Trends Shaping Education 2010 and the Australian data

I’ve just been browsing the OECD report, Trends Shaping Education 2010, which takes a look at the international evidence about education progress across the globe, and how patterns are changing. The reports are based on data from the OECD, the World Bank and the UN.

The report covers:

  • the dynamics of globalisation
  • evolving social challenges
  • the changing world of work
  • transformation of childhood
  • ICT: the next generation

The final chapter, on ICT, contains a bunch of interesting statistics with international comparisons. Some of the statistics for Australia reported in the research include:

  • In 2008, 75% of households in Australia had access to a computer at home, which had increased from just over 50% in 2000 – putting Australia ahead of France and Italy, but behind the Nordics, UK, Germany and Japan.
  • 94% of Australian 15-year old students reported frequent home computer use in 2006, compared to 73% reporting frequent computer use at school.
  • On school computer access, Australia was second highest in the work, and well above the global average of 55%
  • In 2006, there was 1 computer per 3 students, compared to an OECD average of one computer per 5 students. Australia was second in the world, just behind the UK, but ahead of every other country, including the US.

The report goes on to say:

  What is known about numbers of computers in schools and their use suggests that ICTs are not fundamentally transforming the environments or methods through which most young people learn. Research also shows that children learn ICT skills more through home use than school use, as well as spending more time using computers at home. There are continuing forms of the “digital divide” which are based not on access to technology but on the skills and capabilities to use it effectively.  

You can actually download the data tables that the report was based on – and use that for your own analysis. For example, there appears to be no visible link between exam results (from the 2009 PISA Results) and Frequent Computer Use at School and Frequent Computer Use at Home. I think that’s a statement about examinations and what we’re testing (but I won’t repeat it here – you can see what I think from my earlier blog post).