Tech in Schools – Surprising evidence that ‘less is more’

Given the big push toward 1:1 computing, (a buzzword in education that refers to giving every student a device) there is some evidence to show that too much tech in schools could be harmful. See: Tech in Schools: Less is More.

‘Harmful’ is the operative word in the OECD (The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) report.

There are several layers of findings I won’t bore you with. But in general, reading, math and science among students in countries with heavy investments in computers, have shown no appreciable gains.

This chart shows how reading drops as share of computers increases.

I know for a fact what happens to reading, when passages have to be read on a screen. It appears to turn off students, some of whom otherwise may be classified as heavy readers. The OECD Report in fact says that “even specific online reading skills do not benefit from high levels of computer use at school.”

You may think this is odd for me to comment on such a study, being a computer and technology teacher. Well, I don’t drink the Kool-Aid. I try to make sure computers are part of a larger series of learning experiences, to get students think, create, and communicate. I also follow the standards outlined by ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education, which focuses on real world issues.

But this study is sobering, even if you are not inclined to believe it. What exactly do we do when we place a device in front of our children? Are we teaching them to consume content with no fixed end goal?

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