UK education experts have dismissed a study which claims that the money spent on computers for schools could be put to better use.
Both the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta), the government body responsible for promoting IT in education, said that the study failed to take into account teaching methods and curricula in different countries.
Professor Joshua Angrist, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Professor Victor Lavy, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, claimed that the use of computers does not improve pupils' achievements and could even be harmful.
The study found that the maths scores of pupils in primary schools that had received new computers actually fell, and that there was no appreciable improvement with older children.
Looking at the impact of computer-aided teaching in Israel, the study concluded that the significant and ongoing expenditure on education technology does not appear to be justified by pupil performance results.
However, Neil McLean, Becta's director of learning, told vnunet.com that studies carried out in the UK gave a different picture.
"There is an impressive array of evidence that the effective use of computers by skilled teachers is helping to raise standards in UK schools," he said.
"Data drawn from Ofsted inspections of 2,110 primary schools, and test results in English, Maths and Science in those schools, supported the use of computers.
"For example, schools with good computer resources achieved, on average, better results in the 1999 tests in English, Maths and Science for 11 year-olds than those with unsatisfactory resources."
A spokeswoman for the NUT added that the study did not take into account different approaches taken to teaching in the UK and the needs of the National Curriculum.
"It is inappropriate to try and translate the findings of a study [in Israel] to the UK," she said.
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