Following on from discussions that I heard taking place at the ULearn conference I was interested to read this morning (via eSchool News) a new report that concludes that when implemented carefully – with adequate attention paid to training, support, and evaluation – technology has been found to have a significant positive impact on student learning across all areas of the curriculum.
Produced by Cisco Systems and the Metiri Group, the report summarizes general trends and representative studies in areas such as television and video use, calculators, engagement devices such as interactive whiteboards, portable or handheld devices, virtual learning, in-school computing, and one-to-one computing. The report aims to provide educators with sound data about technological innovations that researchers say are working. Its goal is to help school leaders make better decisions about technology investments.
Key conclusions from the report include observations that…
- educators have been “overly confident that they could easily accomplish the depth of school change required to realize the potential technology holds for learning–not an easy task.
- educators did not make as much effort as they could have in documenting technology’s effect on student learning, the way teachers used the technology, or how efficient it was.
Both of these findings ring true for me in the NZ situation, although I believe we are seeing the development of emphasis on a more critical approach to the use of ICTs and to the adoption of Action Research practices by teachers.
The report refers to and provides substance to the arguments made by Larry Cuban in his book “Oversold and Underused” – but in my view, provides a more optomistic view of where we could see things going, provided sufficient attention is paid to the recommendation that schools take a more critical look at what they are trying to do with technology, what their expectations of its use might be, and what they are doing to identify and document the impact that it is making in order to make informed decisions about its use.
I’d recommend this report as essential background reading for facilitators, principals, ICT coordinators and any teachers who may be doing research or completing studies in this area.
The full report can be downloaded here from the Cisco site as a PDF document.