28 Jul 2014

Benefit of tablets in schools challenged

12:25 pm on 28 July 2014

Concerns are being raised about the benefits of new technology in the classroom, with a suggestion that the mass roll-out of tablet devices does nothing to enhance traditional student performance.

A new entrant uses a class iPad for learning at Omata Primary School.

A new entrant uses a class iPad for learning at Omata Primary School. Photo: PHOTO NZ

A computer scientist and researcher at the School of Information at the University of California, Kentaro Toyama, has warned there are no digital shortcuts to good education.

More than 25 percent of New Zealand schools are endorsing that students should bring their own digital device.

But Mr Toyama said various studies had shown that digital technology does not necessarily improve students' performance.

"Those students did not do any better over the period in which the study was conducted, which was a year or two, I believe," he said.

"On anything that was related to academic, related to disciplinary measures, on attendance in school, anything that you think would be positive for education, they found that there was no additional benefit."

In some cases students were reluctant to participate in the timetable where tablet devices weren't part of the curriculum.