New landmark OECD PISA study on 'Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection'

Michael Trucano, EduTech, Sept 16, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Here's the study. Michael Trucano summarizes: "Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection finds that, despite the pervasiveness of information and communication technologies (ICT) in our daily lives, these technologies have not yet been as widely adopted in formal education. And where they are used in the classroom, their impact on student performance is mixed, at best." I don't blame him for that summary, but it's a ridiculous conclusion based on the data. What does it mean to say "used a computer"? The OECD authors, at least, recognize that there are different types of computer use (though they ignore this in several sweeping overgeneralizations of their own). But I fear most of the mainstream coverage will not. For my own part, I refuse to believe that a person who never uses a computer has better computer navigation skills than a person who uses it every day (slide 44, image). I think we will find explanations for the data via systemic bias in the tests. See also Peter Skillen, who also points to this ridiculous conclusion as it appeared in headlines around the world.

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