By Michael Zwaagstra
A recent study by Jacob Vigdor and Helen Ladd of Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy examined the impact of home computer technology on academic achievement. Contrary to the widespread assumption that more computer access benefits learning, the study found the exact opposite.
In their abstract, they state, “Using within-student variation in home computer access, and across-ZIP code variation in the timing of the introduction of high-speed internet service, we also demonstrate that the introduction of home computer technology is associated with modest but statistically significant and persistent negative impacts on student math and reading test scores. Further evidence suggests that providing universal access to home computers and high-speed internet access would broaden, rather than narrow, math and reading achievement gaps.”
This provides further confirmation of the concerns expressed in my report written for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy two years ago about the excessive emphasis on computers in schools.