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GROUP 1. Where does learning live? Comparing the effects of computer-based learning for individuals, classrooms, and communities

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Abstract:

Chair: Stephen Heyneman
Stage: Beginning writing
Motivation/hypotheses
It was supposed to radically transform the essence of learning. An American policymaker declared, “Its educational potential is unlimited.”
It was 1947, and U.S. Chairman of the FCC Denny was describing the television (Wolters, 1947, p. 1). This same language, though, could be inserted into an article about computer-based learning today, as educational technology continues riding the waves of public faith. But this time may be different.
In this study, I conduct three randomized control trials (RCTs) that test the effectiveness of three major one-to-one computing initiatives in delivering a health education intervention. The “One Laptop Per Child” group (OLPC) focuses on individualized learning, the Intel Classmate (IC) is built around the classroom as the unit of learning, and the “Hole-in-the-Wall” (HITW) program is built around organic community groups. All have been in place for some time in India. I deploy an HIV/AIDS education program for 10-12 year olds in rural and urban settings, comparing outcomes for control and treatment groups.
I ask:
RQ1. Does a computer-based health education program improve children’s knowledge about HIV/AIDS?
RQ2. Which environment is the most effective at delivering it?
I hypothesize that, contrary to technologies past, computers are an effective way of delivering learning. However, I believe previous studies have shown mixed results because they failed to address context; I hypothesize that learning incorporating peers will be more effective.
Conceptual framework
Constructivist learning theory both encourages the test of an overall effect of computer-based learning and introduces a tension between individualized and peer-based learning. Constructivism and its offshoots argue that students build on knowledge by individualizing it to the framework they already understand (Piaget, 1962; Papert, 1984), and the flexibility of computer platforms aligns more closely with this framework than traditional technologies. Some previous results question the use of computers in education (Angrist & Lavy, 2002), but numerous studies suggest they may be useful (DeBoer, 2010) (RQ1).
While the basic framework of constructivism motivates the use of computers in learning, it also introduces a tension between the unique needs of an individual (Glasersfeld, 1989) and the environment around the learner (Duffy & Jonassen, 1992). Is the individual (Slavin & Karweit, 1985), the classroom (McEwan, 2003), or the community (Henry et al., 2008), the most important setting for learning (RQ2)? No studies have yet pitted the contexts of learning against each other, especially in computer education research.
Data
My sampling frame includes sites in India where the respective interventions have already been deployed. I am in contact with leaders of each platform, and I will include in my sample available sites. I randomize at the school or kiosk level. Treatment schools have the program installed on the computers.
HIV/AIDS is a somber challenge around the world, and India has been confronted with a large epidemic since the early 1980s (World Health Organization, 2005). However, the country has also recognized the potential of education to mitigate the spread of the disease (Arora et al., 2008). The need for attention to the disease and the promising environment for HIV/AIDS education make India a useful site.
The intervention, an HIV/AIDS education program, is a digitized version of a workbook for students in the “target window” (10-12 years old) for interventions (Save the Children, 2008). Building on constructivism, the program allows users to (a) create their own identity as they go through the workbook, (b) learn facts about HIV/AIDS, and (c) connect to other users.
The computers themselves gather test information pre- and post-treatment in knowledge and attitudes assessments provided by the workbook and installed as a component of the program. This assessment method facilitates data collection as well as tests children on knowledge directly related to the application. I also collect demographic background data. These observations are gathered prior to treatment and three, six, and nine months after treatment.
As an RCT, this study estimates the causal effect of the computer-based learning intervention by comparing the growth in knowledge about HIV/AIDS between the treatment and control schools (RQ1). Regression results incorporating demographic information demonstrate sensitivity. I use a two-sample mean comparison t-test. I test for a differential effect between the three implementations with a Chow test (RQ2).
India has a number of characteristics that make education policy complex—a widely diverse ethnic, linguistic, and economic makeup, barriers of infrastructure and geography, and a tumultuous federal political system. Future work could replicate this study in other countries.
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
URL:
http://www.cies.us


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492617_index.html
Direct Link:
HTML Code:

MLA Citation:

DeBoer, Jennifer. "GROUP 1. Where does learning live? Comparing the effects of computer-based learning for individuals, classrooms, and communities" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 01, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492617_index.html>

