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The Effective use of Digital Technologies for Learning in Schools Professor Steve Higgins Durham University

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Presentation on theme: "The Effective use of Digital Technologies for Learning in Schools Professor Steve Higgins Durham University"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Effective use of Digital Technologies for Learning in Schools Professor Steve Higgins Durham University

2 Overview Past What does the research evidence tell us? Building the case for evidence-based education Present What are the current opportunities and challenges? Future How should we be integrating digital technologies in schools? Overview

3 The past… Technologising teaching Replacing the teacher Discrete learning objectives Most recently Integrated learning systems The Auto-Tutor for Push- Button Learning permitting each student to progress at her own pace – sound familiar? The past

4 Types of evidence Correlational – association between availability or use of technologies and learning outcomes Experimental – trying to improve learning with technology and using a control group Outcome data – qualitative, quantitative on perceptions and on learning outcomes The past

5 Qualitative studies Perceptions of participants Identify qualitative changes Overwhelmingly positive Impact of technology or impact of change? The past

6 Quantitative assessment of impact of ICTs Correlational studies Provision of equipment/ use etc linked to outcomes (test performance, attitudes etc) Tend to find positive associations Experimental studies Group comparisons (control/ experimental) Technology/ no technology Usually identify benefits for technology The past

7 Correlational studies: BectaImpact studies Impact 2 study Identified statistically significant findings associating higher levels of ICT positively with school achievement at each Key Stage, and in English, Maths, Science, Modern Foreign Languages and Design Technology (Harrison et al. 2002; Harrison et al. 2004) Impact 2007 study Showed that e-maturity was linked positively with school performance in Key Stage 3 mathematics, science and GCSE level 1 (Underwood et al. 2007) The past

8 The problem… Shows that the statistically significant positive correlation between the availability of computers at home and student performance in mathematics and reading reverses into a statistically significantly negative one as soon as other family- background influences are extensively controlled for in multivariate regressions. OR Wealthy homes have more computers and they have kids who do better at school. When you take this into account the kids who have computers at home do worse at school. Fuchs and Woessman, 2004 The past

9 … with correlational studies Shows how bivariate results on computer availability at school are severely biased because the availability of school computers is strongly correlated with the availability of other school resources. While the bivariate correlation between the availability of computers at school and student performance is strongly and statistically significantly positive, the correlation becomes small and statistically indistinguishable from zero once other school characteristics are held constant. Effective schools have computers and other technologies. But good schools invest in a range of learning resources, and technology is only one of the resources they invest in. Fuchs and Woessman, 2004 The past

10 Evidence from correlation studies Studies linking provision and use of technology in school tend to find small positive associations with educational outcomes but it is not clear that this is always a causal link (e.g. Harrison et al. 2004) Good schools invest more in technology (Moseley et al. 1999) When SES is controlled for - no effect (Fuchs and Woessmann 2004) Association not linear one – optimal use may be a better concept (e.g. OECD 2006) The past

11 Evidence from experimental studies Consistent positive gains for computer use in schools Particularly for: Writing (quantity in particular) Low attaining and SEN pupils (particularly in mathematics) Younger learners mastering basic skills Providing feedback Supporting interaction The past

12 Findings from meta-analysis Computer and digital technology interventions Effect Waxman, Lin, Michko, Waxman et al., Tamim et al Hattie, The past

13 Guess the average impact of different approaches… Learning styles Technology/ICT Homework Providing feedback Direct instruction The past

14 Rank order of effects Providing feedback (Hattie & Timperley, 2007) 0.79 Direct instruction (Sipe & Curlette, 1997) 0.60 Technology/ICT (Tamim et al., 2009) 0.35 Homework (Hattie, 2008) 0.29 Learning styles (Kavale & Forness, 1987; Slemmer 2002) 0.15 The past

15 Summary from experimental studies Evidence from experimental and quasi- experimental designs indicates consistent moderate benefit (e.g. Sipe and Curlette 1997; Pearson, 2005) Comparison with other researched interventions technology-based interventions tend to produce below average gains (e.g. Hattie, 2009) The past

16 Diffusion of innovations Everett Rogers Technology Adoption Lifecycle model Persuasive perceptions Credible correlational data Disappointing experimental data The past

17 The present Learning platforms Transfer from HE and FE Mobile and hand-held technologies Engaging learners Niche activities Gaming technologies Collaboration skills Interactive surfaces The present

18 A case study: Interactive whiteboards Rapid UK uptake (Moseley et al., 1999) per primary; 18 per secondary (Becta, 2006) per primary; 38 per secondary (Smith et al. 2008) Successful in becoming embedded Clear impact on classroom interaction More whole class teaching, faster pace, more interactions, more shorter answers, more evaluation, less uptake questions, shorter pupil presentations No significant attainment advantage The present

19 The wrong question? The way you use technology is more important than the technology New technologies are appealing and will be adopted in schools The question is not does technology work but how can different technologies be best used to support learning? The present

20 The future Technology and society Rapid projected development New technologies, new opportunities Constant change – challenging choices The future

21 Problems with the evidence Reliant on perceptions Over-emphasises early-adopter experiences Breaking waves and always jam tomorrow The future

22 The ecology of technology Pedagogy trumps technology Build on research on effective teaching and learning When technology is introduced, what is squeezed out?

23 Motivation for adoption Solving pedagogical problems Inspired to try the technology Keeping up with the Joneses Accepting the inevitable Kicking and screaming into the 21 st Century

24 Conclusions Support teachers who know what they want to use it for Use it to support the evidence on effective teaching and learning Look beyond motivation and engagement Evaluate impact on learning Be critical beware of Geeks bearing gifts


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