Large Effect Size Studies of Computers in Schools: Calculus for Kids and Science-ercise
Fluck, AE and Ranmuthugala, D and Chin, CKH and Penesis, I and Chong, J and Yang, Y, Large Effect Size Studies of Computers in Schools: Calculus for Kids and Science-ercise, Tomorrow's Learning: Involving Everyone, Springer Nature, A Tatnall, M Webb (ed), Switzerland, pp. 70-80. ISBN 978-3-319-74310-3 (2017) [Research Book Chapter]
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This report describes two computer-based interventions in Year 6 (age 11–12 years) classrooms. The interventions positioned sophisticated software alongside multimedia learning materials to teach topics from curriculum objectives many years ahead of these students’ chronological ages. These were transformative interventions (Fluck, 2003), changing what and how students learn when using computers. Students solved real world problems using integral calculus (Calculus for Kids) and studied both special relativity and quantum mechanics (Science-ercise). Calculus for Kids was conducted with 478 students in 26 schools from five Australian states; and Science-ercise was conducted with 187 students in five Tasmanian schools. Student learning achievement was measured using calibrated items in a post-test, with the students able to use the sophisticated software during the test. The results showed a majority of students exhibited learning achievements 4–6 years above their chronological age when using suitable computer tools. The studies bring into question the correct way to calculate effect sizes for such high impact interventions. Relying on Glass et al. (1981), we estimate this transformative use of computers in education achieved an effect size >4.0, well above Hattie’s (2007) hinge point of 0.4 for a significant innovation. This approach offers a pathway to shorten the time between knowledge generation and its incorporation in school curricula.