First of all, for technology to impact learning, teachers and leaders need to be literate in technology. Imagine someone teaching kids to read with phonics who cannot read themselves. Imagine a biology teacher teaching frog dissection using a "how to" book. Imagine a person teaching another to sew by reading the pattern directions to them. Technology literacy, even basic new media literacy, is a minimum assumption when beginning to examine the impact of technology on learning. Tom Witby wrote about this exact issue for ASCD.

Furthermore, a study in the British journal of Instructional Technology found that quality and type of technology mattered more than quantity of technology both in availablity and in time spent using the technology when it came to student outcomes. Although the study was limited, the results suggest an association between technologies and certain student outcomes from technology proficiency to social-emotional learning.

Expanding on the idea that technology can be "good" for kids, Mimi Ito and her research team, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, found that it is actually IMPORTANT for teens to spend time online. Even though adults demonize or misunderstand teens' time online, it is an essential activity for them to develop technological and social skills for a digital world. This team even coined the term "geeked out" to refer to how teens leverage learning online--even outside of school assignments. Their research support the fact that teens are actually motivated to learn from peers online and to become resources to their peers by building their own knowledge through online resources.

If this is true, then the work out of Singapore University from the Journal of Interactive Learning Environments, discussing the use of mobile tools in knowledge building is quite relevant. This study suggests that the use of mobile devises is even more effective than mere desktop related technology in the process of knowledge building (in and out of the classroom) due to it's ability to be accessed more often from a varity of places and during a variety of times. Also, the mobile technology had a higher user motivation factor because of these same components. The mobile devises increased the incidence of one-to-one learing as well and connected learning between the home and school. The result was a greater net gain in knowledge building over groups not using technology or merely using desktop technology.

Liu Ru-De, of the Bejing Normal University, writing in the British Journal of Instructional Technologyfurther discusses the impact of technolgy enabled learning on the whole paradigm of teaching and learning. He concludes that not only is technology influencing learning, it is actually transforming the educational process so that learning is defined by the ability to connect knowledge, build on knowledge, and join kowledge with others to create new understandings. Technology is actually pushing learning to a deeper level, away from traditional measures, according to Dr. Ru-De.

Cathy Davidson of Duke University would probably agreed with Dr. Ru-De. In fact, she often writes about the effects of technology on the brain and role of technology in learning on her blog housed at HASTAC. In a recent article in Academic Commons Dr. Davidson discusses the intersection of technology and learning in the liberal arts...Digital Humanities. She describes participartory learning, using technology in this way
"Participatory Learning includes the ways in which new technologies enable learners (of any age) to contribute in diverse ways to individual and shared learning goals. Through games, wikis, blogs, virtual environments, social network sites, cell phones, mobile devices, and other digital platforms, learners can participate in virtual communities where they share ideas, comment upon one another's projects, and plan, design, advance, implement, or simply discuss their goals and ideas together. Participatory learners come together to aggregate their ideas and experiences in a way that makes the whole ultimately greater than the sum of the parts.1"
Clearly Dr. Davison would argue that technology not only brings together learners and ideas, but it ultimately leads to greater learning and meaning constructed by the parts into a whole via the medium and pathways of technology.

Finally, if you just want the bottom line, a study published in the Journal of Educational Technology and Society points to how technology leads to greater learning of math and increased positive affect on attitudes towards learning math in middle school students.

Still not convinced...check out the body of research on the PBS clearing house site for technology and learning.
or the Cisco-"Technology in Schools; What the Research Says" document (2006), or the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory's "Using Technology to Improve Student Achievement" research results.

So, yes, technology does positively impact learning!

Works Cited (non linked works, others are linked)
Lei, J. (2010). Quantity versus quality: A new approach to examine the relationship between technology use and student outcomes. British Journal of Educational Technology

Liu, R. (2010). Psychological research in educational technology in China.British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(4), 593-606. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2010.01088.x

Hyo-Jeong, S., Seow, P., & Looi, C. (2009). Location matters: leveraging knowledge building with mobile devices and Web 2.0 technology. Interactive Learning Environments, 17(4), 367-382.

Der Ching, Y., & Yi Fang, T. (2010). Promoting Sixth Graders' Number Sense and Learning Attitudes via Technology-based Environment. Journal of Educational Technology and Society


*(Matt W.) Another link that may help bolster the argument:
Technologies Impact on Learning

AND per my group discussion, I will add to this after reading Digital Habitats (which I will pick up on my trip to GA this next week)