The Connections Between Computer Use and Learning Outcomes in Students

The Connections Between Computer Use and Learning Outcomes in Students

Last fall, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development published its first-ever, and one of the largest-ever, international analyses of student access to computers and how that relates to student learning. (The OECD administers the PISA test, the world-famous international academic ranking.)

“Students who use computers very frequently at school do a lot worse in most learning outcomes, even after controlling for social background and student demographics.”

In April, the research firm SRI published a report at the behest of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (which is a supporter of NPR Ed). It looked at college courses that are using so-called “adaptive learning” software as an enhancement to blended courses.

Finally, a study published in July looked at high-achieving eighth-graders across North Carolina who had the opportunity to take Algebra I online. The study found that they did much worse than students who took the course face-to-face — about a third of a letter grade worse, in fact.

Implementation is really important, yet it’s often ignored.

Imperfect data and inadequate evaluation make it hard to understand or improve the use of ed-tech.

Computers are enhancing access. There’s less evidence that they’re enhancing learning.


more on the relationship between technology and learning in this IMS blog

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