Research Study Results on Handheld Computing!

Just in time for NECC, GoKnow Learning released scientifically-based research that demonstrates handheld computer use in K-12 classrooms leads to student achievement gains. The research will help schools nationwide secure funding for handheld computing!

Two research studies were conducted by the University of Michigan. One looked at simple recall of math facts in two third grade classrooms. The University of Michigan developed a game called Skills Arena for GameBoy where students practice basic math facts. One class used the handheld games while the other used flashcards. And the results?

  • In the five-week instruction with the handheld, the handheld game group (HG) outperformed the flash card group (CG). The HG students performed 7 percent better than those of the CG group on the gain scores from pre-test to post-test.
  • In the five-week instruction, the low-achieving students using the handheld performed 11 percent better than the flash card group. Thus, Skills Arena helped the low-achieving students; Skills Arena was a way for low-achieving students to succeed just like the high-achieving students.
The other study looked at science concepts and procedures in a two year study in three seventh grade classrooms in Detroit. The study looked at three different science units. The study had some students using handhelds with GoKnow's Handheld Learning Environment while others did not. However, the tasks were the same. For instance, handheld users would make a concept map in PiCoMap while the non-using class would make the map on paper. [Dr. Elliot Soloway talked about this research last week at the Lexington Handheld Computer Conference.] The results:
  • In the first year of using handheld devices, the handheld groups performed 2 percent better than the paper and pencil groups did in combing all gains (%) of three units.
  • In the second year of using handheld devices, the handheld groups performed 13 percent better than the paper and pencil groups did in the combined gain score (%) of three units.
If you are trying to convince someone to fund getting handhelds in the hands of your students, be sure to cite this research. In fact, GoKnow has one-page snapshots about each of these studies. While you're at it, read GoKnow's research results announcement.