Students who use computers in their classroom work display greater creativity and higher-level thinking during problem-solving activities, according to a year-long study of almost 600 Queenslanders.
Senior research assistant, Romina Proctor, said her findings debunked the notion that computers stifled imagination and creativity.
She said: "The group with the computers showed significantly greater characteristics of creativity at the end of the 12-month study than they did at the start. Higher-level cognitive functioning, like creativity, is going to take Australia into the next century."
The research examined new classroom activities intended to tap into the so-called "seven intelligent domains", espoused by American psychologist Howard Gardner. Two of the three student groups taking part in the study had to design and appraise a solution to an unusual problem. One of the groups used computer technologies for all aspects of the task.
But Ms Proctor said all three groups liked classroom computers less by the end of the year. They became disappointed that they did not have as much "fun" as playing games on their computers at home or in electronic arcades.