REALIZING THE PROMISE:

Leading up to the 75th anniversary of the UN General Assembly, this “Realizing the promise: How can education technology improve learning for all?” publication kicks off the Center for Universal Education’s first playbook in a series to help improve education around the world.

It is intended as an evidence-based tool for ministries of education, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, to adopt and more successfully invest in education technology.

While there is no single education initiative that will achieve the same results everywhere—as school systems differ in learners and educators, as well as in the availability and quality of materials and technologies—an important first step is understanding how technology is used given specific local contexts and needs.

The surveys in this playbook are designed to be adapted to collect this information from educators, learners, and school leaders and guide decisionmakers in expanding the use of technology.  

Introduction

While technology has disrupted most sectors of the economy and changed how we communicate, access information, work, and even play, its impact on schools, teaching, and learning has been much more limited. We believe that this limited impact is primarily due to technology being been used to replace analog tools, without much consideration given to playing to technology’s comparative advantages. These comparative advantages, relative to traditional “chalk-and-talk” classroom instruction, include helping to scale up standardized instruction, facilitate differentiated instruction, expand opportunities for practice, and increase student engagement. When schools use technology to enhance the work of educators and to improve the quality and quantity of educational content, learners will thrive.

Further, COVID-19 has laid bare that, in today’s environment where pandemics and the effects of climate change are likely to occur, schools cannot always provide in-person education—making the case for investing in education technology.

Here we argue for a simple yet surprisingly rare approach to education technology that seeks to:

  • Understand the needs, infrastructure, and capacity of a school system—the diagnosis;
  • Survey the best available evidence on interventions that match those conditions—the evidence; and
  • Closely monitor the results of innovations before they are scaled up—the prognosis.

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The framework.

Our approach builds on a simple yet intuitive theoretical framework created two decades ago by two of the most prominent education researchers in the United States, David K. Cohen and Deborah Loewenberg Ball. They argue that what matters most to improve learning is the interactions among educators and learners around educational materials. We believe that the failed school-improvement efforts in the U.S. that motivated Cohen and Ball’s framework resemble the ed-tech reforms in much of the developing world to date in the lack of clarity improving the interactions between educators, learners, and the educational material. We build on their framework by adding parents as key agents that mediate the relationships between learners and educators and the material (Figure 1).

Figure 1: The instructional core

Adapted from Cohen and Ball (1999)

As the figure above suggests, ed-tech interventions can affect the instructional core in a myriad of ways. Yet, just because technology can do something, it does not mean it should. School systems in developing countries differ along many dimensions and each system is likely to have different needs for ed-tech interventions, as well as different infrastructure and capacity to enact such interventions.

The diagnosis:

How can school systems assess their needs and preparedness.

A useful first step for any school system to determine whether it should invest in education technology is to diagnose its:

  • Specific needs to improve student learning (e.g., raising the average level of achievement, remediating gaps among low performers, and challenging high performers to develop higher-order skills);
  • Infrastructure to adopt technology-enabled solutions (e.g., electricity connection, availability of space and outlets, stock of computers, and Internet connectivity at school and at learners’ homes); and
  • Capacity to integrate technology in the instructional process (e.g., learners’ and educators’ level of familiarity and comfort with hardware and software, their beliefs about the level of usefulness of technology for learning purposes, and their current uses of such technology).

Before engaging in any new data collection exercise, school systems should take full advantage of existing administrative data that could shed light on these three main questions. This could be in the form of internal evaluations but also international learner assessments, such as the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and/or the Progress in International Literacy Study (PIRLS), and the Teaching and Learning International Study (TALIS). But if school systems lack information on their preparedness for ed-tech reforms or if they seek to complement existing data with a richer set of indicators, we developed a set of surveys for learners, educators, and school leaders. Download the full report to see how we map out the main aspects covered by these surveys, in hopes of highlighting how they could be used to inform decisions around the adoption of ed-tech interventions.

The evidence:

How can school systems identify promising ed-tech interventions.

There is no single “ed-tech” initiative that will achieve the same results everywhere, simply because school systems differ in learners and educators, as well as in the availability and quality of materials and technologies. Instead, to realize the potential of education technology to accelerate student learning, decisionmakers should focus on four potential uses of technology that play to its comparative advantages and complement the work of educators to accelerate student learning (Figure 2). These comparative advantages include:

  • Scaling up quality instruction, such as through prerecorded quality lessons.
  • Facilitating differentiated instruction, through, for example, computer-adaptive learning and live one-on-one tutoring.
  • Expanding opportunities to practice.
  • Increasing learner engagement through videos and games.

Figure 2: Comparative advantages of technology

Here we review the evidence on ed-tech interventions from 37 studies in 20 countries*, organizing them by comparative advantage. It’s important to note that ours is not the only way to classify these interventions (e.g., video tutorials could be considered as a strategy to scale up instruction or increase learner engagement), but we believe it may be useful to highlight the needs that they could address and why technology is well positioned to do so.

When discussing specific studies, we report the magnitude of the effects of interventions using standard deviations (SDs). SDs are a widely used metric in research to express the effect of a program or policy with respect to a business-as-usual condition (e.g., test scores). There are several ways to make sense of them. One is to categorize the magnitude of the effects based on the results of impact evaluations. In developing countries, effects below 0.1 SDs are considered to be small, effects between 0.1 and 0.2 SDs are medium, and those above 0.2 SDs are large (for reviews that estimate the average effect of groups of interventions, called “meta analyses,” see e.g., Conn, 2017; Kremer, Brannen, & Glennerster, 2013; McEwan, 2014; Snilstveit et al., 2015; Evans & Yuan, 2020.)

*In surveying the evidence, we began by compiling studies from prior general and ed-tech specific evidence reviews that some of us have written and from ed-tech reviews conducted by others. Then, we tracked the studies cited by the ones we had previously read and reviewed those, as well. In identifying studies for inclusion, we focused on experimental and quasi-experimental evaluations of education technology interventions from pre-school to secondary school in low- and middle-income countries that were released between 2000 and 2020. We only included interventions that sought to improve student learning directly (i.e., students’ interaction with the material), as opposed to interventions that have impacted achievement indirectly, by reducing teacher absence or increasing parental engagement. This process yielded 37 studies in 20 countries (see the full list of studies in Appendix B).

Scaling up standardized instruction

One of the ways in which technology may improve the quality of education is through its capacity to deliver standardized quality content at scale. This feature of technology may be particularly useful in three types of settings: (a) those in “hard-to-staff” schools (i.e., schools that struggle to recruit educators with the requisite training and experience—typically, in rural and/or remote areas) (see, e.g., Urquiola & Vegas, 2005); (b) those in which many educators are frequently absent from school (e.g., Chaudhury, Hammer, Kremer, Muralidharan, & Rogers, 2006; Muralidharan, Das, Holla, & Mohpal, 2017); and/or (c) those in which educators have low levels of pedagogical and subject matter expertise (e.g., Bietenbeck, Piopiunik, & Wiederhold, 2018; Bold et al., 2017; Metzler & Woessmann, 2012; Santibañez, 2006) and do not have opportunities to observe and receive feedback (e.g., Bruns, Costa, & Cunha, 2018; Cilliers, Fleisch, Prinsloo, & Taylor, 2018). Technology could address this problem by: (a) disseminating lessons delivered by qualified educators to a large number of learners (e.g., through prerecorded or live lessons); (b) enabling distance education (e.g., for learners in remote areas and/or during periods of school closures); and (c) distributing hardware preloaded with educational materials.

Prerecorded lessons

Technology seems to be well placed to amplify the impact of effective educators by disseminating their lessons. Evidence on the impact of prerecorded lessons is encouraging, but not conclusive. Some initiatives that have used short instructional videos to complement regular instruction, in conjunction with other learning materials, have raised student learning on independent assessments. For example, Beg et al. (2020) evaluated an initiative in Punjab, Pakistan in which grade 8 classrooms received an intervention that included short videos to substitute live instruction, quizzes for learners to practice the material from every lesson, tablets for educators to learn the material and follow the lesson, and LED screens to project the videos onto a classroom screen. After six months, the intervention improved the performance of learners on independent tests of math and science by 0.19 and 0.24 SDs, respectively but had no discernible effect on the math and science section of Punjab’s high-stakes exams.

One study suggests that approaches that are far less technologically sophisticated can also improve learning outcomes—especially, if the business-as-usual instruction is of low quality. For example, Naslund-Hadley, Parker, and Hernandez-Agramonte (2014) evaluated a preschool math program in Cordillera, Paraguay that used audio segments and written materials four days per week for an hour per day during the school day. After five months, the intervention improved math scores by 0.16 SDs, narrowing gaps between low- and high-achieving learners, and between those with and without educators with formal training in early childhood education.

Yet, the integration of prerecorded material into regular instruction has not always been successful. For example, de Barros (2020) evaluated an intervention that combined instructional videos for math and science with infrastructure upgrades (e.g., two “smart” classrooms, two TVs, and two tablets), printed workbooks for students, and in-service training for educators of learners in grades 9 and 10 in Haryana, India (all materials were mapped onto the official curriculum). After 11 months, the intervention negatively impacted math achievement (by 0.08 SDs) and had no effect on science (with respect to business as usual classes). It reduced the share of lesson time that educators devoted to instruction and negatively impacted an index of instructional quality. Likewise, Seo (2017) evaluated several combinations of infrastructure (solar lights and TVs) and prerecorded videos (in English and/or bilingual) for grade 11 students in northern Tanzania and found that none of the variants improved student learning, even when the videos were used. The study reports effects from the infrastructure component across variants, but as others have noted (Muralidharan, Romero, & Wüthrich, 2019), this approach to estimating impact is problematic.

A very similar intervention delivered after school hours, however, had sizeable effects on learners’ basic skills. Chiplunkar, Dhar, and Nagesh (2020) evaluated an initiative in Chennai (the capital city of the state of Tamil Nadu, India) delivered by the same organization as above that combined short videos that explained key concepts in math and science with worksheets, facilitator-led instruction, small groups for peer-to-peer learning, and occasional career counseling and guidance for grade 9 students. These lessons took place after school for one hour, five times a week. After 10 months, it had large effects on learners’ achievement as measured by tests of basic skills in math and reading, but no effect on a standardized high-stakes test in grade 10 or socio-emotional skills (e.g., teamwork, decisionmaking, and communication).

Drawing general lessons from this body of research is challenging for at least two reasons. First, all of the studies above have evaluated the impact of prerecorded lessons combined with several other components (e.g., hardware, print materials, or other activities). Therefore, it is possible that the effects found are due to these additional components, rather than to the recordings themselves, or to the interaction between the two (see Muralidharan, 2017 for a discussion of the challenges of interpreting “bundled” interventions). Second, while these studies evaluate some type of prerecorded lessons, none examines the content of such lessons. Thus, it seems entirely plausible that the direction and magnitude of the effects depends largely on the quality of the recordings (e.g., the expertise of the educator recording it, the amount of preparation that went into planning the recording, and its alignment with best teaching practices).

These studies also raise three important questions worth exploring in future research. One of them is why none of the interventions discussed above had effects on high-stakes exams, even if their materials are typically mapped onto the official curriculum. It is possible that the official curricula are simply too challenging for learners in these settings, who are several grade levels behind expectations and who often need to reinforce basic skills (see Pritchett & Beatty, 2015). Another question is whether these interventions have long-term effects on teaching practices. It seems plausible that, if these interventions are deployed in contexts with low teaching quality, educators may learn something from watching the videos or listening to the recordings with learners. Yet another question is whether these interventions make it easier for schools to deliver instruction to learners whose native language is other than the official medium of instruction.

Distance education

Technology can also allow learners living in remote areas to access education. The evidence on these initiatives is encouraging. For example, Johnston and Ksoll (2017) evaluated a program that broadcasted live instruction via satellite to rural primary school students in the Volta and Greater Accra regions of Ghana. For this purpose, the program also equipped classrooms with the technology needed to connect to a studio in Accra, including solar panels, a satellite modem, a projector, a webcam, microphones, and a computer with interactive software. After two years, the intervention improved the numeracy scores of students in grades 2 through 4, and some foundational literacy tasks, but it had no effect on attendance or classroom time devoted to instruction, as captured by school visits. The authors interpreted these results as suggesting that the gains in achievement may be due to improving the quality of instruction that children received (as opposed to increased instructional time). Naik, Chitre, Bhalla, and Rajan (2019) evaluated a similar program in the Indian state of Karnataka and also found positive effects on learning outcomes, but it is not clear whether those effects are due to the program or due to differences in the groups of students they compared to estimate the impact of the initiative.

