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.



The policy debate about technology in education

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

There have been three main policy expectations regarding technology in education. The first was that schools would equip students with the technical skills required by an increasingly technology-pervaded economy. The second was that schools would bridge the digital divide by providing students with universal access to computers and the Internet during compulsory education. The third was that technology would improve educational productivity by making teaching and learning more effective – improving learning outcomes by changing teaching and learning strategies. In some respects, it would seem that the initial policy expectations have not been fulfilled, but a closer analysis shows the need to reframe them in light of changing societal needs. In particular, the issue of the effects of technology use on educational performance should be reviewed.


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