December 19, 2013

PISA: Students with iPads score worse

From a Danish newspaper via Google Translate:
Pisa: iPad pupils perform worse than their peers 
By Thomas Klose Jensen 
PISA survey from 2012 shows that students who have access to an iPad, both at home and at school, get lower grades than their peers who do not have access to one. 
Equally interesting is the fact that the students who have access to iPads in school, but do not use them, also score higher than the active iPad pupils.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

They came through to do one of these national/international tests when I was in the tenth grade. I must admit that I was a good obedient kid and reported to sit for the test. It's shameful, of course; if my kids were ordered to sit for a test with no bearing on their future, I'd take them skiing and write a excuse note. If they want kids to be their research assistants, they should be paying them a fair wage.

Anyway, like most teens I didn't question authority nearly enough. I showed up with a book and wrote the first section of the exam. Then while I waited for time to run out, the proctor came by to tell me that we were not allowed to have books open during the test. I asked to be excused to go to the bathroom, took my book with me, and spent the rest of the day reading in the sun on the grassy slope outside the exam room while the rubes wrote another six 45-minute test sections.

Point being, if I'd had an iPad, maybe I would have been even more motivated to raise a middle finger to the Man and spend the day playing Angry Birds or texting my friends instead of reading.

sunbeam said...

You don't get it for free.

There is no irony involved with my posting a message on this blog.

I think computer usage, at least internet usage, as most of us do it makes you "dumber."

The effect is described in the book, The Shallows.

Obviously the internet is incredibly useful; but you don't get it for free.

I have noticed the effect on myself. I don't think it is a normal part of aging.

Honestly though I live in the world of anecdote by necessity like most people. We don't have the time to research how to do double blind tests on ourselves to publish some kind of paper on the whole thing.

Instead it is more like "Hey I'm hot. That must be why I am sweating. Bet it is that sweater I have on, even though it is a warm day."

If someone wants to be a boor, I'm quite positive I can google up some articles on the subject.

And I'm quite positive most of the readers here have noticed similar effects.

Anonymous said...

And students that tossed their iPads into the Baltic scored highest of all.

ben tillman said...

LOL! That's awesome.

Anonymous said...

http://www.amren.com/news/2013/12/which-races-produce-more-bullies/

Bullying in the UK...

South Asians > Africans > Whites > Chinese

Anonymous said...

Another "digital divide"?

Anonymous said...

"The Gift of Connectivity: Latino Foundations Rally To Close the Digital Divide This Season and Beyond"

http://www.latinopost.com/articles/2286/20131219/the-gift-of-connectivity-latino-foundations-rally-to-close-the-digital-divide-this-season-and-beyond.htm

"It's well known that having a connection to the internet opens doors - among many are the doors to education, employment, vast libraries of free information about almost anything, business opportunities, computer knowhow for the 21st century economy, inexpensive communication with family and friends regardless of distance, and simply the empowerment of expression and connection to communities, both local and global.

But being connected to the internet can be relatively expensive, especially if you don't own the prerequisite equipment to join the web in the first place. That's why a partnership of organizations is giving computers and connecting low-income Latino families in California's Bay Area."

Anonymous said...

I think computer usage, at least internet usage, as most of us do it makes you "dumber."

As you said yourself, this is all a double-edged sword. You may be right about "most of us".

I would have loved to grow up in the modern digital world, rather than the 1970s forced on me. I am high IQ with some possible ADD and AS, and would have loved the Star Trek-ish flashing lights, screens and displays, computers, internet, and iPads. And learned more, too. I can see ordinary kids and ordinary smart kids doing better with bone-dry pencil and paper and Kaiser Bill type education - but not me.

Joel said...

I don't find this surprising at all. We used to let my almost-3-year-old play with an iPad, and it took us very little time to conclude that all the swipes and noises and flashing lights were rotting her little brain, at which point we put it away permanently.

Anonymous said...

Pure unadulerated bullshit.

Link?

Anonymous said...

So is LA still going to spend the billion or so on supplying iPads to all its students?

Marco said...

Hilarious how gullible you people are.

Anony Mouse said...

