Students Do Better Without Computers

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The Telegraph is reporting a large study that shows that the less students use computers at school and at home, the better they do in international tests of literacy and math. The more access they had to computers at home, the lower they scored in tests, partly because they diverted attention from homework. Students tended to do worse in schools generously equipped with computers, apparently because computerised instruction replaced more effective forms of teaching.

There are some good comments in this piece. This study highlights the ambivilence toward the use of computers in education. It is not that difficult to find evidence on both sides of this argument, but the thing that one should carry away from it all is that computers are a tool. And any tool can have a either a negative or a positive impact depending upon how it is used.

I think the key to primary and secondary education in the US is parental involvement. Know what your kids are doing in school and at home, guide them in decisions on which tools to use, and be proactive about what is going on in your child’s classroom. Yes, it is a lot of work, but raising children is no easy task.