So I recently read a report about the use of technology in the current classroom. As I read the conclusion I was unsurprised to find that research into the effectiveness of technology draws no specific conclusions about the impact in the classroom.
So why did anyone pay someone to write this report? What is the purpose of spending money on a document that is going to say the same thing as all of the previously written reports over the past 15 years on technology.
This may seem as a paradox to my current position in school, I am currently the Leader of E-learning, but actually having started the school year with another piece of research that is fundamentally flawed in it’s delivery and suggested findings, I don’t believe that the effectiveness of technology in the classroom can have any measured impact. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t.
The piece of research that I was shown at the start of term and had previously seen which shows what variable has what effect size. What I love the most about this is that someone has actually produced it. The preciseness of the effective size by decimal says that this is truly measurable and can have specific effects.
So why not work on it all. Pick up every single thing and then we could probably stop teaching students before they leave primary school and they will be successful in A’level exams. Obviously the author of this isn’t suggesting that but to put such a level of detail in the numbers but not the influence is a bit like the lesson I observed that showed that ice cream causes hay fever!
Impact and effect are different, getting a measured impact from anything in the classroom is near impossible. The most important tool in the classroom will always be the teacher. If they use technology or not, if they provide written feedback or not teachers always want the best for their students and will always try and provide the best experience for them. Attempting to measure a multitude of things and looking at the impact that it has on student outcomes if near impossible. If it wasn’t then there would be one way to learn, one way that would guarantee the top grades in any subject. The A grade text book, the A* piece of technology, the C grade visual aid would all be on the shelves of every classroom.
Technology is here to stay, people use technology every day of their lives for something. Incorporating it into as much of the school day as possible is inevitable in order to get students to know how to use it effectively.