Are the New Millennium Learners Making the Grade?

Technology Use and Educational Performance in PISA 2006

image of Are the New Millennium Learners Making the Grade?
Using data from PISA 2006, this book analyzes to what extent investments in technology enhance educational outcomes. One of the most striking findings of this study is that the digital divide in education goes beyond the issue of access to technology. A new second form of digital divide has been identified: the one existing between those who have the right competencies to benefit from computer use, and those who do not. These competencies and skills are closely linked to the economic, cultural and social capital of the student.

This finding has important implications for policy and practice. Governments should make an effort to clearly convey the message that computer use matters for the education of young people and do their best to engage teachers and schools in raising the frequency of computer use to a level that becomes relevant. If schools and teachers are really committed to the development of 21st century competencies, such an increase will happen naturally. And only in these circumstances will clear correlations between technology use and educational performance emerge.




Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

Our increasingly technology-rich world raises new possibilities and new concerns for education. First, technology can provide tools for improving the teaching and learning process, thereby opening new opportunities and avenues. In particular, it can enhance the customisation of the educational process by adapting it to the particular needs of the student. Second, as education prepares students for adult life, it must provide them with the skills they need to participate in a society that increasingly requires technology-related competences. The development of these competences, which are part of the set of the so-called 21st century competences, is becoming an integral part of the goals of compulsory education. Finally, in a knowledge economy driven by technology, people who do not master these competences may suffer from a new form of digital divide that may affect their capacity to fully participate in the knowledge economy and society.


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