Play to Learn: The Impact of Technology on Students’ Math Performance

Last registered on September 03, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Play to Learn: The Impact of Technology on Students’ Math Performance
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004661
Initial registration date
September 03, 2019

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
September 03, 2019, 4:53 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
IDados

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2016-08-30
End date
2017-12-09
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We analyze the impact of technology use in the classroom on student math learning. The technology is a software tool (electronic game) that can be installed on a tablet, smartphone, or personal computer and has been specifically designed for the student to learn and practice the four basic math operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. We implemented a cluster-randomized experiment: schools were randomly chosen to receive tablets with the software installed. Outcomes are measured at the individual level. Students were asked to solve a series of simple math operations before (once) and after (twice) the intervention. The outcomes are the proportion of correct answers, the proportion of items left blank, and the proportion of correct answers considering the items actually answered. As an additional component, two types of incentives (non-monetary prizes) to play harder were offered to the students: a pure incentive (winning the prize depends only on the student’s own performance) and a competitive incentive (only the best performing student of each class enters a lottery to win the prize).
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Hirata, Guilherme. 2019. "Play to Learn: The Impact of Technology on Students’ Math Performance." AEA RCT Registry. September 03. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4661
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2016-10-06
Intervention End Date
2016-12-05

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Outcomes are measured at the individual level. Students were asked to solve a series of simple math operations before (once) and after (twice - immediately after, and one year after the intervention ended). The outcomes are the proportion of correct answers, the proportion of items left blank, and the proportion of correct answers considering only the items actually answered.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The trial was a cluster-randomized experiment: schools were randomly chosen to receive tablets with the software installed. Students in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades participated. Three municipalities participated in the experiment - 4 schools each (half treated). The additional components (incentives) were given in two municipalities (randomly chosen). Each one received one type of incentive. The intervention lasted two months. Students should play every day for 20 minutes at most.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer - Stata software.
Randomization Unit
Schools
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
12 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
36 classrooms; 1,000 pupils.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
6 schools control (18 classrooms control), 6 schools software use (18 classrooms software use)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials