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  • Technology to amplify great teaching

    (photo: Blake Patterson)

    (photo: Blake Patterson)

    - “There is only a weak association between the use of ICT in education and performance in mathematics and reading.” To improve this, according to the OECD the education industry may need to become “an essential partner in any education innovation strategy.”

    In the report ‘Innovating Education and Educating for Innovation’ the OECD looks at the use of technology in classrooms and how it is fostering innovation and 21st century skills in students. “Although education is not a change-averse sector, with improvements already taking place in classrooms, it has not managed to harness technology to raise productivity, improve efficiency, increase quality and foster equity in the way other public sectors have.”

    Partnering with the education industry

    The OECD finds that digital technologies have not yet been fulling integrated in teaching and learning. “Teachers do not feel sufficiently skilled to use ICT effectively, at best using digital technologies to complement prevailing teaching practices.”

    Furthermore, there seems to be “only a weak, and sometimes negative, association between the use of ICT in education and performance in mathematics and reading, even after recounting for differences in national icome and socio-economic status.” According to the OECD “schools and governments must address these challenges or technology may do more harm than good.”

    Innovation in pedagogic models is needed to make sure technology can really strengthen education. The OECD notes that “the education industry could be an essential partner in any education innovation strategy,” but this requires an innovation-friendly culture in education systems.

    Teachers as change agents

    In his blog OECD-director Andreas Schleicher is addressing the report and its implications. “we just can’t ignore how digital tools have so fundamentally transformed the world around schools. Students unable to navigate through our complex digital landscape are simply no longer able to participate in our social, economic and cultural life.”

    In a more rapid changing world, access to and knowledge of ICT is indispensable, Schleicher sees. But implementing this in education needs capable teachers. “None of this is going to work without teachers becoming active agents for change, not just in implementing technological innovations, but in designing them too. One thing is clear, technology can amplify great teaching, but great technology will never replace poor teaching.”