Computers at school not necessarily a good thing

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Flickr, JJ Merelo

FREQUENT computer use at school does not improve a pupil’s reading, maths or science skills, a report by the OECD has revealed.

The OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) Students, Computers and Learning report concluded that while moderate computer use can be beneficial for children, too much is not a good thing and stressed that countries which have spent more on new technologies for education have not necessarily achieved better exam results over the last decade.

Although just 42 per cent of pupils in Korea and 38 per cent in Shanghai have access to computers at school, the report revealed, both countries were amongst those that obtained the best results in reading comprehension and maths tests both in digital skills format and offline.

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In 2012, the OECD reported, 96 per cent of 15-year-olds had access to a computer at home but only 72 per cent said they used computers, laptops or tablets at school.

Spain is a good example. In 2012, the report revealed, there was one computer for every two 15-year-old students, placing the country ninth of the 34 countries studied.

Yet test results were nothing to write home about with, for example, an average score of 466 for digital reading and 475 for maths compared to an overall average for the 34 countries of 497.

One in 20 students in Spain said they had trouble finding things they needed on the internet and often missed things, and funnily enough given how much computers are used, students were more likely to get a problem they could resolve themselves correct than one they needed to use a computer to answer.

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