In one context (Mexico), this type of distance education had positive long-term effects. Navarro-Sola (2019) took advantage of the staggered rollout of the telesecundarias (i.e., middle schools with lessons broadcasted through satellite TV) in 1968 to estimate its impact. The policy had short-term effects on students’ enrollment in school: For every telesecundaria per 50 children, 10 students enrolled in middle school and two pursued further education. It also had a long-term influence on the educational and employment trajectory of its graduates. Each additional year of education induced by the policy increased average income by nearly 18 percent. This effect was attributable to more graduates entering the labor force and shifting from agriculture and the informal sector. Similarly, Fabregas (2019) leveraged a later expansion of this policy in 1993 and found that each additional telesecundaria per 1,000 adolescents led to an average increase of 0.2 years of education, and a decline in fertility for women, but no conclusive evidence of long-term effects on labor market outcomes.

It is crucial to interpret these results keeping in mind the settings where the interventions were implemented. As we mention above, part of the reason why they have proven effective is that the “counterfactual” conditions for learning (i.e., what would have happened to learners in the absence of such programs) was either to not have access to schooling or to be exposed to low-quality instruction. School systems interested in taking up similar interventions should assess the extent to which their learners (or parts of their learner population) find themselves in similar conditions to the subjects of the studies above. This illustrates the importance of assessing the needs of a system before reviewing the evidence.

Preloaded hardware

Technology also seems well positioned to disseminate educational materials. Specifically, hardware (e.g., desktop computers, laptops, or tablets) could also help deliver educational software (e.g., word processing, reference texts, and/or games). In theory, these materials could not only undergo a quality assurance review (e.g., by curriculum specialists and educators), but also draw on the interactions with learners for adjustments (e.g., identifying areas needing reinforcement) and enable interactions between learners and educators.

In practice, however, most initiatives that have provided learners with free computers, laptops, and netbooks do not leverage any of the opportunities mentioned above. Instead, they install a standard set of educational materials and hope that learners find them helpful enough to take them up on their own. Students rarely do so, and instead use the laptops for recreational purposes—often, to the detriment of their learning (see, e.g., Malamud & Pop-Eleches, 2011). In fact, free netbook initiatives have not only consistently failed to improve academic achievement in math or language (e.g., Cristia et al., 2017), but they have had no impact on learners’ general computer skills (e.g., Beuermann et al., 2015). Some of these initiatives have had small impacts on cognitive skills, but the mechanisms through which those effects occurred remains unclear.

To our knowledge, the only successful deployment of a free laptop initiative was one in which a team of researchers equipped the computers with remedial software. Mo et al. (2013) evaluated a version of the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) program for grade 3 students in migrant schools in Beijing, China in which the laptops were loaded with a remedial software mapped onto the national curriculum for math (similar to the software products that we discuss under “practice exercises” below). After nine months, the program improved math achievement by 0.17 SDs and computer skills by 0.33 SDs. If a school system decides to invest in free laptops, this study suggests that the quality of the software on the laptops is crucial.

To date, however, the evidence suggests that children do not learn more from interacting with laptops than they do from textbooks. For example, Bando, Gallego, Gertler, and Romero (2016) compared the effect of free laptop and textbook provision in 271 elementary schools in disadvantaged areas of Honduras. After seven months, students in grades 3 and 6 who had received the laptops performed on par with those who had received the textbooks in math and language. Further, even if textbooks essentially become obsolete at the end of each school year, whereas laptops can be reloaded with new materials for each year, the costs of laptop provision (not just the hardware, but also the technical assistance, Internet, and training associated with it) are not yet low enough to make them a more cost-effective way of delivering content to learners.

Evidence on the provision of tablets equipped with software is encouraging but limited. For example, de Hoop et al. (2020) evaluated a composite intervention for first grade students in Zambia’s Eastern Province that combined infrastructure (electricity via solar power), hardware (projectors and tablets), and educational materials (lesson plans for educators and interactive lessons for learners, both loaded onto the tablets and mapped onto the official Zambian curriculum). After 14 months, the intervention had improved student early-grade reading by 0.4 SDs, oral vocabulary scores by 0.25 SDs, and early-grade math by 0.22 SDs. It also improved students’ achievement by 0.16 on a locally developed assessment. The multifaceted nature of the program, however, makes it challenging to identify the components that are driving the positive effects. Pitchford (2015) evaluated an intervention that provided tablets equipped with educational “apps,” to be used for 30 minutes per day for two months to develop early math skills among students in grades 1 through 3 in Lilongwe, Malawi. The evaluation found positive impacts in math achievement, but the main study limitation is that it was conducted in a single school.

Facilitating differentiated instruction

Another way in which technology may improve educational outcomes is by facilitating the delivery of differentiated or individualized instruction. Most developing countries massively expanded access to schooling in recent decades by building new schools and making education more affordable, both by defraying direct costs, as well as compensating for opportunity costs (Duflo, 2001; World Bank, 2018). These initiatives have not only rapidly increased the number of learners enrolled in school, but have also increased the variability in learner’ preparation for schooling. Consequently, a large number of learners perform well below grade-based curricular expectations (see, e.g., Duflo, Dupas, & Kremer, 2011; Pritchett & Beatty, 2015). These learners are unlikely to get much from “one-size-fits-all” instruction, in which a single educator delivers instruction deemed appropriate for the middle (or top) of the achievement distribution (Banerjee & Duflo, 2011). Technology could potentially help these learners by providing them with: (a) instruction and opportunities for practice that adjust to the level and pace of preparation of each individual (known as “computer-adaptive learning” (CAL)); or (b) live, one-on-one tutoring.

Computer-adaptive learning

One of the main comparative advantages of technology is its ability to diagnose students’ initial learning levels and assign students to instruction and exercises of appropriate difficulty. No individual educator—no matter how talented—can be expected to provide individualized instruction to all learners in his/her class simultaneously . In this respect, technology is uniquely positioned to complement traditional teaching. This use of technology could help learners master basic skills and help them get more out of schooling.

Although many software products evaluated in recent years have been categorized as CAL, many rely on a relatively coarse level of differentiation at an initial stage (e.g., a diagnostic test) without further differentiation. We discuss these initiatives under the category of “increasing opportunities for practice” below. CAL initiatives complement an initial diagnostic with dynamic adaptation (i.e., at each response or set of responses from learners) to adjust both the initial level of difficulty and rate at which it increases or decreases, depending on whether learners’ responses are correct or incorrect.

Existing evidence on this specific type of programs is highly promising. Most famously, Banerjee et al. (2007) evaluated CAL software in Vadodara, in the Indian state of Gujarat, in which grade 4 students were offered two hours of shared computer time per week before and after school, during which they played games that involved solving math problems. The level of difficulty of such problems adjusted based on students’ answers. This program improved math achievement by 0.35 and 0.47 SDs after one and two years of implementation, respectively. Consistent with the promise of personalized learning, the software improved achievement for all students. In fact, one year after the end of the program, students assigned to the program still performed 0.1 SDs better than those assigned to a business as usual condition. More recently, Muralidharan, et al. (2019) evaluated a “blended learning” initiative in which students in grades 4 through 9 in Delhi, India received 45 minutes of interaction with CAL software for math and language, and 45 minutes of small group instruction before or after going to school. After only 4.5 months, the program improved achievement by 0.37 SDs in math and 0.23 SDs in Hindi. While all learners benefited from the program in absolute terms, the lowest performing learners benefited the most in relative terms, since they were learning very little in school.

We see two important limitations from this body of research. First, to our knowledge, none of these initiatives has been evaluated when implemented during the school day. Therefore, it is not possible to distinguish the effect of the adaptive software from that of additional instructional time. Second, given that most of these programs were facilitated by local instructors, attempts to distinguish the effect of the software from that of the instructors has been mostly based on noncausal evidence. A frontier challenge in this body of research is to understand whether CAL software can increase the effectiveness of school-based instruction by substituting part of the regularly scheduled time for math and language instruction.

Live one-on-one tutoring

Recent improvements in the speed and quality of videoconferencing, as well as in the connectivity of remote areas, have enabled yet another way in which technology can help personalization: live (i.e., real-time) one-on-one tutoring. While the evidence on in-person tutoring is scarce in developing countries, existing studies suggest that this approach works best when it is used to personalize instruction (see, e.g., Banerjee et al., 2007; Banerji, Berry, & Shotland, 2015; Cabezas, Cuesta, & Gallego, 2011).

There are almost no studies on the impact of online tutoring—possibly, due to the lack of hardware and Internet connectivity in low- and middle-income countries. One exception is Chemin and Oledan (2020)’s recent evaluation of an online tutoring program for grade 6 students in Kianyaga, Kenya to learn English from volunteers from a Canadian university via Skype ( videoconferencing software) for one hour per week after school. After 10 months, program beneficiaries performed 0.22 SDs better in a test of oral comprehension, improved their comfort using technology for learning, and became more willing to engage in cross-cultural communication. Importantly, while the tutoring sessions used the official English textbooks and sought in part to help learners with their homework, tutors were trained on several strategies to teach to each learner’s individual level of preparation, focusing on basic skills if necessary. To our knowledge, similar initiatives within a country have not yet been rigorously evaluated.

Expanding opportunities for practice

A third way in which technology may improve the quality of education is by providing learners with additional opportunities for practice. In many developing countries, lesson time is primarily devoted to lectures, in which the educator explains the topic and the learners passively copy explanations from the blackboard. This setup leaves little time for in-class practice. Consequently, learners who did not understand the explanation of the material during lecture struggle when they have to solve homework assignments on their own. Technology could potentially address this problem by allowing learners to review topics at their own pace.

Practice exercises

Technology can help learners get more out of traditional instruction by providing them with opportunities to implement what they learn in class. This approach could, in theory, allow some learners to anchor their understanding of the material through trial and error (i.e., by realizing what they may not have understood correctly during lecture and by getting better acquainted with special cases not covered in-depth in class).

Existing evidence on practice exercises reflects both the promise and the limitations of this use of technology in developing countries. For example, Lai et al. (2013) evaluated a program in Shaanxi, China where students in grades 3 and 5 were required to attend two 40-minute remedial sessions per week in which they first watched videos that reviewed the material that had been introduced in their math lessons that week and then played games to practice the skills introduced in the video. After four months, the intervention improved math achievement by 0.12 SDs. Many other evaluations of comparable interventions have found similar small-to-moderate results (see, e.g., Lai, Luo, Zhang, Huang, & Rozelle, 2015; Lai et al., 2012; Mo et al., 2015; Pitchford, 2015). These effects, however, have been consistently smaller than those of initiatives that adjust the difficulty of the material based on students’ performance (e.g., Banerjee et al., 2007; Muralidharan, et al., 2019). We hypothesize that these programs do little for learners who perform several grade levels behind curricular expectations, and who would benefit more from a review of foundational concepts from earlier grades.

We see two important limitations from this research. First, most initiatives that have been evaluated thus far combine instructional videos with practice exercises, so it is hard to know whether their effects are driven by the former or the latter. In fact, the program in China described above allowed learners to ask their peers whenever they did not understand a difficult concept, so it potentially also captured the effect of peer-to-peer collaboration. To our knowledge, no studies have addressed this gap in the evidence.

Second, most of these programs are implemented before or after school, so we cannot distinguish the effect of additional instructional time from that of the actual opportunity for practice. The importance of this question was first highlighted by Linden (2008), who compared two delivery mechanisms for game-based remedial math software for students in grades 2 and 3 in a network of schools run by a nonprofit organization in Gujarat, India: one in which students interacted with the software during the school day and another one in which students interacted with the software before or after school (in both cases, for three hours per day). After a year, the first version of the program had negatively impacted students’ math achievement by 0.57 SDs and the second one had a null effect. This study suggested that computer-assisted learning is a poor substitute for regular instruction when it is of high quality, as was the case in this well-functioning private network of schools.

In recent years, several studies have sought to remedy this shortcoming. Mo et al. (2014) were among the first to evaluate practice exercises delivered during the school day. They evaluated an initiative in Shaanxi, China in which students in grades 3 and 5 were required to interact with the software similar to the one in Lai et al. (2013) for two 40-minute sessions per week. The main limitation of this study, however, is that the program was delivered during regularly scheduled computer lessons, so it could not determine the impact of substituting regular math instruction. Similarly, Mo et al. (2020) evaluated a self-paced and a teacher-directed version of a similar program for English for grade 5 students in Qinghai, China. Yet, the key shortcoming of this study is that the teacher-directed version added several components that may also influence achievement, such as increased opportunities for teachers to provide students with personalized assistance when they struggled with the material. Ma, Fairlie, Loyalka, and Rozelle (2020) compared the effectiveness of additional time-delivered remedial instruction for students in grades 4 to 6 in Shaanxi, China through either computer-assisted software or using workbooks. This study indicates whether additional instructional time is more effective when using technology, but it does not address the question of whether school systems may improve the productivity of instructional time during the school day by substituting educator-led with computer-assisted instruction.

Increasing learner engagement

Another way in which technology may improve education is by increasing learners’ engagement with the material. In many school systems, regular “chalk and talk” instruction prioritizes time for educators’ exposition over opportunities for learners to ask clarifying questions and/or contribute to class discussions. This, combined with the fact that many developing-country classrooms include a very large number of learners (see, e.g., Angrist & Lavy, 1999; Duflo, Dupas, & Kremer, 2015), may partially explain why the majority of those students are several grade levels behind curricular expectations (e.g., Muralidharan, et al., 2019; Muralidharan & Zieleniak, 2014; Pritchett & Beatty, 2015). Technology could potentially address these challenges by: (a) using video tutorials for self-paced learning and (b) presenting exercises as games and/or gamifying practice.

