To Have the Skills or Not: A New Digital Divide?

OECD Observer: A new digital divide?: According to European Union data, around 20% of jobs in Europe are either in the information and communication technology sector or require skills in that field. How prepared are today’s students for living and working in a digital world? The OECD’s New Millennium Learners project explores what drives students to use computers, and how computer use affects education performance. Its study, Are the New Millennium Learners Making the Grade? Technology Use and Educational Performance in PISA show that there is not a simple correlation between using computers and doing well in school. Rather, there is evidence of a second “digital divide” emerging–not between students who do and don’t have computers, but between those students who have the skills to benefit from computer use and those who don’t.

To Have the Skills or Not: A New Digital Divide?

The study finds that students’ performance in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) surveys improves with the length of time students have used a computer. Although the data do not prove a causal connection between familiarity with computers and performance, they show that better-performing students are more familiar with computers. Interestingly, however, a frequency of computer use at home makes more of a difference in performance on the PISA tests than a frequency of computer use at school. Internet chatting, searching the web for information, even playing online games builds confidence in using computers, but more skills are needed to take full advantage of a technology-rich world. Continue reading the OECD Observer article A new digital divide?

Educational Research and Innovation: Are the New Millennium Learners Making the Grade?: Technology Use and Educational Performance in PISA 2006. From the Executive Summary: What is the relationship between technology use and educational performance in science? The OECD PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) provides a source of evidence for the analysis of this relationship. This report presents the main findings and policy implications of this analysis. This work was carried out under the umbrella of CERI ’s New Millennium Learners project. The work presented here updates the findings of a previous report (OECD, 2006) and seeks to go deeper into the determinants of technology use, both in frequency and in purpose, and into the impact on educational performance.

This report presents results based on PISA 2006 and continues the work initiated at the OECD in 2005 which presented an initial picture of the role of ICT in education based on PISA 2003 data (OECD, 2006). It continues the investigation of how equitable the access is to computers across countries, how familiar students are with ICT, how often and where they use computers, for how long they have been using them, how confident they feel, for which tasks they use them and, finally, what the relation is between these characteristics and students’ performance.

See also the report Assessing the Effects of ICT in Education: Indicators, Criteria and Benchmarks for International Comparisons: Despite the fact that education systems have been heavily investing in technology since the early 1980s, international indicators on technology uptake and use in education are missing. This book aims to provide a basis for the design of frameworks, the identification of indicators and existing data sources, as well as gaps in areas needing further research.
The contributions stem from an international expert meeting in April 2009 organized by the Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning, in co-operation with OECD (CERI), on benchmarking technology use and effects in education. The contributions clearly demonstrate the need to develop a consensus around approaches, indicators, and methodologies.

The book is organized around four blocks: contexts of ICT impact assessment in education, state-of-the-art ICT impact assessment, conceptual frameworks and case studies.

Updated: July 25, 2018 — 7:12 am

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