How expert use of technology in classrooms is boosting education results: refocusing the open classroom initiative


The publication last September of the OECD report “Students, Computers and Learning: Making The Connection” has caught a wide attention in the media all over the world. The idea conveyed to the public opinion was that contrary to previous belief data had shown that the use of technology in classrooms doesn’t boost education results after all. In fact, according to the study students who use computers moderately at school tend to have somewhat better learning outcomes than students who use computers rarely. But, students who use computers very frequently at school do much worse, even after accounting for social background and student demographics. As the report concluded, despite considerable investments in computers, Internet connections and software for educational use, there was little solid evidence that greater computer use among students leads to better scores in mathematics and reading.

However, much of the media failed to report the other main conclusion of the OECD researchers in which they suggested that we have not yet become good enough at the kind of pedagogies that make the most of technology. By just adding 21st century technologies to 20th century teaching practices we’ll only be diluting the effectiveness of teaching. The message of this important study was therefore, that we need to increase the capacity of our educational systems regarding the pedagogical quality of the use of digital technology in classrooms. In the words of Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills, “ school systems need to find more effective ways to integrate technology into teaching and learning, to provide educators with learning environments that support 21st century pedagogies and provide children with the 21st century skills they need to succeed in tomorrow’s world. (…) To deliver on the promises technology holds, countries need to invest more effectively and ensure that teachers are at the forefront of designing and implementing this change.Read the full post.

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