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Restricted access: How the internet can be used to promote reading and learning

Laura Derksen, Catherine Michaud-Leclerc and Pedro C.L. Souza

Journal of Development Economics, 2022, vol. 155, issue C

Abstract: Can schools use the internet to promote reading and learning? We provided Wikipedia access to randomly-selected students in Malawian boarding secondary schools. Students used the online resource broadly and intensively, and found it trustworthy, including for information about news and safe sex. We find a 0.10σ impact on English exam scores, and a higher impact among low achievers (0.20σ). Students used Wikipedia to study Biology, and exam scores increased for low achievers (0.14σ). Our results show that by restricting internet access to a source of engaging and accessible reading material, it is possible to encourage independent reading and affect educational outcomes.

Keywords: Internet; Information; Education; Development; Reading; Secondary school (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I25 I28 L86 O15 O55 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2021.102810

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