Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Growing evidence of ICT's impact

I've just been reading Becta's interim report on the evidence on the impact of ICT on learning and was struck by a number of things;

*Impact2 (2003) really did damn ICT with faint praise didn't it?! However...

*The findings of the SWEEP study into Interactive Whiteboards in the Primary sector were interesting - it's very rare for girls (and high-achieving ones at that) to benefit from ICT significantly more than boys.

*Valentine et al's (2005) work looking at the impact of home access to computers and the internet should be heartening reading for the Right Honourable Jim Knight and his Home Access programme - the claims of a 10 point impact on GCSE results are significant. I assume this means spread across 7-12 actual GCSEs, so not perhaps transforming life chances from chip shop to Oxbridge, but positive nonetheless.

*The link between eMature schools and schools which achieve well in measured outcomes is strong - Butt and Cebulla's (2006) study makes a convincing case for this, as does Ofsted's evidence (not cited in this report) that schools with the ICT Mark are 4 times more likely to be graded 'Outstanding'.

*And finally, the elephant in the room: that the process of learning is massively complex - it may not be possible to extract a single strand and demonstrate a consistent effect through current social research methods. If we've learned anything about ICT's impact in education, it's that it is only a part of the fiendishly tricky jigsaw which goes to make up a successful school.