Does Technology Have a Positive Overall Effect on Classroom Learning? Canadian Study Says Yes

Is technology impacting the education sector positiviely? It’s a big question to ask, but Concordia University decided to tackle it.

According to the results of their research, which included a 40-year retrospective study, the answer is “yes.” The school’s findings, published in the Review of Educational Research journal, concluded that classrooms equipped with computer technology have a “small to moderate positive” net impact on learning and attitude.

“There have been lots of arguments, both pro and con, regarding this issue, (such as) is it worth the investment?” professor Richard Schmid, chairman of the education department at Concordia, told the Montreal Gazette.

“Where technology does have a positive impact is when it actively engages students, when it’s used as a communication tool, when it’s used for things like simulations or games that enable students to actively manipulate the environment.”

For example, rather than just reading about photosynthesis in a science class, with a computer simulation you can change the conditions — increase or decrease the amount of light or water to dynamically examine the phenomenon, Schmid said.

And the study suggests things are only getting better: newer and more sophisticated applications of technology produce even greater positive gains than older technology. iPads, for instance, enable portable creativity and make education fun, which is always a good thing.