Frequency of educational computer use as a longitudinal predictor of educational outcomes in young people with specific language impairment

Durkin, Kevin and Conti-Ramsden, Gina (2012) Frequency of educational computer use as a longitudinal predictor of educational outcomes in young people with specific language impairment. PLOS One, 7 (12). pp. 1-10. e52194. ISSN 1932-6203

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    Abstract

    Computer use draws on linguistic abilities. Using this medium thus presents challenges for young people with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and raises questions of whether computer-based tasks are appropriate for them. We consider theoretical arguments predicting impaired performance and negative outcomes relative to peers without SLI versus the possibility of positive gains. We examine the relationship between frequency of computer use (for leisure and educational purposes) and educational achievement; in particular examination performance at the end of compulsory education and level of educational progress two years later. Participants were 49 young people with SLI and 56 typically developing (TD) young people. At around age 17, the two groups did not differ in frequency of educational computer use or leisure computer use. There were no associations between computer use and educational outcomes in the TD group. In the SLI group, after PIQ was controlled for, educational computer use at around 17 years of age contributed substantially to the prediction of educational progress at 19 years. The findings suggest that educational uses of computers are conducive to educational progress in young people with SLI.