Some authorities claim no evidence exists that technology has a positive impact on teaching and learning – is this true?
Sunday, January 2nd, 2011 | technology
When the impact of technology on education is discussed, varied opinions are expressed. Some of them are:
- absolutely no evidence that technology has a positive impact
- no conclusive evidence that technology makes a difference
- it can’t hurt
- the best thing since sliced bread
- lots of anecdotal evidence that technology improves learning
- proven beyond doubt that technology makes a difference in the classroom.
Published research results are not conclusive and vary according to the sample taken, the area where the research was done, as well as by whom the research was done. In general, when research is based on a single school, or a small sample of schools in a particular region, or schools using a particular product, the results are positive. This can be attributed to the fact that when research is commissioned as part of a pilot study, more support is given to teachers – therefore the measurable results are positive.
Larger research studies often show that technology has little or no impact on teaching and learning. A random selection of schools is used for these studies – schools where teachers receive no support are included and often account for the bulk of the research data.
A reasonable conclusion is that when teachers are supported and trained to use technology in a focused way, positive outcomes can be expected. However, technology has little or no impact on learning when it is just implemented – dumped – and the teachers then left alone, with no support.
You may read success stories or meet other teachers who claim that technology has changed their classrooms for the better; others may be less enthusiastic about the success of technology.
Do you want technology to have a positive impact in your classroom? It can, even if so far it has not improved learner outcomes in your region or in your school.
The only way in which you will know the value of technology is if you put it to the test yourself.
For more technology tips for teachers click here.