Reacting to the OECD report: ‘Computers “do not improve” pupil results’

Reacting to the OECD report: ‘Computers “do not improve” pupil results’

by Mike Wilkinson, 16 September 2016

Yesterday morning I heard a shocking headline on the BBC…the latest report from the OECD which states that  ‘Investing heavily in school computers and classroom technology does not improve pupils’.

Here’s the BBC article:

The problem with this report is the mistake which so many people make…the focus is on the technology, not the learning. We must look at this report and then look at the pedagogies which are prominent in each of the countries they cite.

East Asia is highlighted as one of the best performing education systems. They are cited in the report as only moderate users of ICT, but top for digital skills. But the key is that these countries have bided their time and watched as countries such as the UK have invested heavily in ICT to innovate teaching and learning. Now best practice is emerging, they are to enhance their countries education offering through technology.

Denmark is cited as a country whose results have ‘stagnated’ and the report is suggesting that ICT is not helping. But Denmark’s education system is currently undergoing huge reform. They are introducing common goals and standards as a way of improving teaching and learning and ICT is providing a mechanism to help teachers to implement these changes – it has a genuine purpose.

Mark Chambers, CEO of NAACE was interviewed on the BBC and his comment about the UK assessment system comes to mind… ‘the changes to assessment in the UK could not take place without ICT as we could not get to the levels of granularity which teachers are now enjoying’. With FrogProgress, we help teachers know exactly what their students do and don’t know at a very granular level and support them through ICT with tools to keep the focus on teaching and learning, not spending time on computers recording evidence.

Just throwing technology at a problem does not and will not have any impact upon teaching and learning. Technology is an enabler. The report warned “classroom technology can be a distraction and result in pupils cutting and pasting “prefabricated” homework answers from the internet.” This is a typical example of ICT not being used properly…and frankly….if it’s used in this way…I’d agree. Good teaching and learning practice will produce good results and ICT’s job, our job at Frog, is to help teachers and learners by providing technology to enable them to achieve better outcomes.

From schools like Oxted who are using FrogSnap to revolutionise modern foreign language teaching with collaboration around media captured at the point of inspiration, to The Deans Primary School who have implemented FrogProgress as an assessment tool to ensure teachers spend their time teaching, not recording evidence, we see technology supporting excellent teaching and learning every day.  Maybe the OECD should visit some NAACE 3rd Millennium schools or look at the teaching and learning toolkit from the Education Endowment Fund. We would love to invite them to visit some of our Frog schools to show them the exciting ways our teachers are using technology in the classroom!

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