APA Citation:

DeBoer, J. , 2011-05-01 "GROUP 1. Where does learning live? Comparing the effects of computer-based learning for individuals, classrooms, and communities" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492617_index.html

Publication Type: CIES New Scholar Fellow Proposal
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Chair: Stephen Heyneman
Stage: Beginning writing
Motivation/hypotheses
It was supposed to radically transform the essence of learning. An American policymaker declared, “Its educational potential is unlimited.”
It was 1947, and U.S. Chairman of the FCC Denny was describing the television (Wolters, 1947, p. 1). This same language, though, could be inserted into an article about computer-based learning today, as educational technology continues riding the waves of public faith. But this time may be different.
In this study, I conduct three randomized control trials (RCTs) that test the effectiveness of three major one-to-one computing initiatives in delivering a health education intervention. The “One Laptop Per Child” group (OLPC) focuses on individualized learning, the Intel Classmate (IC) is built around the classroom as the unit of learning, and the “Hole-in-the-Wall” (HITW) program is built around organic community groups. All have been in place for some time in India. I deploy an HIV/AIDS education program for 10-12 year olds in rural and urban settings, comparing outcomes for control and treatment groups.
I ask:
RQ1. Does a computer-based health education program improve children’s knowledge about HIV/AIDS?
RQ2. Which environment is the most effective at delivering it?
I hypothesize that, contrary to technologies past, computers are an effective way of delivering learning. However, I believe previous studies have shown mixed results because they failed to address context; I hypothesize that learning incorporating peers will be more effective.
Conceptual framework
Constructivist learning theory both encourages the test of an overall effect of computer-based learning and introduces a tension between individualized and peer-based learning. Constructivism and its offshoots argue that students build on knowledge by individualizing it to the framework they already understand (Piaget, 1962; Papert, 1984), and the flexibility of computer platforms aligns more closely with this framework than traditional technologies. Some previous results question the use of computers in education (Angrist & Lavy, 2002), but numerous studies suggest they may be useful (DeBoer, 2010) (RQ1).
While the basic framework of constructivism motivates the use of computers in learning, it also introduces a tension between the unique needs of an individual (Glasersfeld, 1989) and the environment around the learner (Duffy & Jonassen, 1992). Is the individual (Slavin & Karweit, 1985), the classroom (McEwan, 2003), or the community (Henry et al., 2008), the most important setting for learning (RQ2)? No studies have yet pitted the contexts of learning against each other, especially in computer education research.
Data
My sampling frame includes sites in India where the respective interventions have already been deployed. I am in contact with leaders of each platform, and I will include in my sample available sites. I randomize at the school or kiosk level. Treatment schools have the program installed on the computers.
HIV/AIDS is a somber challenge around the world, and India has been confronted with a large epidemic since the early 1980s (World Health Organization, 2005). However, the country has also recognized the potential of education to mitigate the spread of the disease (Arora et al., 2008). The need for attention to the disease and the promising environment for HIV/AIDS education make India a useful site.
The intervention, an HIV/AIDS education program, is a digitized version of a workbook for students in the “target window” (10-12 years old) for interventions (Save the Children, 2008). Building on constructivism, the program allows users to (a) create their own identity as they go through the workbook, (b) learn facts about HIV/AIDS, and (c) connect to other users.
The computers themselves gather test information pre- and post-treatment in knowledge and attitudes assessments provided by the workbook and installed as a component of the program. This assessment method facilitates data collection as well as tests children on knowledge directly related to the application. I also collect demographic background data. These observations are gathered prior to treatment and three, six, and nine months after treatment.
As an RCT, this study estimates the causal effect of the computer-based learning intervention by comparing the growth in knowledge about HIV/AIDS between the treatment and control schools (RQ1). Regression results incorporating demographic information demonstrate sensitivity. I use a two-sample mean comparison t-test. I test for a differential effect between the three implementations with a Chow test (RQ2).
India has a number of characteristics that make education policy complex—a widely diverse ethnic, linguistic, and economic makeup, barriers of infrastructure and geography, and a tumultuous federal political system. Future work could replicate this study in other countries.


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