The federal survey data showed striking differences among racial groups and income levels. More than half of the black students who took the eighth-grade math exam in 2011 said they used computers to work on math, while only 30 percent of white students said they did.
Similarly, 41 percent of students eligible for free and reduced lunches said they used computers for math drills, compared with 29 percent of students whose families earn too much for them to qualify for the lunches.
In high school science classrooms, the use of technology evidently has not advanced much past the 1980s. According to the report, 73 percent of students who took the 12th-grade National Assessment science exam said they regularly watched a movie or video in class.
Such data, Boser said, suggested that technology “doesn’t seem to have dramatically changed the nature of schooling.”
Experts who study the effectiveness of instructional technology say there is potential for some digital programs to improve teaching. John Pane, a senior scientist at the RAND Corp., said good technology allowed students to work at their own pace and independently while teachers worked with smaller groups.
Pane conducted a study, financed by the federal Department of Education, of an algebra software program created by Carnegie Learning, a math curriculum developer. He found that high school students who used the program, which was designed to accompany a teacher-led curriculum, showed gains on their state-standardized math tests that were nearly double the gains of a typical year’s worth of growth using a more traditional high school math curriculum.
Whether those gains came from the use of technology or changes in the curriculum, he said, was hard to say. But Steve Ritter, chief scientist at Carnegie Learning, said one of the benefits of the technology was that it used the principles of cognitive science to help students gain a deeper understanding of concepts rather than simply drill math problems.[source : gadgets.ndtv]