The World Economic Forum published in April 2012 its study on the global state of Information Technologies, called the Global Information Technology Report 2012. Within its multitude of pages, a subject has caught my attention: a reflection on the impact of technologies in education.
There are no clear parameters for the efficiency of information technologies in schools, as obsolete parameters based on the number of computers per student continue to be used. This parameter made sense when students did not have access to ICT on a personal or family level. The focus was on access to the technology itself. But how is the situation today? Spain in 2009 had approximately 8 computers for every 100 students in schools. On those same dates, the presence of computers in homes was around 65%. That without counting smartphones or mobility products. The numbers speak for themselves.
The focus must clearly shift from the existence of ICT in schools to the use made of them. And there ICTs collide not only with the difficulty of how to measure their use but with the idiosyncrasy of measuring the quality of teaching. ICT becomes one more pedagogical tool and not (only) a learning subject (let’s face it, it is very likely that some students today know more about computing than some of the teachers). In this context, talking about the “Computer Room” is as obsolete for me as if we were talking about the “Writing Room”.
As part of the educational ecosystem, a cold question would be whether investing in ICTs at school is more or less profitable than other possible investments (for example investing in improving teacher training). And obviously there is no answer to the question, but the mere fact that the question exists should make us reflect.
Information technologies can help change the way in which education is delivered, but as in many other branches of our lives, they will be limited to supporting or accelerating changes that must take place independently of the technology itself. These changes require a change of mentality in the way of facing education, much less focused on knowledge in this ” Hyperconnected World ” (and this is the subtitle of the WEF report ), and much more relevant in experimentation and reasoning. And this is not achieved simply by “buying computers”.