The impact of refurbished in -home computers and Internet access on student attitudes and achievement

Louis Michael Golden, University of Pennsylvania


With education becoming a 24-7 endeavor as the result of technological and communication improvements, effective ways to improve student engagement and achievement through increased home access to technology must become important additions to in-school programs in order to prepare students to continue on to postsecondary or higher education and enter the workforce ready to meet the demands of a globally competitive economy. Yet, there has been limited scientifically based research on the impact in-home access to computers and the Internet has on student skills, self-beliefs and achievement. To address this issue, this research study was conducted with experimental design of 355 fifth grade students across 22 schools in four urban school districts in Pennsylvania. Students were selected through the recruitment of households without in-home computers, randomly assigned to treatment or control groups, the treatment families were provided with in-home computers and Internet access, and studied using qualitative and quantitative data on parents, students, and teachers to assess students' use of computers, computer skills, schoolwork and study habits, interactions with family and friends, attitude and self-beliefs toward school, computers, teachers, family and friends, engagement in school, and academic achievement. The study findings indicate that the provision of a refurbished computer and Internet access to families who otherwise did not own a computer increased students' computer skills and their use of computers for school and recreation, and it changed their attitudes and self-beliefs about computers. It also had a significant impact on their home activities and parental involvement. Provision of computers and Internet access did not affect students' engagement at school, academic motivation, or achievement as measured by grades and standardized assessment scores, except for heavy users, who became more engaged in school, motivated academically, and able to overcome grade deficits to outperform the study population on both grades and standardized assessment scores. Implications for further study are recommended.

Subject Area

Educational software

Recommended Citation

Golden, Louis Michael, "The impact of refurbished in -home computers and Internet access on student attitudes and achievement" (2007). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3255854.