Video tutorials

Technology can potentially increase learner effort and understanding of the material by finding new and more engaging ways to deliver it. Video tutorials designed for self-paced learning—as opposed to videos for whole class instruction, which we discuss under the category of “prerecorded lessons” above—can increase learner effort in multiple ways, including: allowing learners to focus on topics with which they need more help, letting them correct errors and misconceptions on their own, and making the material appealing through visual aids. They can increase understanding by breaking the material into smaller units and tackling common misconceptions.

In spite of the popularity of instructional videos, there is relatively little evidence on their effectiveness. Yet, two recent evaluations of different versions of the Khan Academy portal, which mainly relies on instructional videos, offer some insight into their impact. First, Ferman, Finamor, and Lima (2019) evaluated an initiative in 157 public primary and middle schools in five cities in Brazil in which the teachers of students in grades 5 and 9 were taken to the computer lab to learn math from the platform for 50 minutes per week. The authors found that, while the intervention slightly improved learners’ attitudes toward math, these changes did not translate into better performance in this subject. The authors hypothesized that this could be due to the reduction of teacher-led math instruction.

More recently, Büchel, Jakob, Kühnhanss, Steffen, and Brunetti (2020) evaluated an after-school, offline delivery of the Khan Academy portal in grades 3 through 6 in 302 primary schools in Morazán, El Salvador. Students in this study received 90 minutes per week of additional math instruction (effectively nearly doubling total math instruction per week) through teacher-led regular lessons, teacher-assisted Khan Academy lessons, or similar lessons assisted by technical supervisors with no content expertise. (Importantly, the first group provided differentiated instruction, which is not the norm in Salvadorian schools). All three groups outperformed both schools without any additional lessons and classrooms without additional lessons in the same schools as the program. The teacher-assisted Khan Academy lessons performed 0.24 SDs better, the supervisor-led lessons 0.22 SDs better, and the teacher-led regular lessons 0.15 SDs better, but the authors could not determine whether the effects across versions were different.

Together, these studies suggest that instructional videos work best when provided as a complement to, rather than as a substitute for, regular instruction. Yet, the main limitation of these studies is the multifaceted nature of the Khan Academy portal, which also includes other components found to positively improve learner achievement, such as differentiated instruction by students’ learning levels. While the software does not provide the type of personalization discussed above, learners are asked to take a placement test and, based on their score, educators assign them different work. Therefore, it is not clear from these studies whether the effects from Khan Academy are driven by its instructional videos or to the software’s ability to provide differentiated activities when combined with placement tests.

Games and gamification

Technology can also increase learner engagement by presenting exercises as games and/or by encouraging learner to play and compete with others (e.g., using leaderboards and rewards)—an approach known as “gamification.” Both approaches can increase learner motivation and effort by presenting learners with entertaining opportunities for practice and by leveraging peers as commitment devices.

There are very few studies on the effects of games and gamification in low- and middle-income countries. Recently, Araya, Arias Ortiz, Bottan, and Cristia (2019) evaluated an initiative in which grade 4 students in Santiago, Chile were required to participate in two 90-minute sessions per week during the school day with instructional math software featuring individual and group competitions (e.g., tracking each learner’s standing in his/her class and tournaments between sections). After nine months, the program led to improvements of 0.27 SDs in the national student assessment in math (it had no spillover effects on reading). However, it had mixed effects on non-academic outcomes. Specifically, the program increased learners’ willingness to use computers to learn math, but, at the same time, increased their anxiety toward math and negatively impacted learners’ willingness to collaborate with peers. Finally, given that one of the weekly sessions replaced regular math instruction and the other one represented additional math instructional time, it is not clear whether the academic effects of the program are driven by the software or the additional time devoted to learning math.

The prognosis:

How can school systems adopt interventions that match their needs.

Here are five specific and sequential guidelines for decisionmakers to realize the potential of education technology to accelerate student learning.

1. Take stock of how your current schools, educators, and learners are engaging with technology .

Carry out a short in-school survey to understand the current practices and potential barriers to adoption of technology (we have included suggested survey instruments in the Appendices); use this information in your decisionmaking process. For example, we learned from conversations with current and former ministers of education from various developing regions that a common limitation to technology use is regulations that hold school leaders accountable for damages to or losses of devices. Another common barrier is lack of access to electricity and Internet, or even the availability of sufficient outlets for charging devices in classrooms. Understanding basic infrastructure and regulatory limitations to the use of education technology is a first necessary step. But addressing these limitations will not guarantee that introducing or expanding technology use will accelerate learning. The next steps are thus necessary.

“In Africa, the biggest limit is connectivity. Fiber is expensive, and we don’t have it everywhere. The continent is creating a digital divide between cities, where there is fiber, and the rural areas.  The [Ghanaian] administration put in schools offline/online technologies with books, assessment tools, and open source materials. In deploying this, we are finding that again, teachers are unfamiliar with it. And existing policies prohibit students to bring their own tablets or cell phones. The easiest way to do it would have been to let everyone bring their own device. But policies are against it.” H.E. Matthew Prempeh, Minister of Education of Ghana, on the need to understand the local context.

2. Consider how the introduction of technology may affect the interactions among learners, educators, and content .

Our review of the evidence indicates that technology may accelerate student learning when it is used to scale up access to quality content, facilitate differentiated instruction, increase opportunities for practice, or when it increases learner engagement. For example, will adding electronic whiteboards to classrooms facilitate access to more quality content or differentiated instruction? Or will these expensive boards be used in the same way as the old chalkboards? Will providing one device (laptop or tablet) to each learner facilitate access to more and better content, or offer students more opportunities to practice and learn? Solely introducing technology in classrooms without additional changes is unlikely to lead to improved learning and may be quite costly. If you cannot clearly identify how the interactions among the three key components of the instructional core (educators, learners, and content) may change after the introduction of technology, then it is probably not a good idea to make the investment. See Appendix A for guidance on the types of questions to ask.

3. Once decisionmakers have a clear idea of how education technology can help accelerate student learning in a specific context, it is important to define clear objectives and goals and establish ways to regularly assess progress and make course corrections in a timely manner .

For instance, is the education technology expected to ensure that learners in early grades excel in foundational skills—basic literacy and numeracy—by age 10? If so, will the technology provide quality reading and math materials, ample opportunities to practice, and engaging materials such as videos or games? Will educators be empowered to use these materials in new ways? And how will progress be measured and adjusted?

4. How this kind of reform is approached can matter immensely for its success.

It is easy to nod to issues of “implementation,” but that needs to be more than rhetorical. Keep in mind that good use of education technology requires thinking about how it will affect learners, educators, and parents. After all, giving learners digital devices will make no difference if they get broken, are stolen, or go unused. Classroom technologies only matter if educators feel comfortable putting them to work. Since good technology is generally about complementing or amplifying what educators and learners already do, it is almost always a mistake to mandate programs from on high. It is vital that technology be adopted with the input of educators and families and with attention to how it will be used. If technology goes unused or if educators use it ineffectually, the results will disappoint—no matter the virtuosity of the technology. Indeed, unused education technology can be an unnecessary expenditure for cash-strapped education systems. This is why surveying context, listening to voices in the field, examining how technology is used, and planning for course correction is essential.

5. It is essential to communicate with a range of stakeholders, including educators, school leaders, parents, and learners .

Technology can feel alien in schools, confuse parents and (especially) older educators, or become an alluring distraction. Good communication can help address all of these risks. Taking care to listen to educators and families can help ensure that programs are informed by their needs and concerns. At the same time, deliberately and consistently explaining what technology is and is not supposed to do, how it can be most effectively used, and the ways in which it can make it more likely that programs work as intended. For instance, if teachers fear that technology is intended to reduce the need for educators, they will tend to be hostile; if they believe that it is intended to assist them in their work, they will be more receptive. Absent effective communication, it is easy for programs to “fail” not because of the technology but because of how it was used. In short, past experience in rolling out education programs indicates that it is as important to have a strong intervention design as it is to have a solid plan to socialize it among stakeholders.

essay on benefits of technology and education

Beyond reopening: A leapfrog moment to transform education?

On September 14, the Center for Universal Education (CUE) will host a webinar to discuss strategies, including around the effective use of education technology, for ensuring resilient schools in the long term and to launch a new education technology playbook “Realizing the promise: How can education technology improve learning for all?”

file-pdf Full Playbook – Realizing the promise: How can education technology improve learning for all? file-pdf References file-pdf Appendix A – Instruments to assess availability and use of technology file-pdf Appendix B – List of reviewed studies file-pdf Appendix C – How may technology affect interactions among students, teachers, and content?

About the Authors

Alejandro j. ganimian, emiliana vegas, frederick m. hess.

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Technology in Education: An Argumentative Perspective

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How technology is reinventing education

Stanford Graduate School of Education Dean Dan Schwartz and other education scholars weigh in on what's next for some of the technology trends taking center stage in the classroom.

essay on benefits of technology and education

Image credit: Claire Scully

New advances in technology are upending education, from the recent debut of new artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots like ChatGPT to the growing accessibility of virtual-reality tools that expand the boundaries of the classroom. For educators, at the heart of it all is the hope that every learner gets an equal chance to develop the skills they need to succeed. But that promise is not without its pitfalls.

“Technology is a game-changer for education – it offers the prospect of universal access to high-quality learning experiences, and it creates fundamentally new ways of teaching,” said Dan Schwartz, dean of Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE), who is also a professor of educational technology at the GSE and faculty director of the Stanford Accelerator for Learning . “But there are a lot of ways we teach that aren’t great, and a big fear with AI in particular is that we just get more efficient at teaching badly. This is a moment to pay attention, to do things differently.”

For K-12 schools, this year also marks the end of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding program, which has provided pandemic recovery funds that many districts used to invest in educational software and systems. With these funds running out in September 2024, schools are trying to determine their best use of technology as they face the prospect of diminishing resources.

Here, Schwartz and other Stanford education scholars weigh in on some of the technology trends taking center stage in the classroom this year.

AI in the classroom

In 2023, the big story in technology and education was generative AI, following the introduction of ChatGPT and other chatbots that produce text seemingly written by a human in response to a question or prompt. Educators immediately worried that students would use the chatbot to cheat by trying to pass its writing off as their own. As schools move to adopt policies around students’ use of the tool, many are also beginning to explore potential opportunities – for example, to generate reading assignments or coach students during the writing process.

AI can also help automate tasks like grading and lesson planning, freeing teachers to do the human work that drew them into the profession in the first place, said Victor Lee, an associate professor at the GSE and faculty lead for the AI + Education initiative at the Stanford Accelerator for Learning. “I’m heartened to see some movement toward creating AI tools that make teachers’ lives better – not to replace them, but to give them the time to do the work that only teachers are able to do,” he said. “I hope to see more on that front.”

He also emphasized the need to teach students now to begin questioning and critiquing the development and use of AI. “AI is not going away,” said Lee, who is also director of CRAFT (Classroom-Ready Resources about AI for Teaching), which provides free resources to help teach AI literacy to high school students across subject areas. “We need to teach students how to understand and think critically about this technology.”

Immersive environments

The use of immersive technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality is also expected to surge in the classroom, especially as new high-profile devices integrating these realities hit the marketplace in 2024.

The educational possibilities now go beyond putting on a headset and experiencing life in a distant location. With new technologies, students can create their own local interactive 360-degree scenarios, using just a cell phone or inexpensive camera and simple online tools.

“This is an area that’s really going to explode over the next couple of years,” said Kristen Pilner Blair, director of research for the Digital Learning initiative at the Stanford Accelerator for Learning, which runs a program exploring the use of virtual field trips to promote learning. “Students can learn about the effects of climate change, say, by virtually experiencing the impact on a particular environment. But they can also become creators, documenting and sharing immersive media that shows the effects where they live.”

Integrating AI into virtual simulations could also soon take the experience to another level, Schwartz said. “If your VR experience brings me to a redwood tree, you could have a window pop up that allows me to ask questions about the tree, and AI can deliver the answers.”

Gamification

Another trend expected to intensify this year is the gamification of learning activities, often featuring dynamic videos with interactive elements to engage and hold students’ attention.

“Gamification is a good motivator, because one key aspect is reward, which is very powerful,” said Schwartz. The downside? Rewards are specific to the activity at hand, which may not extend to learning more generally. “If I get rewarded for doing math in a space-age video game, it doesn’t mean I’m going to be motivated to do math anywhere else.”

Gamification sometimes tries to make “chocolate-covered broccoli,” Schwartz said, by adding art and rewards to make speeded response tasks involving single-answer, factual questions more fun. He hopes to see more creative play patterns that give students points for rethinking an approach or adapting their strategy, rather than only rewarding them for quickly producing a correct response.

