The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an international organisation, recently released a report on the effects of technology in classrooms. This report stated the inability of technology in classrooms to help students and overuse of technology in class actually hindered student’s learning.
“Despite considerable investments in computers, Internet connections and software for educational use, there is little solid evidence that greater computer use among students leads to better scores in mathematics and reading,” the report said.
In 2014, roughly $1.9 billion was spent on technology in education worldwide and it is expected to exceed $2 billion at the end of this year. This shows significant change from just five years ago, where only about $385 million was spent according to CB Insights, a venture capital firm.
This extreme amount of money spent on laptops, iPads, SmartBoards and much more, naturally leads many to be curious on how effective technology in classrooms really is. OECD tried to answer that question with a two year long study.
It was stated in the OECD’s report “Students, Computers and Learning” that those with excessive computer use during the day had the lowest results regardless of their socio-economic class. Furthermore, since the beginning of the technology buzz, it has been reported that the skill level of rising ninth graders in fundamental subjects such as reading, writing and mathematics has dropped drastically.
“One of the most disappointing findings of the report is that the socio-economic divide between students is not narrowed by technology, perhaps even amplified,” says Andreas Schleicher, OECD’s head of education. Many attribute this to the amount of technology available at home. Those with more exposure to technology were able to perform better in the technology centric classrooms.
It was also repeatedly pointed out that countries with the lowest amount of technology use in classrooms, South Korea, Shanghai and Hong Kong, are also today’s leaders of education. It was reported that in South Korea, on average, less than ten minutes were spent on computers or other such Internet connected devices, while Shanghai was just under 10 minutes and Hong Kong close to 12 minutes.
So the question is: Is KIS’s computer policy advantageous for students? Many will quickly answer “Yes!” With responses which highlight the limitless knowledge the internet provides, as well as its versatility (textbook, calculator, notebook, etc.), students will go on and on in the ‘advantages’ of personal laptops. However, many students admit it can often be distracting with unchecked access to videos, social media and games.
“It is true that classrooms with high technology have more distractions. The question is does one value higher information flow over being off task for a higher amount of time. I believe the trade off is worth it,” says, Mr. Hopkins, a science teacher.
Julie Suh, a KIS sophomore, has a different stance. She says she “find[s] it easier to study and retain information when [she] writes with a pen and pencil” rather than on a computer.
Technology in classrooms, however, is not all bad. As the world becomes increasingly technological, it is a vital skill to be able to proficiently use certain technology. Exposure to it at an early age will prove to be advantageous in the workforce. Furthermore, it creates a more engaging environments for students. The incorporation of educational games and videos can make dull lessons more exciting.
OECD states that technology in the classrooms is not the problem, but the use of it should be more regulated. It also reports that blindly spending money on technology in education is useless. Regardless, technology is starting to become an important aspect of education.
– Juyon Lee (’18)