Kate's Blog
News and views about Roamer and educational robotics

Research and the Media

It must be true it’s in the papers?

This week we were treated to headlines proclaiming that ICT had no affect on pupil’s performance according to OECD study “Computers and Learning”. Actually, if you read the report it says no such thing. It does say “In the end technology can amplify great teaching, but great technology cannot replace poor teaching”. It’s telling us something we all know – the key to great teaching is the teacher! This happens so often when the media is covering a piece of educational research – they select a minute part of the report, according to their political agenda and completely ignore the rest.

I remember when research on the effectiveness of whiteboards came out. The newspapers trumpeted that they didn’t improve standards – ie schools were wasting a lot of money and teachers should just get on with teaching and stop worrying about all this new fangled nonsense. What the report actually said was that there was no evidence of a link to increased standards WHICH IS WHAT WE WOULD EXPECT AT THIS STAGE. It was too early to tell!

And then of course, how the press love to beat teacher’s around the head with the PISA report. Some countries have even decided educational policy on it. Yet there are so many flaws with it I wouldn’t even clean my toilet with it (see my previous blog on PISA). In most countries students are chosen at random. Shanghai, the top ranking “country” (China as a country doesn’t do it) selects its most able students! Next in line we find South Korea – oh how well their students perform and yet they are the most unhappy at school in research measuring student happiness.

So I would urge teachers to never read about educational research in the papers – all they are doing is promoting their own political bias, not providing a true and accurate report. Now how do we stop parents reading them too?

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