Data-gathering and analysis

The growing use of technology in schools is producing massive amounts of data on students’ activities in the classroom and online. “We’re now able to capture moment-to-moment data, every keystroke a kid makes,” said Schwartz – data that can reveal areas of struggle and different learning opportunities, from solving a math problem to approaching a writing assignment.

But outside of research settings, he said, that type of granular data – now owned by tech companies – is more likely used to refine the design of the software than to provide teachers with actionable information.

The promise of personalized learning is being able to generate content aligned with students’ interests and skill levels, and making lessons more accessible for multilingual learners and students with disabilities. Realizing that promise requires that educators can make sense of the data that’s being collected, said Schwartz – and while advances in AI are making it easier to identify patterns and findings, the data also needs to be in a system and form educators can access and analyze for decision-making. Developing a usable infrastructure for that data, Schwartz said, is an important next step.

With the accumulation of student data comes privacy concerns: How is the data being collected? Are there regulations or guidelines around its use in decision-making? What steps are being taken to prevent unauthorized access? In 2023 K-12 schools experienced a rise in cyberattacks, underscoring the need to implement strong systems to safeguard student data.

Technology is “requiring people to check their assumptions about education,” said Schwartz, noting that AI in particular is very efficient at replicating biases and automating the way things have been done in the past, including poor models of instruction. “But it’s also opening up new possibilities for students producing material, and for being able to identify children who are not average so we can customize toward them. It’s an opportunity to think of entirely new ways of teaching – this is the path I hope to see.”

How Important Is Technology in Education? Benefits, Challenges, and Impact on Students

A group of students use their electronics while sitting at their desks.

Many of today’s high-demand jobs were created in the last decade, according to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). As advances in technology drive globalization and digital transformation, teachers can help students acquire the necessary skills to succeed in the careers of the future.

How important is technology in education? The COVID-19 pandemic is quickly demonstrating why online education should be a vital part of teaching and learning. By integrating technology into existing curricula, as opposed to using it solely as a crisis-management tool, teachers can harness online learning as a powerful educational tool.

The effective use of digital learning tools in classrooms can increase student engagement, help teachers improve their lesson plans, and facilitate personalized learning. It also helps students build essential 21st-century skills.

Virtual classrooms, video, augmented reality (AR), robots, and other technology tools can not only make class more lively, they can also create more inclusive learning environments that foster collaboration and inquisitiveness and enable teachers to collect data on student performance.

Still, it’s important to note that technology is a tool used in education and not an end in itself. The promise of educational technology lies in what educators do with it and how it is used to best support their students’ needs.

Educational Technology Challenges

BuiltIn reports that 92 percent of teachers understand the impact of technology in education. According to Project Tomorrow, 59 percent of middle school students say digital educational tools have helped them with their grades and test scores. These tools have become so popular that the educational technology market is projected to expand to $342 billion by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum.

However, educational technology has its challenges, particularly when it comes to implementation and use. For example, despite growing interest in the use of AR, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technology, less than 10 percent of schools report having these tools in their classrooms, according to Project Tomorrow. Additional concerns include excessive screen time, the effectiveness of teachers using the technology, and worries about technology equity.

Prominently rising from the COVID-19 crisis is the issue of content. Educators need to be able to develop and weigh in on online educational content, especially to encourage students to consider a topic from different perspectives. The urgent actions taken during this crisis did not provide sufficient time for this. Access is an added concern — for example, not every school district has resources to provide students with a laptop, and internet connectivity can be unreliable in homes.

Additionally, while some students thrive in online education settings, others lag for various factors, including support resources. For example, a student who already struggled in face-to-face environments may struggle even more in the current situation. These students may have relied on resources that they no longer have in their homes.

Still, most students typically demonstrate confidence in using online education when they have the resources, as studies have suggested. However, online education may pose challenges for teachers, especially in places where it has not been the norm.

Despite the challenges and concerns, it’s important to note the benefits of technology in education, including increased collaboration and communication, improved quality of education, and engaging lessons that help spark imagination and a search for knowledge in students.

The Benefits of Technology in Education

Teachers want to improve student performance, and technology can help them accomplish this aim. To mitigate the challenges, administrators should help teachers gain the competencies needed to enhance learning for students through technology. Additionally, technology in the classroom should make teachers’ jobs easier without adding extra time to their day.

Technology provides students with easy-to-access information, accelerated learning, and fun opportunities to practice what they learn. It enables students to explore new subjects and deepen their understanding of difficult concepts, particularly in STEM. Through the use of technology inside and outside the classroom, students can gain 21st-century technical skills necessary for future occupations.

Still, children learn more effectively with direction. The World Economic Forum reports that while technology can help young students learn and acquire knowledge through play, for example, evidence suggests that learning is more effective through guidance from an adult, such as a teacher.

Leaders and administrators should take stock of where their faculty are in terms of their understanding of online spaces. From lessons learned during this disruptive time, they can implement solutions now for the future. For example, administrators could give teachers a week or two to think carefully about how to teach courses not previously online. In addition to an exploration of solutions, flexibility during these trying times is of paramount importance.

Below are examples of how important technology is in education and the benefits it offers to students and teachers.

Increased Collaboration and Communication

Educational technology can foster collaboration. Not only can teachers engage with students during lessons, but students can also communicate with each other. Through online lessons and learning games, students get to work together to solve problems. In collaborative activities, students can share their thoughts and ideas and support each other. At the same time, technology enables one-on-one interaction with teachers. Students can ask classroom-related questions and seek additional help on difficult-to-understand subject matter. At home, students can upload their homework, and teachers can access and view completed assignments using their laptops.

Personalized Learning Opportunities

Technology allows 24/7 access to educational resources. Classes can take place entirely online via the use of a laptop or mobile device. Hybrid versions of learning combine the use of technology from anywhere with regular in-person classroom sessions. In both scenarios, the use of technology to tailor learning plans for each student is possible. Teachers can create lessons based on student interests and strengths. An added benefit is that students can learn at their own pace. When they need to review class material to get a better understanding of essential concepts, students can review videos in the lesson plan. The data generated through these online activities enable teachers to see which students struggled with certain subjects and offer additional assistance and support.

Curiosity Driven by Engaging Content

Through engaging and educational content, teachers can spark inquisitiveness in children and boost their curiosity, which research says has ties to academic success. Curiosity helps students get a better understanding of math and reading concepts. Creating engaging content can involve the use of AR, videos, or podcasts. For example, when submitting assignments, students can include videos or interact with students from across the globe.

Improved Teacher Productivity and Efficiency

Teachers can leverage technology to achieve new levels of productivity, implement useful digital tools to expand learning opportunities for students, and increase student support and engagement. It also enables teachers to improve their instruction methods and personalize learning. Schools can benefit from technology by reducing the costs of physical instructional materials, enhancing educational program efficiency, and making the best use of teacher time.

Become a Leader in Enriching Classrooms through Technology

Educators unfamiliar with some of the technology used in education may not have been exposed to the tools as they prepared for their careers or as part of their professional development. Teachers looking to make the transition and acquire the skills to incorporate technology in education can take advantage of learning opportunities to advance their competencies. For individuals looking to help transform the education system through technology, American University’s School of Education Online offers a Master of Arts in Teaching and a Master of Arts in Education Policy and Leadership to prepare educators with essential tools to become leaders. Courses such as Education Program and Policy Implementation and Teaching Science in Elementary School equip graduate students with critical competencies to incorporate technology into educational settings effectively.

Learn more about American University’s School of Education Online and its master’s degree programs.

Virtual Reality in Education: Benefits, Tools, and Resources

Data-Driven Decision Making in Education: 11 Tips for Teachers & Administration

Helping Girls Succeed in STEM

BuiltIn, “Edtech 101”

EdTech, “Teaching Teachers to Put Tech Tools to Work”

International Society for Technology in Education, “Preparing Students for Jobs That Don’t Exist”

The Journal, “How Teachers Use Technology to Enrich Learning Experiences”

Pediatric Research, “Early Childhood Curiosity and Kindergarten Reading and Math Academic Achievement”

Project Tomorrow, “Digital Learning: Peril or Promise for Our K-12 Students”

World Economic Forum, “The Future of Jobs Report 2018”

World Economic Forum, “Learning through Play: How Schools Can Educate Students through Technology”

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How technology is reinventing education.

Image credit: Claire Scully

New advances in technology are upending education, from the recent debut of new artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots like ChatGPT to the growing accessibility of virtual-reality tools that expand the boundaries of the classroom. For educators, at the heart of it all is the hope that every learner gets an equal chance to develop the skills they need to succeed. But that promise is not without its pitfalls.

“Technology is a game-changer for education – it offers the prospect of universal access to high-quality learning experiences, and it creates fundamentally new ways of teaching,” said Dan Schwartz, dean of  Stanford Graduate School of Education  (GSE), who is also a professor of educational technology at the GSE and faculty director of the  Stanford Accelerator for Learning . “But there are a lot of ways we teach that aren’t great, and a big fear with AI in particular is that we just get more efficient at teaching badly. This is a moment to pay attention, to do things differently.”

For K-12 schools, this year also marks the end of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding program, which has provided pandemic recovery funds that many districts used to invest in educational software and systems. With these funds running out in September 2024, schools are trying to determine their best use of technology as they face the prospect of diminishing resources.

Here, Schwartz and other Stanford education scholars weigh in on some of the technology trends taking center stage in the classroom this year.

AI in the classroom

In 2023, the big story in technology and education was generative AI, following the introduction of ChatGPT and other chatbots that produce text seemingly written by a human in response to a question or prompt. Educators immediately  worried  that students would use the chatbot to cheat by trying to pass its writing off as their own. As schools move to adopt policies around students’ use of the tool, many are also beginning to explore potential opportunities – for example, to generate reading assignments or  coach  students during the writing process.

AI can also help automate tasks like grading and lesson planning, freeing teachers to do the human work that drew them into the profession in the first place, said Victor Lee, an associate professor at the GSE and faculty lead for the  AI + Education initiative  at the Stanford Accelerator for Learning. “I’m heartened to see some movement toward creating AI tools that make teachers’ lives better – not to replace them, but to give them the time to do the work that only teachers are able to do,” he said. “I hope to see more on that front.”

He also emphasized the need to teach students now to begin questioning and critiquing the development and use of AI. “AI is not going away,” said Lee, who is also director of  CRAFT  (Classroom-Ready Resources about AI for Teaching), which provides free resources to help teach AI literacy to high school students across subject areas. “We need to teach students how to understand and think critically about this technology.”

Immersive environments

The use of immersive technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality is also expected to surge in the classroom, especially as new high-profile devices integrating these realities hit the marketplace in 2024.

The educational possibilities now go beyond putting on a headset and experiencing life in a distant location. With new technologies, students can create their own local interactive 360-degree scenarios, using just a cell phone or inexpensive camera and simple online tools.

“This is an area that’s really going to explode over the next couple of years,” said Kristen Pilner Blair, director of research for the  Digital Learning initiative  at the Stanford Accelerator for Learning, which runs a program exploring the use of  virtual field trips  to promote learning. “Students can learn about the effects of climate change, say, by virtually experiencing the impact on a particular environment. But they can also become creators, documenting and sharing immersive media that shows the effects where they live.”

Integrating AI into virtual simulations could also soon take the experience to another level, Schwartz said. “If your VR experience brings me to a redwood tree, you could have a window pop up that allows me to ask questions about the tree, and AI can deliver the answers.”

Gamification

Another trend expected to intensify this year is the gamification of learning activities, often featuring dynamic videos with interactive elements to engage and hold students’ attention.

“Gamification is a good motivator, because one key aspect is reward, which is very powerful,” said Schwartz. The downside? Rewards are specific to the activity at hand, which may not extend to learning more generally. “If I get rewarded for doing math in a space-age video game, it doesn’t mean I’m going to be motivated to do math anywhere else.”

Gamification sometimes tries to make “chocolate-covered broccoli,” Schwartz said, by adding art and rewards to make speeded response tasks involving single-answer, factual questions more fun. He hopes to see more creative play patterns that give students points for rethinking an approach or adapting their strategy, rather than only rewarding them for quickly producing a correct response.

Data-gathering and analysis

The growing use of technology in schools is producing massive amounts of data on students’ activities in the classroom and online. “We’re now able to capture moment-to-moment data, every keystroke a kid makes,” said Schwartz – data that can reveal areas of struggle and different learning opportunities, from solving a math problem to approaching a writing assignment.

But outside of research settings, he said, that type of granular data – now owned by tech companies – is more likely used to refine the design of the software than to provide teachers with actionable information.

The promise of personalized learning is being able to generate content aligned with students’ interests and skill levels, and making lessons more accessible for multilingual learners and students with disabilities. Realizing that promise requires that educators can make sense of the data that’s being collected, said Schwartz – and while advances in AI are making it easier to identify patterns and findings, the data also needs to be in a system and form educators can access and analyze for decision-making. Developing a usable infrastructure for that data, Schwartz said, is an important next step.

