Whether it is a tape recorder, computer, mp3 player or iPad, the introduction of any technology tools into education will always involve answering the question, “Does using technology in schools raise student achievement?”
In Technology and Achievement: The Bottom Line, Harold Wenglinsky discussed the studies he conducted using National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) database, on whether or not technology does raise student’s achievement.
Some of the key findings were:
- Middle school students benefit when their teachers include computers into their teaching that in a manner that promotes higher-order thinking in specific content areas. High school students need to be able to deepen their thinking and enhance their work products through technology-driven processes that are the same in such diverse subjects as English, history, trigonometry, and physics.
- More time doing school work on computers at home, led to higher scores on the NAEP assessment. However, those who spent more time on computers in school were likely to achieve a lower score on the NAEP. The finding seems to indicate that teachers can make better use of computers by having students complete such assignments at home rather than at school.
- High school students should not plan their lessons around the computer, rather plan their lesson ordinarily and assume that students are going to involve the use of computers in a variety of ways because students exist in a technology-rich work environment where the use of technology is constant.
- To boost student achievement, computers should not be placed at the centre; rather schools should make sure that students have “generic technology skills” which they will need to be able to apply in utilizing computers for learning across the curriculum.
Issues of assessments/evaluation/measurements have always been integral to the field of education. The rapid deployment of technologies however is challenging the field of assessment partially because some see computers and other technologies as tools where as others see them as learning environments in their own right – the same way a classroom is a learning environment. Resolving such distinctions may help inform approach to evaluation of achievements and measurements of effectiveness.
Reference: Wenglinsky, H. (2006) Technology and Achievement: The Bottom Line. Learning in the Digital Age December 2005/January 2006, Volume 63, Number 4, Pages 29-32. Retrieved from -http://www.hccsc.k12.in.us/technology/tip/Teachers%27%20Academy/The%20Bottom%20Line.pdf