Computers and kids part one
Excerpted from an article by John Clare (published in the U.K.) which summarizes a study on computers and children by the Royal Economic Society:
The less pupils use computers at school and at home, the better they do in international tests of literacy and maths, the largest study of its kind says today.This current Royal Economic Society study reassessed data accumulated by Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) on 100,000 15-year-olds in 31 countries. The Pisa study, "to the British and many other governments' satisfaction," had concluded that more computer use = better achievement; it even suggested that kids with more than one computer at home were a year ahead of those who had none.
The findings raise questions over the Government's decision, announced by Gordon Brown in the Budget last week, to spend another £1.5 billion on school computers, in addition to the £2.5 billion it has already spent.
... the study, published by the Royal Economic Society, said: "Despite numerous claims by politicians and software vendors to the contrary, the evidence so far suggests that computer use in schools does not seem to contribute substantially to students' learning of basic skills such as maths or reading."
Indeed, the more pupils used computers, the worse they performed, said Thomas Fuchs and Ludger Wossmann of Munich University.
The new study found the Pisa conclusion "highly misleading:" it had not taken into account the relation between computer availability at home and other socioeconomic advantages, or that computer availability at school accompanies other superior resources.
Once those influences were eliminated, the relationship between use of computers and performance in maths and literacy tests was reduced to zero, showing how "careless interpretations can lead to patently false conclusions".
The more access pupils had to computers at home, the lower they scored in tests, partly because they diverted attention from homework.
Pupils tended to do worse in schools generously equipped with computers, apparently because computerised instruction replaced more effective forms of teaching.
The Government [nevertheless] says computers are the key to "personalised learning" and computers should be "embedded" in the teaching of every subject.
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