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ERIC Number: ED509453
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 50
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
Using Laptops to Facilitate Middle School Science Learning: The Results of Hard Fun. Research Brief
Berry, Alexis M.; Wintle, Sarah E.
Center for Education Policy, Applied Research, and Evaluation
As the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) enters its seventh year of implementation, the need to expand upon the current research is essential. In an effort to gather information about implementing technology within various educational contexts, the Center for Education Policy, Applied Research, and Evaluation (CEPARE) at the University of Southern Maine collaborated with a science teacher from Bristol Consolidated School to conduct an action research study to determine how the use of technologically advanced tools and resources might affect academic achievement and student engagement in the science classroom. Pre- and post-assessments illustrated greater comprehension levels among the students who were assigned to complete a technology rich project in comparison to students who were asked to complete a more traditional science project. In addition, a retention assessment revealed greater retention of information among those who had completed the technology rich project. Lastly, student engagement appeared to be higher among those who were working directly with their laptops to complete their science projects. The post-assessment and the student interviews revealed that many of the students found the technology rich project to be more challenging and time consuming; however, many of the students also agreed that the project was more fun and engaging. These statements are illustrative of Seymour Papert's concept of "hard fun", by which Papert describes the idea that children enjoy being challenged and that they have greater learning outcomes when they are given the opportunity to actively construct new knowledge in an exciting way. Appendices include: (1) Pre-assessment instrument; (2) Post-assessment instrument; (3) Retention instrument; (4) Daily teacher's log; (5) Project timeline and tasks; (6) Examples of paper diagram projects; and (7) Examples of podcast animation projects. (Contains 3 tables.) [This paper was co-published by the Maine International Center for Digital Learning (MICDL).]
Center for Education Policy, Applied Research, and Evaluation. University of Southern Maine, 37 College Avenue, Gorham, ME 04038. Tel: 888-800-5044; Tel: 207-780-5044; Fax: 207-228-8143; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: University of Southern Maine, Center for Education Policy, Applied Research, and Evaluation
Identifiers - Location: Maine