Research on Screens In Classrooms

The following information was collected and published by Dr. Nicholas Kardaras at

  • A 2016 study published by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics showed that grades improved when phones were removed from the classroom. The comprehensive study covered 130,000 pupils at 91 schools, and the researchers found that following a ban on phone use, the schools’ test scores improved by 6.4 percent. The impact on underachieving students – mostly poor and special education – was even more significant: their average test scores rose by 14 percent.
  • An exhaustive 2012 meta-analysis, in systematically reviewing 48 studies that examined technology’s impact on learning, found that “technology-based interventions tend to produce just slightly lower levels of improvement when compared with other researched interventions and approaches.” The researchers concluded: “Taken together, the correlational and experimental evidence does not offer a convincing case for the general impact of digital technology on learning outcomes.”
  • Dr. Kentaro Toyama, an associate professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information and a fellow of the Dalai Lama Center of Ethics and Transformation Values at MIT, discusses the limitations of tech in the classroom in a commentary called, “Why Technology Will Never Fix Education,” for theChronicle of Higher Education. “Unfortunately, there is no technological fix, and that is perhaps the hardest lesson of amplification. More technology only magnifies socioeconomic disparities, and the only way to avoid that is non-technological.”
  • Steve Jobs was a low-tech parent. In 2010, when a reporter suggested that his children must love the just-released iPad, he replied: “They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” (New York Times September 10, 2014).
  • In a 1996 interview for Wired magazine, Steve Jobs expressed a very clear anti-tech-in-the-classroom opinion: “I’ve probably spearheaded giving away more computer equipment to schools than anybody on the planet. But I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem is not one that technology can hope to solve. What’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology. No amount of technology will make a dent.”
  • Education psychologist and author of Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children’s Minds, Dr. Jane Healy spent years doing research into computer use in schools and had expected to find that computers in the classroom would be beneficial for learning; yet she found exactly the opposite and was dismayed by the lack of research indicating any benefit. She now feels strongly that “time on the computer might interfere with development of everything from the young child’s motor skills to his or her ability to think logically and distinguish between reality and fantasy.”
  • Many tech execs and engineers in Silicon Valley put their kids in no-tech Waldorf Schools (The New York Times October 22, 2011).
  • The Los Angeles School District spent $1.3 billion on tablets for every one of their 640, 000 kindergarten through twelfth grade students; the project is now being investigated by the FBI and the SEC for improper bidding, and the district is asking for a refund from Apple and Pearson as the devices were easily hacked by students and the software woefully incomplete.
  • Dr. John Vallance is headmaster of the top school in Australia, Sydney Grammar, and has removed technology from his prestigious school – which has produced three prime ministers. Dr. Vallance said that the $2.4 billion spent by Australia on education technology was a “really scandalous situation” … where Australia was “spending more on education than ever before and the results are gradually getting worse and worse.” He concluded by saying: “I think when people come to write the history of this period in education … this investment in classroom technology is going to be seen as a huge fraud.”
  • In a study published in January 2013 in the International Journal of Educational Research, Professor Anne Mangen of the University of Stavanger in Norway found that students who read text on computers performed worse on comprehension tests than students who read the same text on paper.