Handing Out Laptops in School Isn't Enough—Teachers Need Training, Too

New research shows a laptop program in Peru hasn't improved test scores.

Computer literacy is a necessity in the 21st century, so schools and governments around the globe have been eager to participate in the One Laptop Per Child program, a nonprofit initiative that provides inexpensive laptops for students. For the poorest kids, laptops provided by their school provide the only opportunity to access the internet or learn to use technology. That alone is valuable, but because the laptops represent such a significant financial investment, governments want to know whether access to technology boosts math and literacy achievement. Initial results aren't promising.

Researchers from the Inter-American Development Bank analyzed 15 months of data collected from 319 schools in Peru that provided a laptop for every student. Despite a $225 million government investment in the technology, the researchers found that laptops didn't improve math and literacy test scores or motivate students to want to learn.

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