Tablets, phones, laptops—they've often been thought of as nuisances or distractions in the classroom. Notifications are constantly going off, texts are coming in ... but a new study says that if teachers are properly trained to integrate tech into their lessons, students' test scores increase.
The Verizon Innovative Learning Schools Program (VILS), a unique teacher-training program that focuses on integrating mobile technology into math and science classes, has announced results from an initial study by The International Society for Technology in Education and Verizon.
The findings show that students benefit from being taught by teachers who are properly trained in tech integration in the classroom––their test scores increase along with their overall academic achievement. While you might think these results come from schools whose students are familiar with the technology they're interacting with (i.e., wealthy communities), the study included many students in poorer neighborhoods where dropout rates and classroom engagement are a big issue.
The VILS Program compared results from their schools with institutions that were not educating their teachers with the VILS program:
There was a substantial 9 percent difference between test scores for VILS students and comparison schools. VILS schools saw standardized math test scores increase by 4.63 percent, while comparison schools saw a decrease in scores by 4.62 percent.
VILS teachers reported that one in three (35 percent) of their students showed increased academic achievement (or, higher scores on assessments), 32 percent showed increased engagement and 62 percent demonstrated increased proficiency with mobile technologies.
VILS teachers also reported that they were individualizing their lessons more (66 percent) and lecturing less (51 percent).
It's good news to hear that mobile technology can be used for good in the classroom, rather than just a mention to silence or turn off cell phones. Then again, we're pretty sure texting is still a no-go.