With the accumulation of student data comes privacy concerns: How is the data being collected? Are there regulations or guidelines around its use in decision-making? What steps are being taken to prevent unauthorized access? In 2023 K-12 schools experienced a rise in cyberattacks, underscoring the need to implement strong systems to safeguard student data.

Technology is “requiring people to check their assumptions about education,” said Schwartz, noting that AI in particular is very efficient at replicating biases and automating the way things have been done in the past, including poor models of instruction. “But it’s also opening up new possibilities for students producing material, and for being able to identify children who are not average so we can customize toward them. It’s an opportunity to think of entirely new ways of teaching – this is the path I hope to see.”

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What 126 studies say about education technology

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J-PAL North America's recently released publication summarizes 126 rigorous evaluations of different uses of education technology and their impact on student learning.

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In recent years, there has been widespread excitement around the transformative potential of technology in education. In the United States alone, spending on education technology has now exceeded $13 billion . Programs and policies to promote the use of education technology may expand access to quality education, support students’ learning in innovative ways, and help families navigate complex school systems.

However, the rapid development of education technology in the United States is occurring in a context of deep and persistent inequality . Depending on how programs are designed, how they are used, and who can access them, education technologies could alleviate or aggravate existing disparities. To harness education technology’s full potential, education decision-makers, product developers, and funders need to understand the ways in which technology can help — or in some cases hurt — student learning.

To address this need, J-PAL North America recently released a new publication summarizing 126 rigorous evaluations of different uses of education technology. Drawing primarily from research in developed countries, the publication looks at randomized evaluations and regression discontinuity designs across four broad categories: (1) access to technology, (2) computer-assisted learning or educational software, (3) technology-enabled nudges in education, and (4) online learning.

This growing body of evidence suggests some areas of promise and points to four key lessons on education technology.

First, supplying computers and internet alone generally do not improve students’ academic outcomes from kindergarten to 12th grade, but do increase computer usage and improve computer proficiency. Disparities in access to information and communication technologies can exacerbate existing educational inequalities. Students without access at school or at home may struggle to complete web-based assignments and may have a hard time developing digital literacy skills.

Broadly, programs to expand access to technology have been effective at increasing use of computers and improving computer skills. However, computer distribution and internet subsidy programs generally did not improve grades and test scores and in some cases led to adverse impacts on academic achievement. The limited rigorous evidence suggests that distributing computers may have a more direct impact on learning outcomes at the postsecondary level.

Second, educational software (often called “computer-assisted learning”) programs designed to help students develop particular skills have shown enormous promise in improving learning outcomes, particularly in math. Targeting instruction to meet students’ learning levels has been found to be effective in improving student learning, but large class sizes with a wide range of learning levels can make it hard for teachers to personalize instruction. Software has the potential to overcome traditional classroom constraints by customizing activities for each student. Educational software programs range from light-touch homework support tools to more intensive interventions that re-orient the classroom around the use of software.

Most educational software that have been rigorously evaluated help students practice particular skills through personalized tutoring approaches. Computer-assisted learning programs have shown enormous promise in improving academic achievement, especially in math. Of all 30 studies of computer-assisted learning programs, 20 reported statistically significant positive effects, 15 of which were focused on improving math outcomes.

Third, technology-based nudges — such as text message reminders — can have meaningful, if modest, impacts on a variety of education-related outcomes, often at extremely low costs. Low-cost interventions like text message reminders can successfully support students and families at each stage of schooling. Text messages with reminders, tips, goal-setting tools, and encouragement can increase parental engagement in learning activities, such as reading with their elementary-aged children.

Middle and high schools, meanwhile, can help parents support their children by providing families with information about how well their children are doing in school. Colleges can increase application and enrollment rates by leveraging technology to suggest specific action items, streamline financial aid procedures, and/or provide personalized support to high school students.

Online courses are developing a growing presence in education, but the limited experimental evidence suggests that online-only courses lower student academic achievement compared to in-person courses. In four of six studies that directly compared the impact of taking a course online versus in-person only, student performance was lower in the online courses. However, students performed similarly in courses with both in-person and online components compared to traditional face-to-face classes.

The new publication is meant to be a resource for decision-makers interested in learning which uses of education technology go beyond the hype to truly help students learn. At the same time, the publication outlines key open questions about the impacts of education technology, including questions relating to the long-term impacts of education technology and the impacts of education technology on different types of learners.

To help answer these questions, J-PAL North America’s Education, Technology, and Opportunity Initiative is working to build the evidence base on promising uses of education technology by partnering directly with education leaders.

Education leaders are invited to submit letters of interest to partner with J-PAL North America through its  Innovation Competition . Anyone interested in learning more about how to apply is encouraged to contact initiative manager Vincent Quan .

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Related links.

  • J-PAL Education, Technology, and Opportunity Initiative
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New global data reveal education technology’s impact on learning

The promise of technology in the classroom is great: enabling personalized, mastery-based learning; saving teacher time; and equipping students with the digital skills they will need  for 21st-century careers. Indeed, controlled pilot studies have shown meaningful improvements in student outcomes through personalized blended learning. 1 John F. Pane et al., “How does personalized learning affect student achievement?,” RAND Corporation, 2017, rand.org. During this time of school shutdowns and remote learning , education technology has become a lifeline for the continuation of learning.

As school systems begin to prepare for a return to the classroom , many are asking whether education technology should play a greater role in student learning beyond the immediate crisis and what that might look like. To help inform the answer to that question, this article analyzes one important data set: the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), published in December 2019 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Every three years, the OECD uses PISA to test 15-year-olds around the world on math, reading, and science. What makes these tests so powerful is that they go beyond the numbers, asking students, principals, teachers, and parents a series of questions about their attitudes, behaviors, and resources. An optional student survey on information and communications technology (ICT) asks specifically about technology use—in the classroom, for homework, and more broadly.

In 2018, more than 340,000 students in 51 countries took the ICT survey, providing a rich data set for analyzing key questions about technology use in schools. How much is technology being used in schools? Which technologies are having a positive impact on student outcomes? What is the optimal amount of time to spend using devices in the classroom and for homework? How does this vary across different countries and regions?

From other studies we know that how education technology is used, and how it is embedded in the learning experience, is critical to its effectiveness. This data is focused on extent and intensity of use, not the pedagogical context of each classroom. It cannot therefore answer questions on the eventual potential of education technology—but it can powerfully tell us the extent to which that potential is being realized today in classrooms around the world.

Five key findings from the latest results help answer these questions and suggest potential links between technology and student outcomes:

  • The type of device matters—some are associated with worse student outcomes.
  • Geography matters—technology is associated with higher student outcomes in the United States than in other regions.
  • Who is using the technology matters—technology in the hands of teachers is associated with higher scores than technology in the hands of students.
  • Intensity matters—students who use technology intensely or not at all perform better than those with moderate use.
  • A school system’s current performance level matters—in lower-performing school systems, technology is associated with worse results.

This analysis covers only one source of data, and it should be interpreted with care alongside other relevant studies. Nonetheless, the 2018 PISA results suggest that systems aiming to improve student outcomes should take a more nuanced and cautious approach to deploying technology once students return to the classroom. It is not enough add devices to the classroom, check the box, and hope for the best.

What can we learn from the latest PISA results?

How will the use, and effectiveness, of technology change post-covid-19.

The PISA assessment was carried out in 2018 and published in December 2019. Since its publication, schools and students globally have been quite suddenly thrust into far greater reliance on technology. Use of online-learning websites and adaptive software has expanded dramatically. Khan Academy has experienced a 250 percent surge in traffic; smaller sites have seen traffic grow fivefold or more. Hundreds of thousands of teachers have been thrown into the deep end, learning to use new platforms, software, and systems. No one is arguing that the rapid cobbling together of remote learning under extreme time pressure represents best-practice use of education technology. Nonetheless, a vast experiment is underway, and innovations often emerge in times of crisis. At this point, it is unclear whether this represents the beginning of a new wave of more widespread and more effective technology use in the classroom or a temporary blip that will fade once students and teachers return to in-person instruction. It is possible that a combination of software improvements, teacher capability building, and student familiarity will fundamentally change the effectiveness of education technology in improving student outcomes. It is also possible that our findings will continue to hold true and technology in the classroom will continue to be a mixed blessing. It is therefore critical that ongoing research efforts track what is working and for whom and, just as important, what is not. These answers will inform the project of reimagining a better education for all students in the aftermath of COVID-19.

PISA data have their limitations. First, these data relate to high-school students, and findings may not be applicable in elementary schools or postsecondary institutions. Second, these are single-point observational data, not longitudinal experimental data, which means that any links between technology and results should be interpreted as correlation rather than causation. Third, the outcomes measured are math, science, and reading test results, so our analysis cannot assess important soft skills and nonacademic outcomes.

It is also worth noting that technology for learning has implications beyond direct student outcomes, both positive and negative. PISA cannot address these broader issues, and neither does this paper.

But PISA results, which we’ve broken down into five key findings, can still provide powerful insights. The assessment strives to measure the understanding and application of ideas, rather than the retention of facts derived from rote memorization, and the broad geographic coverage and sample size help elucidate the reality of what is happening on the ground.

Finding 1: The type of device matters

The evidence suggests that some devices have more impact than others on outcomes (Exhibit 1). Controlling for student socioeconomic status, school type, and location, 2 Specifically, we control for a composite indicator for economic, social, and cultural status (ESCS) derived from questions about general wealth, home possessions, parental education, and parental occupation; for school type “Is your school a public or a private school” (SC013); and for school location (SC001) where the options are a village, hamlet or rural area (fewer than 3,000 people), a small town (3,000 to about 15,000 people), a town (15,000 to about 100,000 people), a city (100,000 to about 1,000,000 people), and a large city (with more than 1,000,000 people). the use of data projectors 3 A projector is any device that projects computer output, slides, or other information onto a screen in the classroom. and internet-connected computers in the classroom is correlated with nearly a grade-level-better performance on the PISA assessment (assuming approximately 40 PISA points to every grade level). 4 Students were specifically asked (IC009), “Are any of these devices available for you to use at school?,” with the choices being “Yes, and I use it,” “Yes, but I don’t use it,” and “No.” We compared the results for students who have access to and use each device with those who do not have access. The full text for each device in our chart was as follows: Data projector, eg, for slide presentations; Internet-connected school computers; Desktop computer; Interactive whiteboard, eg, SmartBoard; Portable laptop or notebook; and Tablet computer, eg, iPad, BlackBerry PlayBook.

On the other hand, students who use laptops and tablets in the classroom have worse results than those who do not. For laptops, the impact of technology varies by subject; students who use laptops score five points lower on the PISA math assessment, but the impact on science and reading scores is not statistically significant. For tablets, the picture is clearer—in every subject, students who use tablets in the classroom perform a half-grade level worse than those who do not.

Some technologies are more neutral. At the global level, there is no statistically significant difference between students who use desktop computers and interactive whiteboards in the classroom and those who do not.

Finding 2: Geography matters

Looking more closely at the reading results, which were the focus of the 2018 assessment, 5 PISA rotates between focusing on reading, science, and math. The 2018 assessment focused on reading. This means that the total testing time was two hours for each student, of which one hour was reading focused. we can see that the relationship between technology and outcomes varies widely by country and region (Exhibit 2). For example, in all regions except the United States (representing North America), 6 The United States is the only country that took the ICT Familiarity Questionnaire survey in North America; thus, we are comparing it as a country with the other regions. students who use laptops in the classroom score between five and 12 PISA points lower than students who do not use laptops. In the United States, students who use laptops score 17 PISA points higher than those who do not. It seems that US students and teachers are doing something different with their laptops than those in other regions. Perhaps this difference is related to learning curves that develop as teachers and students learn how to get the most out of devices. A proxy to assess this learning curve could be penetration—71 percent of US students claim to be using laptops in the classroom, compared with an average of 37 percent globally. 7 The rate of use excludes nulls. The United States measures higher than any other region in laptop use by students in the classroom. US = 71 percent, Asia = 40 percent, EU = 35 percent, Latin America = 31 percent, MENA = 21 percent, Non-EU Europe = 41 percent. We observe a similar pattern with interactive whiteboards in non-EU Europe. In every other region, interactive whiteboards seem to be hurting results, but in non-EU Europe they are associated with a lift of 21 PISA points, a total that represents a half-year of learning. In this case, however, penetration is not significantly higher than in other developed regions.

Finding 3: It matters whether technology is in the hands of teachers or students

The survey asks students whether the teacher, student, or both were using technology. Globally, the best results in reading occur when only the teacher is using the device, with some benefit in science when both teacher and students use digital devices (Exhibit 3). Exclusive use of the device by students is associated with significantly lower outcomes everywhere. The pattern is similar for science and math.

Again, the regional differences are instructive. Looking again at reading, we note that US students are getting significant lift (three-quarters of a year of learning) from either just teachers or teachers and students using devices, while students alone using a device score significantly lower (half a year of learning) than students who do not use devices at all. Exclusive use of devices by the teacher is associated with better outcomes in Europe too, though the size of the effect is smaller.

