technology’s effect on achievement in higher education: A stage I meta-analysis of classroom applications. Journal of Computing in Higher Education. 2009;21(2):95–109.

Schmid 2014* - Schmid RF, Bernard RM, Borokhovski E, et al. The effects of technology use in postsecondary education: A meta-analysis of classroom applications. Computers & Education. 2014;72:271-291.

Citations - Implementation Examples

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

US ED OET-About - US Department of Education (US ED), Office of Educational Technology (OET). About OET initiatives, publications, and resources.

US ED-NETP 2016 - US Department of Education (US ED), Office of Educational Technology (OET). National education technology plan (NETP). 2016.

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