ICT and Educational Outcomes

With the paucity of good educational research on ICT on educational outcomes this report  (Are the millenium learners making the grade? ) makes a significant contribution to redefining the landscape and better focusing the research question. In 2006, PISA ran its third triennial survey of 15 yearold students to assess their knowledge and skills. 57 countries, involving 20 million 15‑year‑olds were surveyed. The report is strong on recommendations- especially in the policy areas. Coming into an election year this should resonate – (after having a number of large State and Federally funded ICT projects)- the questions are being asked – “has the investment in educational systems fulfilled expectations? ” Critically the report concludes that while the first digital divide in terms of access to the technology is diminishing, a second divide is appearing- between those who have the necessary competences and skills to benefit from computer use and those who do not. These competences and skills are closely linked to students’ economic, cultural and social capital. The report states that computer use can make a difference in educational performance if the student has the appropriate set of competences, skills and attitudes. Governments need to help identify, and support the development of 21st century skills in the classroom- in order to capitalise on the growing investment in ICT for education and a burgeoning second digital divide. But does improving teacher skills in this area win votes?


About thand

I'm a currently working at NSW Departrment of Education & Training, Connected Classrooms Program, Sydney.
This entry was posted in access, Leadership, Outcomes, professional development, schooling. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to ICT and Educational Outcomes

  1. darcymoore says:

    Tim, it is definitely the case that the ‘paucity’ of quality ‘educational research on ICT’ is fast becoming a really significant issue. I think your last sentence is significant and unfortunately, our tools and affordances far outsrip the electoral cycle.

    Please alert me to any good research findings as they come to hand.


    PS blogED seems to be going well!

  2. Ian McKee says:

    Again right on the money Tim. The massive retooling of the system is going to have to be evaluated sometime. No organisation invests the billions without wanting to know whether or not it was well spent. So far much of the measurement is quantitative ie like counting widgets. Sooner rather than later this will have to shift to the more qualitative evaluation.

    Meanwhile I’m sure you’d love this quote from Dave Warlick’s blog
    “It was appropriate to teach teachers what a blog was, a couple of years ago, and to suggest how students’ blogging might result in more effective, reflective, and constructive writing. However, any teacher who doesn’t know what blogging is now, has left their classroom door shut too long.”

  3. Darcy Moore says:

    Thanks Tim. Do you have a Delicious page. We could agree on a tag and collaborate with bookmarking new research as it comes to hand. Of course, I am Darcy1968 at Delicious.

  4. thand says:

    Ian – much of the literature in education journals seems to be descriptive case studies – the what/how- rather than real empirical research (a lost art?). hopefully we’ll start to see some appear as funding bodies also demand a level of accountablity for the spend.
    PS- if only Dave Warlick was right- but we are still producing materials on ‘what is blogging’

  5. Ian McKee says:

    Go Tim, keep ploughing through Kathryn Moyle’s report as I look forward to your synthesis as I haven’t been able to put my hands on it as yet.

    I agree that there seems to be a paucity of real empirical research and I do wonder though at the elementary nature of most evaluation. One might think that ICT had only just landed in the classroom except I look back to 25 years of working with computers in classrooms.

    On a similar not I had to admit to a little chuckle at the reticence of the writers of State of Learning in Canada 2009–2010: A YEAR IN REVIEW p20 – “Using technology to learn can substantially increase access to knowledge and information and may improve access to education, formal and informal learning, and employment opportunities.”

  6. sue beveridge says:

    The question is what are the indicators of success for the deploymnet of technolgoies across whole systems. How do you know that there is a benefit ? On the one hand you must prepare studetns for the world of work whcih undoubtedly requires ICT skills whether the technology assist studetns to learn begs the further question..learn what?
    It is very difficult for organisations such as the OECd to measure outcomes re this inputs are much easier eg number of computers per student, but measuring whether there as been an increase in learning as a result/achievemtn etc is difficult. Until we have syllabuses and assessment regimes which transparently address 21st century skills we cannot assume they will be taught our measured. Currently there is alot of debate as to whether 21st century learning is actually different from any other form of learning or work competencies.
    From my POV matching the Horizon report with strategies for enahncing teaching and learning is productive.• The following however are instructive: The US Department of Education meta-analysis of online learning studies (Means, 2009) reported was that students who undertook online instruction fared better than those who took the same course through face-to face instruction. Further, students who undertook instruction through a combination of face-to-face and online instruction had a larger advantage in performance than purely face-to-face instruction.

    • BECTa Impact Studies (Condie, 2007) suggested that whilst there was a need for more evidence in demonstrating attainment there was evidence of increased engagement and motivation in students.

    • thand says:

      Sue – it will be interesting to see how the National Curriculum implement the C21 skills. Identification and teaching of the skills and competencies is challenging and the debate on weather to integrate or teach them separately (like the media studies debates of old) will be fraught. Critically also the extent of recognition of these skills which students already possess is crucial.

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