Finding 4: Intensity of use matters

PISA also asked students about intensity of use—how much time they spend on devices, 8 PISA rotates between focusing on reading, science, and math. The 2018 assessment focused on reading. This means that the total testing time was two hours for each student, of which one hour was reading focused. both in the classroom and for homework. The results are stark: students who either shun technology altogether or use it intensely are doing better, with those in the middle flailing (Exhibit 4).

The regional data show a dramatic picture. In the classroom, the optimal amount of time to spend on devices is either “none at all” or “greater than 60 minutes” per subject per week in every region and every subject (this is the amount of time associated with the highest student outcomes, controlling for student socioeconomic status, school type, and location). In no region is a moderate amount of time (1–30 minutes or 31–60 minutes) associated with higher student outcomes. There are important differences across subjects and regions. In math, the optimal amount of time is “none at all” in every region. 9 The United States is the only country that took the ICT Familiarity Questionnaire survey in North America; thus, we are comparing it as a country with the other regions. In reading and science, however, the optimal amount of time is greater than 60 minutes for some regions: Asia and the United States for reading, and the United States and non-EU Europe for science.

The pattern for using devices for homework is slightly less clear cut. Students in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and non-EU Europe score highest when they spend “no time at all” on devices for their homework, while students spending a moderate amount of time (1–60 minutes) score best in Latin America and the European Union. Finally, students in the United States who spend greater than 60 minutes are getting the best outcomes.

One interpretation of these data is that students need to get a certain familiarity with technology before they can really start using it to learn. Think of typing an essay, for example. When students who mostly write by hand set out to type an essay, their attention will be focused on the typing rather than the essay content. A competent touch typist, however, will get significant productivity gains by typing rather than handwriting.

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Finding 5: the school systems’ overall performance level matters.

Diving deeper into the reading outcomes, which were the focus of the 2018 assessment, we can see the magnitude of the impact of device use in the classroom. In Asia, Latin America, and Europe, students who spend any time on devices in their literacy and language arts classrooms perform about a half-grade level below those who spend none at all. In MENA, they perform more than a full grade level lower. In the United States, by contrast, more than an hour of device use in the classroom is associated with a lift of 17 PISA points, almost a half-year of learning improvement (Exhibit 5).

At the country level, we see that those who are on what we would call the “poor-to-fair” stage of the school-system journey 10 Michael Barber, Chinezi Chijoke, and Mona Mourshed, “ How the world’s most improved school systems keep getting better ,” November 2010. have the worst relationships between technology use and outcomes. For every poor-to-fair system taking the survey, the amount of time on devices in the classroom associated with the highest student scores is zero minutes. Good and great systems are much more mixed. Students in some very highly performing systems (for example, Estonia and Chinese Taipei) perform highest with no device use, but students in other systems (for example, Japan, the United States, and Australia) are getting the best scores with over an hour of use per week in their literacy and language arts classrooms (Exhibit 6). These data suggest that multiple approaches are effective for good-to-great systems, but poor-to-fair systems—which are not well equipped to use devices in the classroom—may need to rethink whether technology is the best use of their resources.

What are the implications for students, teachers, and systems?

Looking across all these results, we can say that the relationship between technology and outcomes in classrooms today is mixed, with variation by device, how that device is used, and geography. Our data do not permit us to draw strong causal conclusions, but this section offers a few hypotheses, informed by existing literature and our own work with school systems, that could explain these results.

First, technology must be used correctly to be effective. Our experience in the field has taught us that it is not enough to “add technology” as if it were the missing, magic ingredient. The use of tech must start with learning goals, and software selection must be based on and integrated with the curriculum. Teachers need support to adapt lesson plans to optimize the use of technology, and teachers should be using the technology themselves or in partnership with students, rather than leaving students alone with devices. These lessons hold true regardless of geography. Another ICT survey question asked principals about schools’ capacity using digital devices. Globally, students performed better in schools where there were sufficient numbers of devices connected to fast internet service; where they had adequate software and online support platforms; and where teachers had the skills, professional development, and time to integrate digital devices in instruction. This was true even accounting for student socioeconomic status, school type, and location.

COVID-19 and student learning in the United States: The hurt could last a lifetime

COVID-19 and student learning in the United States: The hurt could last a lifetime

Second, technology must be matched to the instructional environment and context. One of the most striking findings in the latest PISA assessment is the extent to which technology has had a different impact on student outcomes in different geographies. This corroborates the findings of our 2010 report, How the world’s most improved school systems keep getting better . Those findings demonstrated that different sets of interventions were needed at different stages of the school-system reform journey, from poor-to-fair to good-to-great to excellent. In poor-to-fair systems, limited resources and teacher capabilities as well as poor infrastructure and internet bandwidth are likely to limit the benefits of student-based technology. Our previous work suggests that more prescriptive, teacher-based approaches and technologies (notably data projectors) are more likely to be effective in this context. For example, social enterprise Bridge International Academies equips teachers across several African countries with scripted lesson plans using e-readers. In general, these systems would likely be better off investing in teacher coaching than in a laptop per child. For administrators in good-to-great systems, the decision is harder, as technology has quite different impacts across different high-performing systems.

Third, technology involves a learning curve at both the system and student levels. It is no accident that the systems in which the use of education technology is more mature are getting more positive impact from tech in the classroom. The United States stands out as the country with the most mature set of education-technology products, and its scale enables companies to create software that is integrated with curricula. 11 Common Core State Standards sought to establish consistent educational standards across the United States. While these have not been adopted in all states, they cover enough states to provide continuity and consistency for software and curriculum developers. A similar effect also appears to operate at the student level; those who dabble in tech may be spending their time learning the tech rather than using the tech to learn. This learning curve needs to be built into technology-reform programs.

Taken together, these results suggest that systems that take a comprehensive, data-informed approach may achieve learning gains from thoughtful use of technology in the classroom. The best results come when significant effort is put into ensuring that devices and infrastructure are fit for purpose (fast enough internet service, for example), that software is effective and integrated with curricula, that teachers are trained and given time to rethink lesson plans integrating technology, that students have enough interaction with tech to use it effectively, and that technology strategy is cognizant of the system’s position on the school-system reform journey. Online learning and education technology are currently providing an invaluable service by enabling continued learning over the course of the pandemic; this does not mean that they should be accepted uncritically as students return to the classroom.

Jake Bryant is an associate partner in McKinsey’s Washington, DC, office; Felipe Child is a partner in the Bogotá office; Emma Dorn is the global Education Practice manager in the Silicon Valley office; and Stephen Hall is an associate partner in the Dubai office.

The authors wish to thank Fernanda Alcala, Sujatha Duraikkannan, and Samuel Huang for their contributions to this article.

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  • How Has Technology Changed Education

How Has Technology Changed Education?

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Technology has impacted almost every aspect of life today, and education is no exception. Or is it? In some ways, education seems much the same as it has been for many years. A 14th century illustration by  Laurentius de Voltolina  depicts a university lecture in medieval Italy. The scene is easily recognizable because of its parallels to the modern day. The teacher lectures from a podium at the front of the room while the students sit in rows and listen. Some of the students have books open in front of them and appear to be following along. A few look bored. Some are talking to their neighbors. One appears to be sleeping. Classrooms today do not look much different, though you might find modern students looking at their laptops, tablets, or smart phones instead of books (though probably open to Facebook). A cynic would say that technology has done nothing to change education.

However, in many ways, technology has profoundly changed education. For one, technology has greatly expanded access to education. In medieval times, books were rare and only an elite few had access to educational opportunities. Individuals had to travel to centers of learning to get an education. Today, massive amounts of information (books, audio, images, videos) are available at one’s fingertips through the Internet, and opportunities for formal learning are available online worldwide through the Khan Academy, MOOCs, podcasts, traditional online degree programs, and more. Access to learning opportunities today is unprecedented in scope thanks to technology.

Opportunities for communication and collaboration have also been expanded by technology. Traditionally, classrooms have been relatively isolated, and collaboration has been limited to other students in the same classroom or building. Today, technology enables forms of communication and collaboration undreamt of in the past. Students in a classroom in the rural U.S., for example, can learn about the Arctic by following the expedition of a team of scientists in the region, read scientists’ blog posting, view photos, e-mail questions to the scientists, and even talk live with the scientists via a videoconference. Students can share what they are learning with students in other classrooms in other states who are tracking the same expedition. Students can collaborate on group projects using technology-based tools such as wikis and Google docs. The walls of the classrooms are no longer a barrier as technology enables new ways of learning, communicating, and working collaboratively.

Technology has also begun to change the roles of teachers and learners. In the traditional classroom, such as what we see depicted in de Voltolina’s illustration, the teacher is the primary source of information, and the learners passively receive it. This model of the teacher as the “sage on the stage” has been in education for a long time, and it is still very much in evidence today. However, because of the access to information and educational opportunity that technology has enabled, in many classrooms today we see the teacher’s role shifting to the “guide on the side” as students take more responsibility for their own learning using technology to gather relevant information. Schools and universities across the country are beginning to redesign learning spaces to enable this new model of education, foster more interaction and small group work, and use technology as an enabler.

Technology is a powerful tool that can support and transform education in many ways, from making it easier for teachers to create instructional materials to enabling new ways for people to learn and work together. With the worldwide reach of the Internet and the ubiquity of smart devices that can connect to it, a new age of anytime anywhere education is dawning. It will be up to instructional designers and educational technologies to make the most of the opportunities provided by technology to change education so that effective and efficient education is available to everyone everywhere.

You can help shape the influence of technology in education with an Online Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology from Purdue University Online. This accredited program offers studies in exciting new technologies that are shaping education and offers students the opportunity to take part in the future of innovation.

Learn more about the online MSEd in Learning Design and Technology at Purdue University today and help redefine the way in which individuals learn. Call (877) 497-5851 to speak with an admissions advisor or click here to request more information.

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Exploring the Benefits of Technology in Education

One of the most important aspects of technology in education is its ability to level the field of opportunity for students John King , Jr., U.S. Secretary of Education 2016–2017

From the printing press to the virtual classroom, technology has long been vital for simplifying and empowering teachers and learners. Technology in education enhances learning opportunities for students, improves engagement, and facilitates efficient teaching and classroom management—but only when it is properly implemented.

Today, technology benefits learners by preparing them for the digital age and promoting 21st-century skills. Here’s what educators need to know about maximizing the benefits of technology in education, the most popular technology tools to consider, and how to best use technology within the classroom.

Benefits of Technology in Education

Technology is a versatile tool, one that can affect all aspects of education—from assisting with the creation of curricula to facilitating communication, automating evaluations, and empowering learners to be more active in their own learning. When properly employed, educational technology can result in the following benefits:

