Technology doesn't make school pupils smarter, study says

Study finds that education systems which have invested heavily in information and communications technology have seen "no n
Study finds that education systems which have invested heavily in information and communications technology have seen "no noticeable improvement" in results for reading, mathematics or science

Computers do not noticeably improve school pupils' academic results and can even hamper performance, an OECD report said Tuesday that looked at the impact of technology in classrooms across the globe.

While almost three quarters of pupils in the countries surveyed used computers at schools, the report by the the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development found technology had made no noticeable improvement in results.

Conversely, in high-achieving schools in parts of Asia, where smartphones and computers have become an integral part of people's everyday lives, technology was far less prevalent in the classrooms.

In South Korea, students used computers for an average of nine minutes at school and in Hong Kong, only 11 minutes—just a fraction of the 58 minutes spent in Australia, 42 in Greece and 39 in Sweden.

"Where computers are used in the classroom, their impact on student performance is mixed at best," OECD's education director Andreas Schleicher said in a foreword to the report, the think-tank's first on the topic.

"Students who use computers very frequently at school do a lot worse in most learning outcomes, even after accounting for and student demographics."

The report measured the impact of technology use at school on international test results, such as the OECD's Pisa tests taken in dozens of countries around the world and other exams measuring digital skills.

It found that education systems which have invested heavily in information and communications technology have seen "no noticeable improvement" in results for reading, mathematics or science.

The OECD urged schools to work with teachers to turn into a more powerful tool in the classroom and develop more sophisticated software for experimentation and simulation, social media and games.

"The real contributions ICT can make to teaching and learning have yet to be fully realised and exploited," it concluded.


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Sep 15, 2015
And in other news, researchers find that the Pope is Catholic

Sep 15, 2015
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Sep 15, 2015
The OECD urged schools to work with teachers to turn technology into a more powerful tool in the classroom and develop more sophisticated software for experimentation and simulation, social media and games.

"The real contributions ICT can make to teaching and learning have yet to be fully realised and exploited," it concluded.


This has been the conclusion for the past 20+ years. Technology doesn't improve learning and in fact interferes with learning, so we need to increase the use of technology until we get the improvements we expect.

School systems spend thousands of dollars on computers and networking when the students lack text books, paper, pencils, etc.

Sep 15, 2015
Amazing admission yet we probably wont see it in the NYT headlines.
In other words, nothing can replace the social component of learning face to face. Seems to me that some old Greek had to drink poison because he disagreed with change from face to face lectures in which all converse with the printed word that could be circulated without discussion of the points made inside the pages.

Sep 15, 2015
One aspect of this is that we increasingly let machines do the 'thinking' for us. When I was a boy, cashiers used to be very good at arithmetic because cash registers were slow and awkward. Nowadays it's common for cashiers to struggle with arithmetic if the machine doesn't do their calculations for them.

Last week I was traveling with two friends and we discovered that we were lost and had no auto-navigation. We had road maps, but both of my friends had become so rusty with maps that I had to do all the directions.

Once self-driving cars become common, I suspect that many young people will never bother to learn how to drive.


Sep 15, 2015
Technology cannot, without enormous care, overcome the philosophy embedded within the medium's content. Sites like physorg cast much speculative science as though it is fact, and that in turn convinces students to refuse to ask the pertinent questions. How can simplistically adding a computer to the situation change that complex dynamic?

It can, but only with a carefully crafted collaborative discourse medium which is fundamentally designed to train students to actually think like scientists rather than thinking what scientists think.

Sep 15, 2015
As a soon-to-graduate college senior, who has seen the more widespread use of computers, I couldn't agree more.
Hmmm...either play games on my laptop or listen to a boring lecture...Hmmm
There's a reason I don't bring the thing to class.

Sep 16, 2015
On the bright side, smart phones do kill stupid people. So, collectively, we are getting smarter.

Sep 16, 2015
The older folks are frequently pushed out of the workforce when they fail to adapt quickly enough to emerging technologies, or are simply perceived as dinosaurs. As soon as a large enough solar flare wipes out the satellites in orbit, they will instantly become relevant again. Just imagine how many people today would become utterly unable to function without GPS, internet, cell phones etc.

Sep 21, 2015
Most of what people want to know is best learned first hand, experienced directly. Computers make that impossible, so they kill a student's enthusiasm for learning. Computers are okay for learning about computers, or about cheap entertainment like photos and chatting and porn.

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