Sunbeam, I've noticed my attention span is far shorter than before the internet. It's harder for new to read complex nonfiction or do needlework in silence. I need it for work, but I've been seriously considering going otherwise offline at least two days a week.

Anonymous said...

Could this be the basis of a lawsuit? Adults crippled as children by iPads vs Apple.

Anonymous said...

Saw this in law school. Everyone started w/ laptops but a significant number switched to pen & paper.

Typing may be faster on a word-count basis, but you can't organize your thoughts well. Can't connect ideas by drawing arrows, making tables, or adding margin notes. Eventually one drifts into a mode of unthinking pseudo transcription as opposed to carefully considered summation/synthesis.

It's an ineffective crutch for many, dare I say most.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone old enough to remember the early 70s college fad of using a tape recorder to take notes? It worked reasonably well for humanities and social science courses, but not anything else.

Anonymous said...

Just to pile on: I too notice my attention span. I suspect its related to the internet, but I also suspect it is 1)I'm getting older, so my brain is less good, or 2) I'm getting older, so I have less patience for tedium.

When reading, my inner conversation is now 'get to the point, already'. Age related grumpiness or age related failure to process information or internet trained attention deficit disorder? I just don't know.

anon

durfur maximur said...

In other news, students who use a scooter to get around on campus have weaker legs than students who use their legs to get around on campus. Duh?

yerwrong said...

"I can see ordinary kids and ordinary smart kids doing better with bone-dry pencil and paper and Kaiser Bill type education - but not me."

You would have sucked antiirregardless of whatever tech you had back in the '70s.

yerwrong said...

"I've noticed my attention span is far shorter than before the internet. It's harder for [me] to read complex nonfiction or do needlework in silence."

I notice that my attention span is far shorter while reading the internets, but that's because most of the stuff on the internets is bilge and doesn't deserve my full, undivided attention.

There are exceptions, though. Steve Sailer's commentary is worth a close read, as are the political commentaries of bloggers like Heartiste (though his love-life advice is for dumb), et al. Also, I have no problem focusing closely on a nonfiction book, so long as the author truly has something to say and doesn't digress into status-whoring concern trolling re globalclimatewarmingchange and/or sodomite gayrriage and/or Reagan-bashing, etc.

carol said...

the early 70s college fad of using a tape recorder to take notes?

a friend kept asking, wouldn't be better to bring a cassette...[then you don't have to listen, and you'd have to spend an equal amount of time listening to it]. he completed a total of one course, with a gentleman's D.

But it seemed like such a good idea.

Anonymous said...

My dad taught philosophy at a major American university for three or four decades and observed a decline in essay writing(***) quality in concert with the rise of word processors. I think his general thesis was that they made writing too easy. Students didn't bother with a well thought-out outline, and wrote sloppily while thinking that they would come back and easily correct (which they didn't do).

(*** He thought that the form and quality of the essay was much more important than the particular philosophical content; ie. that it was ultimately a more useful tool for the the student in the long run to know how to think about and argue any particular point)

John Derbyshire said...

"Digital divide" has a new meaning for me, since . . .

A few months ago I was visiting a friend, a high-functioning super-smart Ivy League grad youngish mildly-Aspergerish computer geek who makes a nice living as an independent consultant cutting code for Wall Street firms. We pulled out laptops to look some stuff up. (He, Mac; me, PC.)

In a conversational lull I asked him whether he owned a tablet, an iPad or such.

His response startled me, given his youth and background. "iPads are for African Americans." Only he didn't exactly say "African Americans."

Gene Berman said...

Anonymous:

"ordinary kids and ordinary smart kids--but not me."

See--it's made you dumber already!

Gene Berman said...

Steve:

ham gangene rigtig er ikke?

Sorry, Steve--my Denmarkian is a little rusty--too long unused, I guess.

I went to the article but couldn't make out whether it was based on their experience or something observed elsewhere (or more widely).

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Last month you mentioned the original spark for "Common Core" E.D. Hirsch, who markets his implementation as "Core Knowledge". I have been a cautious admirer of Hirsch since the publication of "Cultural Literacy". Of course under Obama, Common Core has been completed subverted by the Frankfurters.

