The Research Is In: Technology Helps Students Learn

The Grosse Ponite technology bond will have a decidedly positive impact on how students receive their education in our district.  A 1:1 environment is a shift in education, but what is important to keep in mind, is that it isn't really a change in what students will be learning, but rather how.  And there is very real data showing technology in the classroom works to improve a child’s education.


There is an interesting study out of Abilene Christian University that "centered upon the use of the Statistics 1 app.  Students used it in and out of the classroom and remarked that they understood the content better, and were more motivated to do well, when using the app.  The instructors agreed with this observation, and added that the students were also better prepared for class." 


Another study conducted by the Department of Education finds that children who used the PBS Kids app "Martha Speaks" daily for a period of 2 weeks improved their vocabulary by as much as 21%.


study reported in Wired magazine finds "that 20% more students (78% compared to 59%) scored 'Proficient' or 'Advanced' in subject comprehension when using tablets rather than paper textbook counterparts."  Also, in Clinton Township, Clintondale High School recently switched to a "flipped class" model which allows students to watch video lectures at home as part of their homework, then do the assignments they would traditionally do at home in class with the aid of a teacher.  As a result, they saw their failure rate drop from 52% to 19%.  The PBS NewsHour did a story about them recently.

But these claims of education technology's ability to transform the learning experience are not just wishful thinking, there is real neurological research behind them.

Technology in the classroom allows students to control their own observations, which stimulates the brain in a different way than if children are just being lectured.  Because of this, studies find that technology increases information retention by 23%.

A 1:1 program also allows students to extend the school day.  Through tracking software, studies find that three quarters of visits to academic websites by students who are provided devices by their schools come between 3:00 and 9:00 and are related to topics discussed in class that day.


All of this supports the position of the Michigan Department of Education that “if Michigan wants individualized, personalized learning that gives every student a chance at success, providing a device for every student is required.”


Given all this data, it is clear that the benefits of the bond justify the cost and then some.  The impact on our students will be real and will be positive.  Since most people who come to Grosse Ponite come for the schools, the bond will have a tremendous positive impact on the community as well. 


For the good of our students, families, and community, GP Tech Yes would like to ask for your support, and to vote “yes” on February 25.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Laura Gushee Monahan January 24, 2014 at 04:11 PM
Just had a conversation in Warren with a woman at the community pool (yes, it's 80 degrees in here!). She asked, "Why come all the way out here? Don't you have places like this in Grosse Pointe?" I told her about the beautiful parks, then I brought up the Tech Bond. When I told her how old or computers are and how we can't even run the state testing on our network, she offered up without me probing, "Wow! I would think GP would have all that stuff! My daughter's school (Utica), all the kids have iPads. Same with Fraser." I told her that we are worried about remaining competitive and she said, "I don't blame you. Everyone I know who moves is looking for schools with all the technology." I asked her if the devices offer noticeable advantages in learning. And she just laughed and said, "Night and day from before." I wish I were making this stuff up.
Susan Leithauser-Yee January 25, 2014 at 03:16 PM
I believe we need infrastructure upgrades, which are an appropriate use of bond financing. Devices are an OPERATING EXPENSE. Using long-term financing for operating expenses is a terrible financial move. Has any responsible citizen out there used 10-year financing to buy their IPad or MacBook? We are already one of the best-financed districts in the State. Out of 794 districts in Michigan, GPS ranks 72nd in General Fund revenues per pupil & 6th in teacher salaries. The General Fund revenue ranking doesn't give the full picture because, in addition to taxes for General Fund (operating) expenses, we pay taxes for Debt Service & Sinking Fund (capital) projects.
Christopher Profeta January 25, 2014 at 08:46 PM
The district currently has $2 million in its reserve. By the end of this fiscal year, it should be around $4 million. The devices cost about $17 million. Clearly, it is not possible to pay for this out of the operating budget without making huge cuts elsewhere. Our teachers recently took an 8% pay decrease and a 20% increase in their benefit contributions. Over the years, the district has chosen to put our students first and not eliminate important programs or increase class sizes. This has prevented us from spending on technology. As a result of massive education cuts fromvLansing that began in 2008 and hit astonishing levels in 2011, GP has seen a loss of about $7 million in funding. I dont know how we pay for the stuff in this bond without a bond. Some have floated the idea of school closings, which is not acceptable or appropriate. Some have suggested depleeting our savings to partially fund technology, which is not responsible. And some have suggested requiring parents to purchase devices, which is not legal. I have not heard a viable alternative to the current proposal.
Susan Leithauser-Yee January 26, 2014 at 06:52 PM
GP Schools are currently premium funded (in the top 10% of all Michigan districts) and will become more of an outlier if the Bond is passed. I enjoy many of the premium services the Grosse Pointes. In general, I don't mind paying a premium tax rate for them. However, I think it verges on dishonest for bond advocates to avoid addressing how GPS' per student funding & local school tax rates compare to other districts.


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