Daily use of recreational computer games has no influence on the computer and literacy skills of Australian students, says Catherine Underwood.
The International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS) explores the extent to which students play computer games for out-of-school recreation, and their computer and information literacy skills compared to those who play infrequently, or not at all.
The study, administered in 2013, assessed the computer and information literacy, or CIL, of Year 8 students in 18 countries. CIL is defined as ‘the ability to use computers to investigate, create and communicate in order to participate effectively at home, at school, in the workplace and in society’.
The results showed that Australian students played computer games less often on average compared to their international counterparts.
ICILS indicates that just over one-quarter of Australian Year 8 students play computer games every day for recreation outside of school.
Across the board, Australian students achieved an average score of 542 points on the CIL scale, significantly higher than the international average of 500.
Australian students who played every day for recreation achieved a similar CIL assessment score (536 points) to their peers who never played computer games out-of-school (533 points).
In Australia, female students attained a higher CIL assessment score than males, irrespective of how often they played computer games for recreation.
While computer games appear to be an important building block for CIL, the ICILS findings suggest other digital media besides computer game play may influence students’ familiarity with and use of computers. ■