An infographic making rounds across the web is making dramatic claims that China is doing a better job of adopting technology in classrooms than the United States — but there’s one little problem: the data is virtually invalid.
There is clear sample bias in the Dell survey and infographic which sampled “ respondents in China [that] came from predominantly major cities and are mostly urban respondents,” C. Custer of techinasia.com points out.
This suggests a very select group that wouldn’t account for rural areas where many of the poorer population lives. Also, the economic disparity in China is immense — so much so that a small portion of the population is vastly rich while the large majority of citizens have very modest incomes. Surely sampling a mere 525 people in the most advanced cities of a country with more than a billion people is not a solid survey. In fact, it’s ludicrous to believe it is. It would be like sampling 140 people in New York and San Francisco for a technology adoption study representing the entire United States.
Furthermore, more and more classrooms in the United States are adopting technology like iPads, while in China the latest iPads are difficult to obtain, let alone integrate into schools.
Technology in education is an important subject that deserves legitimate studies and analysis to generate actionable reports that we can use to advance learning for kids. Halfhearted marketing ploys like this only serve to misinform and confuse the global public. We understand that Dell needs to market itself, but we’d like to see the company retract this infographic, as it’s misleading at best, and misguiding the public into wrong decisions at worst. They probably went with a third-party marketing firm to get this made, but really, how much does it cost to sample 525 people in China? I’m sure a big company like Dell could afford to get a better sample size.
Here’s the infographic: