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Effects of ICT in Education

This systematic mapping of effects of ICT on learning outcomes adresses the following questions: Does ICT provide a positive influence on academic performance and if it does are there subjects or disciplines that are more strongly influenced or less strongly influenced than others? Does ICT improve the effectiveness of the learning process and if it does what aspects of ICT make the strongest improvements on learning?

Many of the 30 included studies are systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Therefore, the total number of studies included in this mapping exceeds 1900, spanning several decades. Studies were assessed on quality and relevance and categorized under three broad themes: educational technology, design features and pedagogical aspects of teaching and learning with ICT.

Since the first use of computers in classrooms in the 1960’s there has been significant interest from educational stakeholders in answering questions about how Information and Communications Technology (ICT) impacts educational outcomes. The research field is in constant flux, with several agendas and ideologies and the aim of this report is to map the field.

The systematic mapping shows that so far, the above questions about the effects of ICT cannot be answered as clearly and consistently as policy makers and practitioners might hope. While few studies document effects of ICT on students’ learning outcome, an analysis across studies shows a consistent, but small positive impact from the use of ICT in classroom settings. Although some research has reported large Effect Sizes (ES) (>> +2,0) from novel technology implementations, the more rigorous meta-analyses of large scale randomized control studies, consistently reports ES’s in the range of +0,1 to +0,3.

The most important finding being that the highest ES’s from such comprehensive and rigorous analyses are associated with studies where ICT has been implemented as a planned part of a comprehensive teaching environment with clear goals, teaching plans, teaching materials, supporting technical resources, teacher training and development. In such a context the improvements associated with ICT in education are to be viewed as part of a broader improvement in the educational environment and not just as a single technology.