Truth is an IPAD would be manna from heaven to the typical high IQ Ashkenazim or even us mere Goyim. No more having ones college professor parents straining to make room for the 24 volume Encyclopedia Britannica, the Oxford dictionary and your little sister as the family takes months long summer trips across country by car to visit relatives, the National Parks and other tourist destinations along the way.

And don't tell me Steve that you would not have put a IPAD to good use as a kid.

When I was child trying to read books several years above my grade level on hundred mile trips with my 7 brothers and sisters packed into a station wagon to visit the grandparents. What I would have done to have had an IPAD so I would not have to ask Mom and Dad what a particular word meant. Because every time I did, my older brother would punch me.

Oh well the traumas of childhood.

Paul Mendez said...

I think computer usage, at least internet usage, as most of us do it makes you "dumber."

I agree. As a teen, I played hours and hours of Avalon Hill-style wargames. Having to not only read and learn legalistic rules that could stretch into the dozens of pages, I had to understand their implications and contrive ways to exploit them. I also learned to calculate odds and consider best-case and worst-case outcomes. These skills, learned while my brain was still forming, have stuck with me all my life.

Today's teens playing wargames mostly learn how to fiddle their thumbs really fast.


Typing may be faster on a word-count basis, but you can't organize your thoughts well. Can't connect ideas by drawing arrows, making tables, or adding margin notes. Eventually one drifts into a mode of unthinking pseudo transcription as opposed to carefully considered summation/synthesis.

I agree. Despite being a very fast typist, I refuse to take notes on a laptop for this very reason.

Anonymous said...



Bullying in the UK...

South Asians > Africans > Whites > Chinese


South Asians????? You mean Pakistanis don't you?

Fighting political correctness, oops I mean Frankfurt School Marxism every chance I can.....

Socrates said...

I found the red pill on the internet, starting with La Griffe du Lion.

I thank God for the Internet and spend hours a day (on average) learning and shaking the cultural programming.

I do not watch TV. At all. The dead, burnt body shows and perverted sex shows and reality exploitation shows now make me uncomfortable if not nauseous.

I am recovering my humanity and intellect using the internet.

Big Bill said...

How long until California declares the $1B iPad experiment a failure, Steve?

Dave Pinsen said...

Anyone remember this story a couple of years back about the Silicon Valley high school that banned computers in classrooms?

Jason Young said...

Just like it's easier to commit to your wife when you can't easily pick up a waitress, so it's easier to commit to math homework or careful reading when you can't just switch to watching Tosh.o or skimming a BuzzFeed list. There's a reason why the best students are still found in the library.. and married men who hang out in bars always end up divorced.

The depth and stability of your attention depends on the attractiveness of the alternatives and the costs of switching. Ipads increase choice and decrease switching costs, so it's not exactly a surprise that those who own them have a harder time committing their attention long enough to comprehend complicated concepts and arguments.

Distractibility is easy to combat once you notice its causes, but noticing ain't easy.

Anonymous said...

You're funny, Jason.
I guess "life" is just one big distraction, by your definition.
I guess we should all just be warehoused in little box cubicles. (Plato's Cave? The Matrix?) That'll keep us "committed".

Anonymous said...

Who actually uses ipads, for derb and his racist friend:
http://betanews.com/2012/01/18/ipad-invades-the-enterprise/

Anonymous said...

I speak Swedish, and since it is closely related to Danish, it is easy for me to read the source article. There is a related graphics info which shows that access to just about all technical stuff is positively correlated to good PISA scores, except for Ipads/tablets.

Peter the Shark said...

"No more having ones college professor parents straining to make room for the 24 volume Encyclopedia Britannica, the Oxford dictionary and your little sister as the family takes months long summer trips across country by car to visit relatives"

In retrospect that was a virtue. Observing my own children - kids these days have access to too much information and far too easily. Correspondingly information is worth much less to them. It seems to me harder today for children to develop deep passions about specific subjects because there is always some other direction in easy reach.

dsgntd_plyr said...

Steve, I'm surprised you haven't mentioned the LAUSD's $600+m iPad boondoggle. Somehow the LAUSD managed to buy iPads for more than what Amazon, or Best Buy charge.