Student achievement benefits from strategic use of mobile apps and devices, reported an educational research firm, based on a study of technology implementation.
The Empirical Education, Inc. study focused on a specific app, Fuse Algebra 1 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), and was conducted during the 2010–2011 school year. The research identified implementation as a key factor in the success of mobile technology in the classroom. The study piloted a new educational app, built on the HMH Fuse platform, that re-imagines the conventional textbook to fully deploy interactive features of the mobile device.
“Education technology does not operate in a vacuum, and the research findings reinforce that with a supportive school culture and strategic implementation, technology can have a significant impact on student achievement,” said Linda Zecher, President and CEO of HMH. “We’re encouraged by the results of the study and the potential of mobile learning to accelerate student achievement and deepen understanding in difficult-to-teach subjects like algebra.”
Initially, Empirical found that the iPad-using students in the four participating districts—Long Beach, Fresno, San Francisco and Riverside Unified School District (Riverside Unified)—performed on average as well as their peers using the traditional textbook. After examining its own results, however, Riverside Unified found an increase in test scores among students taught with HMH Fuse,compared to their peers. Empirical corroborated these results, finding a statistically significant impact equivalent to a nine-point percentile increase.
Across all districts, the study found a positive effect on student attitudes toward math, and experts claim that students with positive attitudes toward math achieved higher scores on the California Standards Test.
“The rapid pace of mobile technology’s introduction into K–12 education leaves many educators with important questions about its efficacy, especially given their own resources and experience,” said Denis Newman, CEO of Empirical Education. “The results from Riverside highlight the importance of future research on mobile technologies that account for differences in teacher experience and implementation.”