Technology and Child Development: Evidence from the One Laptop per Child Program Julián P. Cristia Pablo Ibarrarán Santiago Cueto Ana Santiago Eugenio Severín Department of Research and Chief Economist IDB-WP-304 IDB WORKING PAPER SERIES No. Inter-American Development Bank February 2012
Technology and Child Development: Evidence from the One Laptop per Child Program Julián P. Cristia* Pablo Ibarrarán** Santiago Cueto*** Ana Santiago* Eugenio Severín* * Inter-American Development Bank ** Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and IZA *** Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo (GRADE) 2012 Inter-American Development Bank
Documents published in the IDB working paper series are of the highest academic and editorial quality. All have been peer reviewed by recognized experts in their field and professionally edited. The information and opinions presented in these publications are entirely those of the author(s), and no endorsement by the Inter-American Development Bank, its Board of Executive Directors, or the countries they represent is expressed or implied. This paper may be freely reproduced. Cataloging-in-Publication data provided by the Inter-American Development Bank Felipe Herrera Library Technology and child development : evidence from the One Laptop per Child Program / Julián P. Cristia … [et al.]. p. cm. (IDB working paper series ; 304) Includes bibliographical references. 1. Educational technology—Peru. 2. Education, Elementary—Peru. I. Cristia, Julián P. II. Ibarraran, Pablo. III. Cueto, Santiago, 1960-. IV. Santiago, Ana. V. Severín, Eugenio. VI. Inter-American Development Bank. Research Dept. VII. Series.
1 Abstract 1 Although many countries are aggressively implementing the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) program, there is a lack of empirical evidence on its effects. This paper presents the impact of the first large-scale randomized evaluation of the OLPC program, using data collected after 15 months of implementation in 319 primary schools in rural Peru. The results indicate that the program increased the ratio of computers per student from 0.12 to 1.18 in treatment schools. This expansion in access translated into substantial increases in use both at school and at home. No evidence is found of effects on enrollment and test scores in Math and Language. Some positive effects are found, however, in general cognitive skills as measured by Raven’s Progressive Matrices, a verbal fluency test and a Coding test. JEL classifications: C93, I21, I28 Keywords: Education, Technology, Experiments 1 This project is the result of a collaborative effort involving many people. We want to especially thank Jennelle Thompson (IDB) for her significant contribution. The project would not have been materialized without the collaboration and commitment shown by the Dirección General de Tecnologías Educativas in the Ministry of Education of Peru. We thank to its director at the time of the study, Oscar Becerra, and his team: Carmen Alvarez, Victor Castillo, Marushka Chocobar and Hugo Valdez. Many other people in the Ministry of Education contributed to the project including Andres Burga, Liliana Miranda, German Reaño and Patricia Valdivia. Haydee Alonso,
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