Thursday, November 05, 2015

Recommendations for strategic advice: Finland, how to claim back the top spot in PISA?

I'm seriously inspired by the new PISA report called  Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection to help Finland! Let's create better strategies and training programmes to claim back our top spot in the PISA study!

The data in this report dates back to 2012. Next round of PISA will be in 2018 (just missed the opportunity for 2015!), so we have enough time to rise.

In this post I focus on increasing the use of ICT outside of school for schoolwork in Finland. The damning evidence is the following (p. 60):
Finland and Japan are the two countries where students make the least use of computers outside of school for schoolwork. 

Namely, the new programme that I will detail below with policy recommendations and actions for teacher PD is inspired by the above quote and Figure 2.8 below. Take a careful look at the variables used and try to identify the key to the success!

It's the email, stupid! Now that the culprit has been identified, I offer Finns a few easy steps to re-claim their success!

The 1st key step to the top of PISA charts: enhanced use of e-mail
Progress could be made by investing more effort, time and resources in the use of email in schools. For example, new teacher training programmes could focus on highly competent use of e-mails in two areas:
  1. how to teach student to submit homework or other school work to teachers by email, and 
  2. how to teach students to use email to communicate with other students about school work. 
It's the school website, stupid!

The 2nd key step to the top of PISA charts: design of school websites
Courses for those designing school's website should include intense design and implementation of features to allow uploading and downloading material on school's website. Additional added value will come from features allowing browsing the material on school's website.

The recommendations to encourage such features on school's website should focus on diverting attention away from all cloud computing solutions (forget about or even digital learning environments (publishers?) or government sponsored educational portals, as they will not be featured in PISA study any time soon (data not available as the questionnaires for the PISA 2015 have not been released for public at the time submitting this article….).

Moreover, the area on the school website to feature announcements should also be designed and implemented with the utmost care! It is good to advice people responsible for such implementations to avoid any other "apps" or digital communication means for this (e.g. Vilma, Watsapp..).

It's the homework done on computers, stupid!

The 3rd key step to the top of PISA charts: homework done solely on computes Guidelines could be implemented to discourage teachers from accepting any homework done by students using any other digital devices than computers. Forget about smart phones, let's bring back the desktops for homework.

ps. this advice is given totally pro bono and has no connection to my everyday work!
ps 2. joke-joke-joke!!