Technology and Education: Computers, Software, and the Internet



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NBER WORKING PAPER SERIES

TECHNOLOGY AND EDUCATION:

COMPUTERS, SOFTWARE, AND THE INTERNET

George Bulman

Robert W. Fairlie

Working Paper 22237

http://www.nber.org/papers/w22237

NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

1050 Massachusetts Avenue

Cambridge, MA 02138

May 2016

The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the

 

National Bureau of Economic Research.



NBER working papers are circulated for discussion and comment purposes. They have not been 

peer-reviewed or been subject to the review by the NBER Board of Directors that accompanies 

official

 NBER publications.

© 2016 by George Bulman and Robert W. Fairlie. All rights reserved. Short sections of text, not 

to

 exceed two paragraphs, may be quoted without explicit permission provided that full credit, 



including

 © notice, is given to the source.




Technology and Education: Computers, Software, and the Internet

George Bulman and Robert W. Fairlie

NBER Working Paper No. 22237

May 2016


JEL No. I20,I24

ABSTRACT

A  substantial  amount  of  money  is  spent  on  technology  by  schools,  families  and  policymakers 

with

  the  hope  of  improving  educational  outcomes.  This  paper  explores  the  theoretical  and 



empirical literature

 on the impacts of technology on educational outcomes. The literature focuses 

on two primary contexts

 in which technology may be used for educational purposes: i) classroom 

use  in  schools,  and  ii)  home

  use  by  students.  Theoretically,  ICT  investment  and  CAI  use  by 

schools  and  the  use  of  computers  at

  home  have  ambiguous  implications  for  educational 

achievement:  expenditures  devoted  to  technology

 necessarily offset inputs that may be more or 

less  efficient,  and  time  allocated  to  using  technology

  may  displace  traditional  classroom 

instruction  and  educational  activities  at  home.  However,  much

 of the evidence in the schooling 

literature is based on interventions that provide supplemental funding

 for technology or additional 

class time, and thus favor finding positive effects. Nonetheless, studies

 of ICT and CAI in schools 

produce mixed evidence with a pattern of null results. Notable exceptions

 to this pattern occur in 

studies  of  developing  countries  and  CAI  interventions  that  target  math  rather

 than language. In 

the  context  of  home  use,  early  studies  based  on  multivariate  and  instrumental  variables

 

approaches tend to find large positive (and in a few cases negative) effects while recent studies 



based

  on  randomized  control  experiments  tend  to  find  small  or  null  effects.  Early  research 

focused on developed

 countries while more recently several experiments have been conducted in 

developing countries.

George Bulman

Department of Economics

University of California

1156 High Street

Santa Cruz, CA 95064

gbulman@ucsc.edu

Robert W. Fairlie

Department of Economics

Engineering 2 Building

University of California at Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, CA 95064

and NBER

rfairlie@ucsc.edu




2

 

 




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