Monday, December 06, 2004

Computers and academic performance

CSM reports on a German study looking at how computers affect academic performance. While I'll be curious to see how people will spin this study (and I'd like to take a look at it personally), some things really stand out, such as the huge sample size. 175,000 kids. Wow. Nice. And the researchers were mindful of SES. And this was an international study.

From my read, it looks as though how computers are used in the home makes the difference in performance. They say that kids using computers for emails and educational software do well in school. Hard to say what the connection is here, meaning which you can't conclude causation.

I'm not opposed to computers per se. How can I be, when I'm on a computer all the time. But the blind faith that the presence of computers means a better education is now shown to be not necessarily true. I do think computers can help kids do research, important today in this world.

However, the same thing goes for testing. Just because you're testing kids doesn't mean the kids are getting a better education. That is a disconnect that the media (and NCLB supporters) seem to gloss over.