  • Increased engagement and motivation: One of the greatest impacts of modern technology is how it can make learning more interactive and engaging for all learners. Multimedia instruction that uses audio, video, animation, or software applications can help learners visualize and understand complex concepts. The gamification of learning through educational apps and other software presents novel ways to capture learners’ attention and encourage active participation.
Kids coming out of our SmartLab are thinkers. They don’t just do school, they’re engaged in school. They question things. They wonder about things. They do not simply complete a task. This sounds silly, but our kids are not absent on the days they know they’re coming to the SmartLab. Paige Kraus, Facilitator, Encompass Heights Elementary | Public |Colorado Springs, CO
  • Differentiated and personalized instruction: Technology’s capability to differentiate instruction is a powerful tool for meeting the diverse needs of learners. With adaptive software and online tools, teachers can tailor their instruction, resources, and activities to accommodate the different abilities of individual learners. Providing various resources through technology allows learners to make meaning of content using multiple senses, helping them learn at their own pace and level. Instructors can optimize the presentation of content depending on the needs of the classroom. For example, to teach the impact of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the Civil Rights Movement, it may be valuable to review audio and video recordings of the speech alongside the written text so students can see how King’s emphasis on certain phrases, words, and imagery augment his message.
  • Greater accessibility: Assistive technologies and software can provide support for learners who require special accommodations, such as those with learning or physical disabilities. By making education more accessible to all, technology can be transformational and empowering for students with and without special needs. For example, the Universal Design for Learning guidelines recommend implementing multiple ways of making meaning through auditory, visual, and textual information. By providing multiple ways for learners to compose and communicate their ideas and navigate and organize content, you reduce barriers and maximize learning opportunities. In effect, learning that works for those with accessibility requirements works for everyone.
We purposely paired [our students with dyslexia] with SmartLab because [they] struggle with literacy. But research shows us they are highly, highly creative… They come to SmartLab, they don’t have to have those literacy skills. They thrive. They know they can use their creativity and their problem solving and they’re going to be successful. Paige Kraus
  • Increased and easier access to information: Digital technology and the Internet provide both students and teachers with greater access to information and educational resources. For learners, this means more ways to conduct research, exposure to global news, and the ability to collaborate with other classrooms anywhere in the world. For instructors, this can offer more ways to collaborate with other education professionals, additional resources for professional development, and a more comprehensive overview of student performance.
  • Enhanced collaboration and communication: Digital and online technology offers learners the ability to communicate with their teachers and peers—even across geographical boundaries. Online programs can support teamwork and collaboration skills, giving learners the means to draw and write together on projects even if they’re on opposite sides of the country. Other communication tools, such as video conferencing and learning management systems, offer learners more opportunities for one-on-one meetings with instructors and more options for completing assignments while at home or away from the classroom.
I think that collaboration and teamwork really is built in a space like a SmartLab to encourage ideas of how [students] can perform in a future job… Having some foundational skills of collaboration and communication and teamwork are super important. If [students] have a partner, they want to pull them in, and they’re more than happy to communicate with their partners. Kay Boldrjack, Facilitator, Charles Hay World School | Public | Englewood, CO.
  • More tools for providing immediate feedback: Not only can technology make it more convenient for an instructor to provide feedback; but automated programs can also provide instant feedback on assignments, allowing learners to identify and address their mistakes promptly. More advanced programs can even provide differentiated and scaffolded adaptive feedback, which can help students move beyond making simple corrections and guide them in creating more effective revisions. Technology also presents the opportunity for instructors to receive more direct feedback from learners. The use of student response systems, such as smartphones or other mobile devices, can provide a quick and immediate way for instructors to survey a class to see if instruction is clear or if more explanation is required.
  • Increased efficiency and organization: For both instructors and learners, technology can help save time and effort when completing tasks. Different platforms can make it easier for instructors to manage administrative tasks such as lesson planning, grading, and taking attendance. Students can benefit from instant access to project resources, assignment instructions, and their grades.
  • Long-term cost savings: Although there is an initial cost for investing in new technology, over time digital resources and online materials can reduce the costs associated with replacing traditional textbooks and printed materials. Making the shift to Open Educational Resources (OER) can provide additional cost savings and increase access to content.
  • Relevant to real-world technological skills: As technology is increasingly an integral part of modern life and the workforce, technology in the classroom plays a key role in helping students develop digital skills. Beyond preparing for future jobs, educational technology can help students learn how to be responsible in today’s digital world.
By moving beyond textbooks and theory, investing in SmartLab technology gives students a chance to succeed in an ever-changing, fast moving environment while fostering essential skills such as communication, flexibility, creativity, and collaboration. We’re equipping students with the tools, resources, and confidence to adapt to new technologies and ideas that push the world forward. Travis Brantingham, Head of School, The Principia School | St. Louis, MO.

Popular Educational Technology Tools and Programs

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There are hundreds of educational tools, software, platforms, and other technological resources available—so finding the right one that fits your school’s needs and budget can be a challenge. Here’s a list of some of the most popular and useful tools to help point you in the right direction.

Online learning

  • Khan Academy — Free virtual learning classroom featuring videos and quizzes for students ages 5+.
  • Explain Everything — Interactive whiteboard for teaching, creating interactive lessons, and collaborating in real-time.
  • ThingLink — Multimedia editor for creating interactive images, videos, and virtual tours with additional information and links.

Student creation

  • Code.org — Nonprofit platform that provides resources for students of all ages to code.
  • Animationish — Web-based animation creation program, designed primarily for elementary students.
  • Canva for Education — Widely-used photo and video editing program that provides access to thousands of templates that can help students start creating quickly.

Virtual meetings

  • Zoom — Online video conferencing platform for virtual instruction, meetings, webinars, and live chat.
  • Google Meet — Online video conferencing platform available to anyone with a Google account.
  • Flip — Free web and mobile app that enables learners and instructors to record, edit, and share video assignments.

Flipped learning

  • Animoto — Simple video maker program used to create instructional videos or enable learners to create their own content.
  • EdPuzzle — Easy-to-use media creation tool that combines text, video, and audio annotations to deepen learner comprehension and retention
  • Knowmia — Video creation program with assessment and analytics tools to track student engagement.

Classroom management

  • LANschool — Classroom management software to provide online one-on-one learning experiences and collaboration through connected classrooms.
  • Hāpara — Comprehensive learning environment software that can be integrated directly into Chromebook management.
  • Class Dojo — Free classroom management system designed for primary school learners.

Gamification

  • Prodigy — Adaptive learning platform that provides students with personalized and gamified learning for math.
  • Nearpod — Platform to create interactive slides, videos, and gamified activities to engage students.
  • Quizizz — Platform to create gamified assessments and interactive lessons for all content areas and grade levels.

Looking for additional lists of educational tools and resources for STEM classes? See our companion blog post on STEM Education Companies & Organizations .

8 Tips for Implementing Educational Technology in the Classroom

While technology offers numerous benefits, its integration into the classroom requires intentional planning, training, and support. Whatever the tools or applications your school will use, remember to stay true to the overall goals of improving learner access, engagement, and communication.

  • Always evaluate technology to determine how it will support intended learning outcomes. In what ways will it enable students to achieve the objectives of a lesson or project? Are there ways to gamify certain assignments and topics? Be willing to take risks and explore new technology tools.
  • Consider how the technology will fit into your classroom and existing lesson plans. What resources will you have access to? For example, will learners share a pod of computers? Will they need to schedule time to access a computer lab? Or will students have 1:1 laptops or Chromebooks? The resources available both in the classroom and at home will determine how you can enhance student learning.
  • Be sure to support students with clear instructions and guidance. Aside from understanding the goals of a project or assignment, learners will need to be confident in using the technology and accessing all of the resources. Consider offering training sessions or setting up a tech support system to help students who are struggling. Don’t worry if you aren’t a technology expert yourself; you should be able to make use of your school’s IT support services (see #7) or review online tutorials to build your own proficiency with technology tools.
  • You’ll want to monitor and assess student progress to make sure they’re not struggling with the technology and that they’re using it appropriately. Use available analytics features to gather data, track student progress, and provide immediate feedback when needed. This can help you identify areas where students need additional support and will inform how you can adjust your teaching strategies accordingly. Consider employing polls or survey platforms to gather student feedback about what they like about using the technology and where they feel they need assistance.
  • Developing readers at the elementary level can use technology to create graphical representations of stories using simple “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) tools.
  • Middle school learners can enhance the effectiveness of their presentations and projects by using online tools for research and simulating complex science phenomena.
  • High school learners can leverage more advanced technology tools to understand, model, simulate, and create with increased sophistication, as well as share their achievements online to reach wider audiences.
  • Always have a non-technology backup plan. Machines break, software can have bugs, and the internet can go out. In the case of a minor issue, you can consider troubleshooting the problem with the students for an impromptu learning exercise. And, of course, always know who to call for help.
  • Make use of your school’s IT staff and tech support. Beyond solving problems, you should find ways to collaborate with them to thoroughly vet the privacyand safety standards of any new technology before rolling it out in the classroom. Forming strong relationships with tech support personnel can make it easier to request timely support and integration of tools. You can also find new avenues for integration through their suggestions.
  • Remember that technology can never fully replace the human relationships essential to effective teaching and learning. When developing your curriculum, consider how to balance educational technology with established best practices in teaching to provide well-rounded experiences for your students. Technology works best when it supplements existing best practices in the classroom to provide new opportunities for students. For example, when Danbury Local School District saw that standardized test scores had plateaued for their gifted students, they started looking for a way to challenge their gifted learners beyond simply assigning more complex worksheets or projects. Read the full case study to see how the incorporation of technology into the classroom helped them achieve an increase in standardized testing scores and improvement in overall student behavior.

How does technology in education benefit students?

Educational technology enhances the learning experience, providing greater accessibility to content, allowing for more personalized instruction, fostering communication and collaboration, and preparing them for the challenges of the modern world.

How does technology in education benefit instructors?

Educational technology supports teachers both in instruction and professional development. Edtech can automate tasks, enable instant feedback, and provide access to learning analytics and additional resources. It also provides instructors with more tools for professional collaboration and opportunities to attend meetings, training sessions, webinars, and more.

How can I get the most out of using tech in the classroom?

Instructors should start by ensuring the use of technology in the classroom aligns with established learning objectives and standards. From there, talk with IT and tech support to discuss how technology can be incorporated and supported. Over time, evaluate the effectiveness of the technology and how learners are using the available tools, being open to feedback and making adjustments where necessary. 

How can we support students to use technology appropriately in the classroom?

Instruction, direction, and oversight are important to ensure that learners are using technology appropriately and safely. Learners should have clear directions and expectations about how to use tools and software. Instructors will need to provide guidance to students—either directly within the classroom or by reviewing their progress online. 

How can we protect student privacy when using technology?

It’s important to have a designated expert identify and vet all websites and applications for use. That person should verify that the terms of service and privacy policy are clear in how they collect user data. Once that designated expert creates a list of approved technology, learners and instructors should only use applications and software from that list. Parental consent should be required for any disclosure of personal data.

How can technology support learning outside of the classroom?

Technology can support learning outside of the classroom by providing opportunities for independent study, personalized learning, and continued skill development. Students can access multimedia resources such as eBooks, digital textbooks, videos, and interactive programs to supplement their in-class instruction. Technology can also allow for flipped classrooms, where students watch videos of lectures while at home, and then come into the classroom to participate in activities related to that instruction.

Phil Mayhoffer

Phil Mayhoffer

Phil Mayhoffer loves to explore how creativity, curiosity, and play interact throughout the process of learning. As a middle school teacher for four years, he dove into design thinking and project-based learning to make his classroom a place to foster and support innovation in his students. He believes that one of the primary purposes of our existence is to learn how to create and thereby contribute to the beauty of the world around us. Phil strives to weave that purpose into the work he does by setting the stage for rich learning experiences that harness the power of play and empower learners to make a difference.

Looking for ways to choose educational technology for your own classroom?

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Information and communication technology (ICT) in education

Information and communications technology (ict) can impact student learning when teachers are digitally literate and understand how to integrate it into curriculum..

Schools use a diverse set of ICT tools to communicate, create, disseminate, store, and manage information.(6) In some contexts, ICT has also become integral to the teaching-learning interaction, through such approaches as replacing chalkboards with interactive digital whiteboards, using students’ own smartphones or other devices for learning during class time, and the “flipped classroom” model where students watch lectures at home on the computer and use classroom time for more interactive exercises.

When teachers are digitally literate and trained to use ICT, these approaches can lead to higher order thinking skills, provide creative and individualized options for students to express their understandings, and leave students better prepared to deal with ongoing technological change in society and the workplace.(18)

ICT issues planners must consider include: considering the total cost-benefit equation, supplying and maintaining the requisite infrastructure, and ensuring investments are matched with teacher support and other policies aimed at effective ICT use.(16)

Issues and Discussion

Digital culture and digital literacy: Computer technologies and other aspects of digital culture have changed the ways people live, work, play, and learn, impacting the construction and distribution of knowledge and power around the world.(14) Graduates who are less familiar with digital culture are increasingly at a disadvantage in the national and global economy. Digital literacy—the skills of searching for, discerning, and producing information, as well as the critical use of new media for full participation in society—has thus become an important consideration for curriculum frameworks.(8)

In many countries, digital literacy is being built through the incorporation of information and communication technology (ICT) into schools. Some common educational applications of ICT include:

  • One laptop per child: Less expensive laptops have been designed for use in school on a 1:1 basis with features like lower power consumption, a low cost operating system, and special re-programming and mesh network functions.(42) Despite efforts to reduce costs, however, providing one laptop per child may be too costly for some developing countries.(41)
  • Tablets: Tablets are small personal computers with a touch screen, allowing input without a keyboard or mouse. Inexpensive learning software (“apps”) can be downloaded onto tablets, making them a versatile tool for learning.(7)(25) The most effective apps develop higher order thinking skills and provide creative and individualized options for students to express their understandings.(18)
  • Interactive White Boards or Smart Boards : Interactive white boards allow projected computer images to be displayed, manipulated, dragged, clicked, or copied.(3) Simultaneously, handwritten notes can be taken on the board and saved for later use. Interactive white boards are associated with whole-class instruction rather than student-centred activities.(38) Student engagement is generally higher when ICT is available for student use throughout the classroom.(4)
  • E-readers : E-readers are electronic devices that can hold hundreds of books in digital form, and they are increasingly utilized in the delivery of reading material.(19) Students—both skilled readers and reluctant readers—have had positive responses to the use of e-readers for independent reading.(22) Features of e-readers that can contribute to positive use include their portability and long battery life, response to text, and the ability to define unknown words.(22) Additionally, many classic book titles are available for free in e-book form.
  • Flipped Classrooms: The flipped classroom model, involving lecture and practice at home via computer-guided instruction and interactive learning activities in class, can allow for an expanded curriculum. There is little investigation on the student learning outcomes of flipped classrooms.(5) Student perceptions about flipped classrooms are mixed, but generally positive, as they prefer the cooperative learning activities in class over lecture.(5)(35)

ICT and Teacher Professional Development: Teachers need specific professional development opportunities in order to increase their ability to use ICT for formative learning assessments, individualized instruction, accessing online resources, and for fostering student interaction and collaboration.(15) Such training in ICT should positively impact teachers’ general attitudes towards ICT in the classroom, but it should also provide specific guidance on ICT teaching and learning within each discipline. Without this support, teachers tend to use ICT for skill-based applications, limiting student academic thinking.(32) To sup­port teachers as they change their teaching, it is also essential for education managers, supervisors, teacher educators, and decision makers to be trained in ICT use.(11)

Ensuring benefits of ICT investments: To ensure the investments made in ICT benefit students, additional conditions must be met. School policies need to provide schools with the minimum acceptable infrastructure for ICT, including stable and affordable internet connectivity and security measures such as filters and site blockers. Teacher policies need to target basic ICT literacy skills, ICT use in pedagogical settings, and discipline-specific uses. (21) Successful imple­mentation of ICT requires integration of ICT in the curriculum. Finally, digital content needs to be developed in local languages and reflect local culture. (40) Ongoing technical, human, and organizational supports on all of these issues are needed to ensure access and effective use of ICT. (21)

Resource Constrained Contexts: The total cost of ICT ownership is considerable: training of teachers and administrators, connectivity, technical support, and software, amongst others. (42) When bringing ICT into classrooms, policies should use an incremental pathway, establishing infrastructure and bringing in sustainable and easily upgradable ICT. (16) Schools in some countries have begun allowing students to bring their own mobile technology (such as laptop, tablet, or smartphone) into class rather than providing such tools to all students—an approach called Bring Your Own Device. (1)(27)(34) However, not all families can afford devices or service plans for their children. (30) Schools must ensure all students have equitable access to ICT devices for learning.

