New Research Shows iPads are Not a Panacea for Educational Woes

Annie Holmquist | September 17, 2015

New Research Shows iPads are Not a Panacea for Educational Woes

Today’s education system is increasingly repeating the “iPads for everyone” mantra. In an effort to improve student performance, school districts in every state from California to Pennsylvania to Minnesota to Colorado and on to Illinois have launched expensive initiatives to get little fingers swiping screens in the classroom.

But have these initiatives been misguided? Brand new research suggests this might be the case. The Wall Street Journal reports:

“Beefing up technology in the classroom doesn’t always lead to better education for children, according to a new study from an international consortium presented Tuesday.

The report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, tracked educational outcome among students based on their use of technology at home and in the classroom. While student performance improves when they use technology in moderation, the group found, overexposure to computers and the Internet causes educational outcomes to drop.

‘Despite considerable investments in computers, Internet connections and software for educational use, there is little solid evidence that greater computer use among students leads to better scores in mathematics and reading,’ the report said.

In mathematics tests, the survey found that almost any time spent on the computer led to poorer performance on both written and digital tests.

Researchers found much the same results when students used computers for homework. They also found that students who used computers excessively were more likely to feel isolated or alone.”

Such news suggests school districts need to exercise caution before putting all of their eggs in the technology basket. Technology is a tool that can be used prudently in education; it’s not an educational panacea.

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