Ten years ago, the Eastern Township School Board made the daring bet to equip all his students with laptops in order to increase their performance. The organization had one of the worst dropout rates in Quebec. It has since fallen from 42 % to 22 % as it climbed the rest of the province.
The causal link between the introduction of computers and academic success is difficult to establish. Nevertheless, this has improved the educational context, believe the researchers of the Canada Research Chair in Information and Communications Technologies in Education.
The researchers found that the technology had positive impacts on students' writing. "They report writing faster, more and better - both in terms of content and form - and, moreover, they have more pleasure in writing", they note in their report (PDF). Many transversal skills would also be positively influenced, such as creativity, communication, teamwork, effective work methods and critical judgment.
The motivation of young people is also increased. This is not surprising since 94 % of them say they like to use the computer at school. In addition, 89 % believe that technologies allow them to learn better.
Bringing technology into the classroom does pose some challenges. More than half of teachers (53 %) wish to have access to better equipment, particularly at the primary level. Time and classroom management also remain daily challenges for 14 % of them.
In their recommendations, the researchers propose in particular to extend this experience to other school boards "in order to make Quebec a leader in innovation through a thoughtful and educational use of technologies in the classroom".