Computers in school do not improve results. Doh! It’s about culture.

OECD research shows that  frequent use of computers in schools is more likely to be associated with lower results.   Among 70 countries, heavy  investment in information and communications technology have seen “no noticeable improvement” in Pisa test results for reading, mathematics or science.monkeyoncomputer

This is not surprising.  As with any technology, it can be “good” or “bad” depending on how it is used and all too often ICT is used as a substitute for thinking.  That might be ok if you are a thinker, but if using a computer is just a crutch, used to copy/paste ideas or fill time will 2D pictures and sound, then its use is retarding your development.

We know a great deal about learning and human development and intuition has been supported by evidence that learning is enhanced by a culture of engagement in which challenges match skills in an active, self-directed, supported, diverse environment.  So, yes IT can help – look at Khan Academy for example – but it is not a magic bullet.

monkeyatcomputerNow, in fact, more evidence is showing that it can get in the way of learning.  I teach IT and see its use among children, adults and business and all too often people compromise their opportunities by believing that the computer s going to do the thinking for them.  The consequence is that their learning opportunity is weakened and their abilities and chances of success are compromised.

My advice?  Don’t rely on the IT.  Turn off the media device.  Get outside and experience the world, have a conversation and read a book.  And if your going to use a computer, remember it is a tool, not a solution.braincomputermonkeyhuman

BBC: Computers ‘do not improve’ pupil results, says OECD

OECD: Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection

The report says:

  • Students who use computers very frequently at school get worse results
  • Students who use computers moderately at school, such as once or twice a week, have “somewhat better learning outcomes” than students who use computers rarely
  • The results show “no appreciable improvements” in reading, mathematics or science in the countries that had invested heavily in information technology
  • High achieving school systems such as South Korea and Shanghai in China have lower levels of computer use in school
  • Singapore, with only a moderate use of technology in school, is top for digital skills


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