[LINK] Rudd's laptops send standards backwards

Tom Worthington Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Mon Jul 20 16:45:30 AEST 2009

At 03:41 PM 20/07/2009, Jan Whitaker wrote:
>At 02:46 PM 20/07/2009, David Boxall wrote:
> > effect on maths and reading scores of gaining a home computer. He 
> finds "statistically
> > > significant" evidence that it sends them backwards. ...
>... We all know what a distraction 'new and shiny' can be...

Yes, Jacob Vigdor seems to be saying is saying that giving students a 
computer without any further supervision is distracting them from 
study. I will discuss this briefly at the panel on Making "social 
inclusion" a focus when creating opportunities for participation in 
cooperative education programs ACEN Forum, University of Sydney, 20 August 2009
<http://www.tomw.net.au/technology/it/cooperative_education/>. In 
this I suggest the Bradley Review of Higher Education is about as 
useful as the government's former GOSIP policy, for the same reason: 
they both ignore the effect of the Internet.

One aspect of the federal government's computers for students program 
which worried me: the funding seems to be going on hardware and 
networking not courseware and training. A computer on its own is not 
going to help students learn, they need to have something educational 
to do with it. This will particularly be a problem if the teachers 
are also distracted having to learn how to work the computer, before 
they have enough skills to use it for education.

Even with mature, professional ICT skilled people, such as I teach in 
my Green ICT e-learning course 
I have to provide a carefully structured program, with timetables, 
deadlines and assessment, to keep the students on topic and directed 
to the learning task. It is very easy to become distracted and start 
heading down some other path. Of course some of that exploration and 
discovery is useful, at any level of learning, but the students need 
to also achieve the particular outcomes set for the learning.

the Digital Divide: Home Computer Technology and Student Achievement
by Charles T. Clotfelter, Helen F. Ladd and Jacob L. Vigdor - Duke 
University : 

Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd            ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617                      http://www.tomw.net.au/
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Australian National University  

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