Education and Information Technologies

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 59–70 | Cite as

Effects of ICT: Do we know what we should know?

  • Margaret J. Cox
  • Gail Marshall


Many decades after the introduction of ICT into classrooms there are still unanswered questions about the impact of technology in the long and short term on students’ learning, and how it has affected simple and complex learning tasks. These are important for (a) forming government policies; (b) directing teacher education programmes: (c) advancing national curricula; (d); designing or reforming classroom implementation and (e) analysing costs and benefits. While a plethora of studies has been conducted on the effects of ICT in education, major policy and methodological problems have precluded an unambiguous answer to such questions as:—“Does the way in which ICT is implemented have a major/minor impact on students’ knowledge and understanding?” and “Does the impact affect the surface or deep structure of students’ thinking and acting?” To date we have had no large-scale longitudinal studies of ICT’s impact in education such as we have in the form of studies of earlier major curriculum development projects. Nor have we had many comprehensive studies of the complex interactions between various types of ICT implementation and the effects of other factors such as school-based interventions, socio-economic status and school expenditures which have been shown to have a greater impact on education compared with other previous innovations in education. Furthermore we do not know if previous research studies have used research methods that matched learning objectives to instruments/procedures. Many previous studies are vague as to the actual measures used but we can infer that standardized tests were a frequent measure. In other instances, ad hoc analyses, with criteria that may have varied from analyst to analyst and were not “blind” analyses were certainly used to measure “success.” All of these limitations and uncertainties and many more point to the need for a thorough, rigorous, and multifaceted approach to analysing the impact of ICT on students’ learning. This paper draws on previous research evidence to identify relevant research strategies to address the gaps in our knowledge about ICT and students’ learning explained above.


Research methods Government policy Assessment Evaluation and accreditation Integration of ICT into education Impact of ICT on students’ learning 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education and Professional Studies and The Dental Institute, King’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and ComputingUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Gail Marshall & AssociatesChesterfieldUSA

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