Laptops in Classrooms

Laptops in the Classroom

Participating Institutions:

Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Erziehungswissenschaft & Psychologie, Institut für Pädagogische Psychologie & Medienpsychologie, Center for Media Research Bertelsmann-Stiftung ( Evangelisch Stiftisches Gymnasium Gütersloh (


In this pilot program, 240 students and their teachers from a German high school were gradually furnished with laptop computers. Over the course of four years, four cohorts of seventh graders entered the program.

The pilot project was accompanied by an extensive evaluation study of the Center for Media Research covering the first three and a half years of the program. The evaluation focused on four primary questions:

  • How does the use of laptops influence instructional practice?H
  • How does it influence student learning at school and at home?
  • Does it alter cross-curricular competencies (learning strategies, cooperative behavior, computer competence)?
  • Does student achievement improve as a result of taking part in the laptop program?

To answer these questions, a multi-perspective, multi-method evaluation approach was chosen. The study consisted of five partial studies that were designed to supplement and validate each other:

  • Study 1: Quantitative student survey on changes in instructional practice, student learning in and outside school as well as acceptance of the program
  • Study 2: Qualitative student and teacher interviews on changes in instructional practice, student learning in and outside school, cross-curricular competencies and student achievement
  • Study 3: Observation of randomly selected lessons with and without laptop use, which were analysed by external observers regarding differences in instructional practice (media use, form of instruction, instructional quality)
  • Study 4: Standardized tests on learning strategies (KSI; Heyn, Baumert & Köller, 1994), preference for cooperative learning (Neber, 1994) and computer competence (own development)
  • Study 5: Achievement tests (mathematics, German)

Project Duration:

February 1999 - February 2002


Schaumburg, H. & Issing, L. J. (2002). Lernen mit Laptops. Ergebnisse einer Evaluationsstudie. Gütersloh: Verlag Bertelsmann tiftung. ISBN 3-89204-693-X. 

pdf file Executive Summary of the report (in German) -- to obtain the whole study, please contact refering to the above mentioned ISBN number.

Conference Presentations:

Schaumburg, H. & Issing, L. J. (2002). Verbessern neue Medien die Lern- und Unterrichtsqualität? Methoden und Ergebnisse einer Langzeitstudie am Evangelisch Stiftischen Gymnasium. Präsentation beim 10. Medienpädagogischen Gespräch der Bertelsmann Stiftung, Gütersloh Dez. 3-4. pdf file

Schaumburg H. (2001). The impact of mobile computers in the classroom - Results from an ongoing video study. Research paper presented at AECT 2001, Atlanta, November 9-12. pdf file

Schaumburg, H. (2001). Fostering girls' computer literacy through laptop learning - can mobile computers help to level out the gender difference? Research paper to be presented at the NECC 2001 conference, June 25-27, Chicago, IL. HTML file

Schaumburg, H. & Issing, L. J. (2000). The potential of mobile computers in schools - experiences from a German pilot project. Parallel Session at Online Educa, Nov. 29 - Dec. 1, Berlin, Germany.

Schaumburg, H. (2000). Laptop Computers in Schools: Expectations and experiences after the first year of the program - and some preliminary best practices. Paper presented at NETMELT, May 4-13, Berlin, Germany.

Schaumburg, H. & Issing, L. J. (2000). Multimedia und Internet in der Schule - Erwartungen, Projekte, Ergebnisse (Multimedia and Internet in school - expectations, projects, findings). Paper presented at the 14. Bundeskonferenz für Schulpsychologie, Oct. 9-13, Berlin, Germany.

Schaumburg, H. & Orthmann, C. (2000). Laptop computers in schools -- impact on instructional practices and student learning. Paper presented at the 2000 AECT National Convention, Feb. 16 -20, Long Beach, CA, USA.

Journal Articles:

Schaumburg, H. (2001). Neues Lernen mit Laptops? Ein Überblick über Forschungsergebnisse zur Nutzung mobiler Computer in der Schule (New learning with laptops? A synthesis of research on the use of mobile computers in schools). Zeitschrift für Medienpsychologie, April. HTML file pdf file (Abstract)

For further information, please contact:

Dipl.-Psych. Heike Schaumburg (mailto:

Prof. Dr. Ludwig J. Issing ( )