Pyschology Today reports “Children who spent time on the web had higher grade point averages and scored better on standardized tests than other children, according to researchers at Michigan State University.”
Can I say I told you so? The educational benefit of the Internet has seemed obvious to me for many years (I’ve been writing my weekly newspaper column since 1995) and now they’ve gone and spent $1.5 million to prove it.
The HomeNetToo research project, funded by an NSF grant, is specifically studying the impact of web surfing on low-income families (although some of the press about their preliminary results conveniently left this fact out.)
Dave Taylor says
I’m cringing, Barbara. You’re mistaking correlational data for causal. What the research shows is that there’s a correllation between kids who surf the web and higher scores, it doesn’t at all mean that surfing the web leads to higher scores!
For example, I posit that kids who surf the web are more likely to come from higher income homes (they have computers at home and Internet connectivity, or they visit libraries with Internet access or their schools have funding to offer Internet access) and homes where their parents have achieved a higher level of education (educated people are more likely to have Internet access than uneducated, for a variety of reasons including income level and level of curiosity about the world).
But then again, it could be something as direct as kids who surf the net visit test prep sites and learn how to take standardized tests, therefore boosting their scores. 🙂