No magic bullets - the impact of ICT on attainment

For such a hot topic, made doubly so by the inclusion in the Donaldson report of "digital competencies", it's surprising that the canon of evidence linking ICT useage to enhanced outcomes is slight. This is perhaps not surprising when you consoder the Hawthorne effect, which in essence says that "when the subjects of a study know they are in a study, then there is a measurable impact". Hence why clinical trials use the coverted "double blind" approach - something that is almost impossible in social sciences (the group with one-to-one iPads can clearly see they have them and the others dont, so those with iPads demonstrate an improvement -classic Hawthorne).

However, there are some generalisations supported by research: (Numbers in brackets are Hattie's effect size)
  • ICT intergeration is more effective in primary than secondary settings (possibly explained by the deeper student-teacher relationships and accessibility of tools)
  • In general, ICT based interventions seem more effective for less able learners
  • ICT and computer based learning is as effective as one to one tutoring
  • ICT as a suppliment to traditional learning is more effective than ICT as a replacement (maths especially)
  • Word processing and wikis have a broadly positive impact on literacy, particularly in primary phase
  • Frequency of use / integration seems more important than monolithic blocks or ICT as an enhancement tool
  • Use of programming and computational thinking has longer term impacts compared to just "using ICT"
  • Teacher developed interventions more effective than commercial tools
  • Teachers and SLT often confuse / conflate ict infrastructure with ict pedadogy...
  • Households with pc / internet access have higher attainment than those without and higher than tablet access alone.
  • No evidence that ict reduces the impact of poverty (effectsize 0.15)
  • Increased access does not translate to increased attainment (-.1 to .1)
  • ICT based interventions have a positice impact on student perceptions and intrinsic motivation, especially for boys (evidence is tempered by the possibly that any impact on perception and motivation is short term)
All of the above asside, the greatest impacts are seen when:
  • Clear leadership and strategy is more important than quantity and accessibility of equipment (0.6+)
  • Increased ICT is comboned with measurement of quality of implementation, teacher training ( in use of tools) and local support (+1.5)
  • Increased provision is coupled with development of new pedagogies. (0.5 to 2.1)

In light of Donaldon and his "digital competencies" the evidence leads us to ask threeimportant questions:

1) What's you leadership strategy for implementing new, additional or enhanced use of ICT?
2) How are you going to develop the pedagogy behind the tools?
3) How are you going to asses the quality / impact of ICT?

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