It is frequently said, but seems to be lost in translation - computers alone do nothing to improve learning...it's what the students do with them!! Underpinning that is the assumption that, if students are learning skills such as problem solving, inquiry, evaluation, and collaboration, we actually assess them on those skills rather than ones that were required 10...20...or more years ago.
Which is why I sighed deeply when I read the following article (shared by John Owen) a couple of days ago. I guess the title says it all: "Computers 'do not improve' pupil results, says OECD"! I agree. They don't. But I don't agree with the underlying assumptions. For example,
Mr Schleicher says the findings of the report should not be used as an "excuse" not to use technology, but as a spur to finding a more effective approach. He gave the example of digital textbooks which can be updated as an example of how online technology could be better than traditional methods. [My emphasis]
Really? Digital textbooks! What about active, applied learning experiences that encourage and support learner agency? What about learning experiences that are 'global', student-directed, that include 'wicked' problems? How about instances where teachers become facilitators and mentor / coaches?
The good news is, there are examples of this happening. One from New Zealand is particularly heartening. In this Radio New Zealand podcast (13 mins 30 secs), Jennifer Palmer (a Year 12 student at Orewa College), speaks eloquently and confidently about how a combination of active learning and inquiry and use of the affordances of mobile, connected devices, has helped her and her classmates learn.
Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences :)
Image: Educational Postcard about one-to-one device and the effect. CC ( BY NC ) licensed Flickr image by Ken Whytock: https://flic.kr/p/r93hYp
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