With the proliferation of educational technologies in the classroom, it is possible to think that they are frequently used for teaching and learning. This would not be the case, however, according to a recent major study.
AdvancEd is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to helping preschool, primary and secondary schools improve the quality of the training they provide. She recently carried out a large study carried out in schools in 12 countries. Spanning a three-year period, the study aimed to measure the extent to which educational technologies were used when the time came to perform certain specific learning tasks:
- research and compile information
- solve problems and create content
- communicate and collaborate
Direct observations, conducted by trained individuals, were made in classrooms from " The Tool for Observing the Effectiveness of Learning Environments "(Effective Learning Environments Observation Tool). Observers were called upon to determine whether the technology used to perform these tasks was:
- very present
- rather present
The conclusions of the study stipulate that educational technologies, although really present in nursery, primary and secondary classes, are in fact little used in the learning activities related to these different tasks. The title of the report, " The Paradox of Technology in the Classroom: Despite Access and Proliferation, Students Are Not Using Technology to Learn "(The Paradox of Classroom Technology: Despite Proliferation and Access, Students Not Using Technology for Learning), is eloquent in this regard.
In terms of research and compilation of information, technologies would be very present in only 20 % of tasks, while they would be absent about 50 % of the time. The results are even lower for problem solving and content creation and communication and collaboration, or, two out of three times, no technology is required.
To the author of the report, the conclusions are an observation to the effect that teachers need support, training and technological and pedagogical support to get the most out of educational technologies. Closer to home, findings from a major study on the use of the interactive digital whiteboard by elementary and secondary school teachers in Quebec were going in the same direction.