Monday, January 06, 2003

The Smith Family has conclded that having access to a computer and the internet "is a key educational resource that influences educational outcomes". ("Home computers key to school success" SMH Tues 31 Dec).

The fact that personal possession of some learning resource is an advantage is not new, however, and similar studies conducted a decade ago showed a high correlation between educational attainment and ownership of an encyclopaedia (and I believe home delivery of newspapers).

The efficient response to the fact that access to resources is educationally advantageous is not to try to get every household to own the resource - but to make sure that the resources are available in common usage spaces for access by all students.

These common usage spaces go by the name of libraries - and house both computers with internet access and encyclopaedias. What remains bemusing is the limited hours of operation of school and Council libraries, and why we try to maintain two distinct geographically dispersed networks of them.