By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki
A recent survey by McGraw-Hill Education on digital learning indicates that 91% of K-12 parents want their children to have access to a more personalized digital learning experience.
And yet a recent OECD study has found that ed-tech may have negative effects as well as positive ones upon learning success. The report Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection examines the relationship between computer access, usage and performance on PISA assessments in reading and mathematics. Moderate usage of computers at school was observed to lead to somewhat better learning outcomes, but over-reliance on computers actually caused performance to worsen.
In a press release announcing the report, the OECD noted “that even countries which have invested heavily in information and communication technologies (ICT) for education have seen no noticeable improvement in their performance in PISA results for reading, mathematics or science”. About 72% of 15-year old students reported using a computer at school in 2012, although 96% of the students in OECD countries have a computer at home.
Increasingly reading is becoming a digital experience. Reading performance is also connected to web-browsing behavior. Are the right links being clicked in order to get to the desired information as efficiently as possible? Are students getting lost in Cyberspace?
“Why are students in some countries/economies – notably Australia, Canada, Hong Kong-China, Japan, Korea, Singapore and the United States, among others – far better at reading digital texts than students in other countries/economies who score similarly in the print reading test? Because, as the OECD finds, they know how to navigate their way through and across digital texts.”
You can examine the study’s results by country in the table here. It provides a tabulation of PISA math performance by country in comparison with student in-school computer usage, digital reading skills, and Internet usage outside of school.
The report’s essential conclusion is that “all students first need to be equipped with basic literacy and numeracy 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,” said Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills. “Technology is the only way to dramatically expand access to knowledge. 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.”
Curriki would add that students need to learn how to use technology not simply as consumers (e.g. learning exercises, drills and test-taking) but as producers as well. Students should be learning how to program and develop applications, and learning how to use computer technology for creative purposes, whether in the arts, the sciences, or social sciences. Students who are able to employ technology in a productive manner will be more fulfilled and better prepared to contribute to our 21st century world.
At Curriki we believe that Open Educational Resources are an important component to providing a more personalized digital learning experience to students. Click here to see why.