Does technology improve learning in schools?

The OECD has just given the world an F when it comes to using computers to improve educational outcomes .

Photo of Eric Patnoudes
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In the context of the traditional classroom, Internet-connected devices risk distracting from the learning process more than they aid it. A famous 2003 Cornell University study found that students who were allowed to use their laptops during class recalled far less of the material than those who were denied access to computers. More broadly, a 40-country Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development study recently found that the students who reported spending the most time on computers, both in class and at home, performed worse than their peers on a pair of standardized tests. And countries that have invested heavily in classroom technology have seen “no noticeable improvement” in students’ test scores. The OECD report concluded that “adding 21st-century technologies to 20th-century teaching practices will just dilute the effectiveness of teaching.”


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Photo of Chris Tenbarge

I love the statement - it certainly gets my vote. I hope this leads to a discussion on how technology application can (1) make a purposeful and positive difference in education without (2) focusing solely on test scores to measure the positive outcomes.

Photo of Eric Patnoudes

Thanks for your endorsement Chris! I hope we can discuss this further also. I work with many schools who are quick to spend money on hardware and reluctant to invest in training and PD.