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A global report by the OECD claims investing in school computers does not improve student performance. The report argues instead that frequent use of computers is associated with lower results. The findings are based on the international PISA tests, which are taken in 70 countries worldwide. The OECD’s education director Andreas Schleicher however states that the report’s findings should not be used as an excuse not to use technology, but rather as a prompt to find more effective ways of integrating and using it in the classroom. While the report found that frequent use of technology use in school was associated with lower reading ability it also points to some benefits. Moderate computer use was associated with greater ability to navigate online texts, a skill believed to be increasingly important in academia and the workplace.
Several teachers and head teachers have critiqued the OECD’s report. Former head master at Sherborne Preparatory School in Dorset Peter Tait in a blog post said technology itself cannot be blamed for its lack of impact. Tait argued that too often technology is introduced without a clear plan for how it will be used. He further claimed that the time needed to integrate technology into the curriculum has not been sufficiently addressed by policy makers and educational experts. Head teacher Karin George of Westfields Junior School in Hampshire in a BBC Radio 4 interview argued that the extensive use of technology at her school contributes to the development of skills such as collaboration, independence and confidence. She further said that rather than only focusing on evidence in the form of SATS results schools should be evaluating whether they are producing well rounded individuals who are prepared for life as working adults. In her view, children need to learn how to use technology appropriately and that schools are in a unique position to help teach this.

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