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The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development released the results of a global study looking at the effect of technology on 15-year-olds test scores.

Five results learned from their study

1. The more technology, the worse the performance on tests — This was the big conclusion. The students who spent the most time using computers or on the Internet in school did worse than expected on international tests.

The students who ranked in the middle for technology use — what the OECD called moderate use — did the best on international tests. The OECD noted that east Asian nations, such as China and Singapore, intentionally limited students use of technology. They also used more traditional techniques teaching math — and have the best-performing students on math exams. The less computers are used in mathematics lessons,the better students perform. Suggested explanation include: Reading online is a different skill than reading on paper; technology can be a distraction; and schools aren’t making the best use of technology.

2.Teachers who use technology get better results — The OECD found that nations that emphasized training teachers to use technology performed better on tests. That meant allowing teachers to connect by video conferencing, observing other teachers, sharing lessons and ideas and just chatting with other teachers.

East Asian nations that encouraged teachers to connect via technology also had the best-performing students on exams.

3. U.S. is among the most-connected, digitally literate nations — The good news in the study was that U.S. schools have among the best student-to-computer ratios in the world at about 2-to-1. And the OECD found that while low-income children were less likely to have access to the Internet than wealthier children, about 80 percent of low-income children had access to the Internet.

4.  U.S. students are among the most digitally literate in the world. The group asked students to use computers and the Internet to perform a series of tasks. U.S. students had some of the top scores in the world.

5. Digital skills are important — Presently, students aren’t getting good results from technology in schools although internet skill are important job skills.

Moreover, other research shows that most workers never use Algebra 2, Caluculus or other high-level math courses in their work — but most jobs require some digital skills. Teaching students how to use computers and the Internet is still time well-spent.


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