When used effectively, computer drills and tutorials can improve student performance in math and science—but the benefits of computer simulations and electronic sensors are less tangible, at least in studies that have been conducted so far, according to a research review that the National Science Foundation (NSF) plans to release this spring.

"The kind of applications that seemed to be more challenging or oriented to higher-learning objectives didn't fare as well as simple tutorials," said James A. Kulik, a research scientist from Michigan University who wrote the review, titled "Effects of Using Instructional Technology in Elementary and


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