Inclusiveness Considerations

Digital Divide: The digital divide refers to disparities of digital media and internet access both within and across countries, as well as the gap between people with and without the digital literacy and skills to utilize media and internet.(23)(26)(31) The digital divide both creates and reinforces socio-economic inequalities of the world’s poorest people. Policies need to intentionally bridge this divide to bring media, internet, and digital literacy to all students, not just those who are easiest to reach.

Minority language groups: Students whose mother tongue is different from the official language of instruction are less likely to have computers and internet connections at home than students from the majority. There is also less material available to them online in their own language, putting them at a disadvantage in comparison to their majority peers who gather information, prepare talks and papers, and communicate more using ICT. (39) Yet ICT tools can also help improve the skills of minority language students—especially in learning the official language of instruction—through features such as automatic speech recognition, the availability of authentic audio-visual materials, and chat functions. (2)(17)

Students with different styles of learning: ICT can provide diverse options for taking in and processing information, making sense of ideas, and expressing learning. Over 87% of students learn best through visual and tactile modalities, and ICT can help these students ‘experience’ the information instead of just reading and hearing it. (20)(37) Mobile devices can also offer programmes (“apps”) that provide extra support to students with special needs, with features such as simplified screens and instructions, consistent placement of menus and control features, graphics combined with text, audio feedback, ability to set pace and level of difficulty, appropriate and unambiguous feedback, and easy error correction. (24)(29)

Plans and policies

  • India [ PDF ]
  • Detroit, USA [ PDF ]
  • Finland [ PDF ]
  • Alberta Education. 2012. Bring your own device: A guide for schools . Retrieved from http://education.alberta.ca/admin/technology/research.aspx
  • Alsied, S.M. and Pathan, M.M. 2015. ‘The use of computer technology in EFL classroom: Advantages and implications.’ International Journal of English Language and Translation Studies . 1 (1).
  • BBC. N.D. ‘What is an interactive whiteboard?’ Retrieved from http://www.bbcactive.com/BBCActiveIdeasandResources/Whatisaninteractivewhiteboard.aspx
  • Beilefeldt, T. 2012. ‘Guidance for technology decisions from classroom observation.’ Journal of Research on Technology in Education . 44 (3).
  • Bishop, J.L. and Verleger, M.A. 2013. ‘The flipped classroom: A survey of the research.’ Presented at the 120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition. Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Blurton, C. 2000. New Directions of ICT-Use in Education . United National Education Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO).
  • Bryant, B.R., Ok, M., Kang, E.Y., Kim, M.K., Lang, R., Bryant, D.P. and Pfannestiel, K. 2015. ‘Performance of fourth-grade students with learning disabilities on multiplication facts comparing teacher-mediated and technology-mediated interventions: A preliminary investigation. Journal of Behavioral Education. 24.
  • Buckingham, D. 2005. Educación en medios. Alfabetización, aprendizaje y cultura contemporánea, Barcelona, Paidós.
  • Buckingham, D., Sefton-Green, J., and Scanlon, M. 2001. 'Selling the Digital Dream: Marketing Education Technologies to Teachers and Parents.'  ICT, Pedagogy, and the Curriculum: Subject to Change . London: Routledge.
  • "Burk, R. 2001. 'E-book devices and the marketplace: In search of customers.' Library Hi Tech 19 (4)."
  • Chapman, D., and Mählck, L. (Eds). 2004. Adapting technology for school improvement: a global perspective. Paris: International Institute for Educational Planning.
  • Cheung, A.C.K and Slavin, R.E. 2012. ‘How features of educational technology applications affect student reading outcomes: A meta-analysis.’ Educational Research Review . 7.
  • Cheung, A.C.K and Slavin, R.E. 2013. ‘The effectiveness of educational technology applications for enhancing mathematics achievement in K-12 classrooms: A meta-analysis.’ Educational Research Review . 9.
  • Deuze, M. 2006. 'Participation Remediation Bricolage - Considering Principal Components of a Digital Culture.' The Information Society . 22 .
  • Dunleavy, M., Dextert, S. and Heinecke, W.F. 2007. ‘What added value does a 1:1 student to laptop ratio bring to technology-supported teaching and learning?’ Journal of Computer Assisted Learning . 23.
  • Enyedy, N. 2014. Personalized Instruction: New Interest, Old Rhetoric, Limited Results, and the Need for a New Direction for Computer-Mediated Learning . Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center.
  • Golonka, E.M., Bowles, A.R., Frank, V.M., Richardson, D.L. and Freynik, S. 2014. ‘Technologies for foreign language learning: A review of technology types and their effectiveness.’ Computer Assisted Language Learning . 27 (1).
  • Goodwin, K. 2012. Use of Tablet Technology in the Classroom . Strathfield, New South Wales: NSW Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre.
  • Jung, J., Chan-Olmsted, S., Park, B., and Kim, Y. 2011. 'Factors affecting e-book reader awareness, interest, and intention to use.' New Media & Society . 14 (2)
  • Kenney, L. 2011. ‘Elementary education, there’s an app for that. Communication technology in the elementary school classroom.’ The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications . 2 (1).
  • Kopcha, T.J. 2012. ‘Teachers’ perceptions of the barriers to technology integration and practices with technology under situated professional development.’ Computers and Education . 59.
  • Miranda, T., Williams-Rossi, D., Johnson, K., and McKenzie, N. 2011. "Reluctant readers in middle school: Successful engagement with text using the e-reader.' International journal of applied science and technology . 1 (6).
  • Moyo, L. 2009. 'The digital divide: scarcity, inequality and conflict.' Digital Cultures . New York: Open University Press.
  • Newton, D.A. and Dell, A.G. 2011. ‘Mobile devices and students with disabilities: What do best practices tell us?’ Journal of Special Education Technology . 26 (3).
  • Nirvi, S. (2011). ‘Special education pupils find learning tool in iPad applications.’ Education Week . 30 .
  • Norris, P. 2001. Digital Divide: Civic Engagement, Information Poverty, and the Internet Worldwide . Cambridge, USA: Cambridge University Press.
  • Project Tomorrow. 2012. Learning in the 21st century: Mobile devices + social media = personalized learning . Washington, D.C.: Blackboard K-12.
  • Riasati, M.J., Allahyar, N. and Tan, K.E. 2012. ‘Technology in language education: Benefits and barriers.’ Journal of Education and Practice . 3 (5).
  • Rodriquez, C.D., Strnadova, I. and Cumming, T. 2013. ‘Using iPads with students with disabilities: Lessons learned from students, teachers, and parents.’ Intervention in School and Clinic . 49 (4).
  • Sangani, K. 2013. 'BYOD to the classroom.' Engineering & Technology . 3 (8).
  • Servon, L. 2002. Redefining the Digital Divide: Technology, Community and Public Policy . Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers.
  • Smeets, E. 2005. ‘Does ICT contribute to powerful learning environments in primary education?’ Computers and Education. 44 .
  • Smith, G.E. and Thorne, S. 2007. Differentiating Instruction with Technology in K-5 Classrooms . Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.
  • Song, Y. 2014. '"Bring your own device (BYOD)" for seamless science inquiry in a primary school.' Computers & Education. 74 .
  • Strayer, J.F. 2012. ‘How learning in an inverted classroom influences cooperation, innovation and task orientation.’ Learning Environment Research. 15.
  • Tamim, R.M., Bernard, R.M., Borokhovski, E., Abrami, P.C. and Schmid, R.F. 2011. ‘What forty years of research says about the impact of technology on learning: A second-order meta-analysis and validation study. Review of Educational Research. 81 (1).
  • Tileston, D.W. 2003. What Every Teacher Should Know about Media and Technology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  • Turel, Y.K. and Johnson, T.E. 2012. ‘Teachers’ belief and use of interactive whiteboards for teaching and learning.’ Educational Technology and Society . 15(1).
  • Volman, M., van Eck, E., Heemskerk, I. and Kuiper, E. 2005. ‘New technologies, new differences. Gender and ethnic differences in pupils’ use of ICT in primary and secondary education.’ Computers and Education. 45 .
  • Voogt, J., Knezek, G., Cox, M., Knezek, D. and ten Brummelhuis, A. 2013. ‘Under which conditions does ICT have a positive effect on teaching and learning? A call to action.’ Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. 29 (1).
  • Warschauer, M. and Ames, M. 2010. ‘Can one laptop per child save the world’s poor?’ Journal of International Affairs. 64 (1).
  • Zuker, A.A. and Light, D. 2009. ‘Laptop programs for students.’ Science. 323 (5910).

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Technology In Education Essay

Essay On Technology In Education- Technology makes education very easy. Technology is now very essential to maintaining society, and it will definitely have an impact on education. In today's life, technology has made study easier. Here are 100, 200 and 500 word essays on Technology In Education

Technology plays a huge part in education. The students' learning process gets simpler as technology advances. Students can easily learn the concepts thanks to technologies utilised in schools and universities, such as computer labs and high-end equipment and instruments. In today's life, technology has made study easier. Here are some sample essays on Technology In Education

Technology In Education Essay

100 Words Essay On Technology In Education

Technology makes education very easy. Technology is now essential to maintaining society, and it will definitely have an impact on education. Previously teachers didn't allow students to use technology in education. Today's everything is connected to technology including education,communication, etc. Although technology has been a part of our lives for many years, the development and use of technology in education have only lately started to take shape. One of the most crucial things we have now that can help students perform better academically is technology. As technology advances, it creates new opportunities for students to interact and learn through a variety of sources. Online classes are the best example of technology.

200 Words Essay On Technology In Education

The word "technology" is derived from the Greek word "tekhnologia," where "tekh" signifies an art, a skill, etc., and "logy" defines a subject of interest. Technology makes our tasks easy and makes life easy. Today, technology plays a significant role in our lives and offers a digital platform. The term "smart classes" is being used increasingly in schools and colleges, and these classes are the best use of technology.

Technology And Education

Technology made education easy and attractive. Students study because of technology with their mobile phones and laptops.

By using technology, online classes have started, and students love doing smart classes.

Technology keeps students updated on the world and shows the right direction to do good in education.

Through technology, students can read newspapers daily wise. Technology made education easy and attractive.

From technology, schools make their app and take attendance online, which helps the environment also by not using paper and pen.

Technology attracts children more, which helps them to choose their path.

Education should not be done with only books; students should get a chance to explore their knowledge and try something new. Technology is the best thing to explore. By using technology, students' knowledge will grow faster than before.

500 Words Essay On Technology In Education

Technology has become an integral part of education because of different apps and websites. Nowadays, if you want to clear your doubts or to know your syllabus, everything is available online. Nowadays, education is nothing without technology.

Is Technology Helpful In Education?

Yes, technology is helpful to education. Nowadays, you will see the difference in how technology has changed teaching. In older days, students read from their books, and if they faced any problem, they would ask their teachers the next day at school or for tuition.

But nowadays, students clear their doubts by using apps and websites. Due to technology, they can also ask a question or can have live interaction with their teachers personally. Education has progressed a lot.

Technology has made education easy, and today we have multiple options to clear our doubts and interact online with our teachers. Nowadays, we have easy access to the internet, and other helping apps have made education accessible and exciting.

Technology is essential for students. Parents and teachers should permit their children to use technology for their students because time has changed, and the mode of education should also be changed. Students should be given a chance to learn something new and exciting and technology makes it possible.

Different Technologies for Education

Many devices make education easier for students and clear students' doubts. Some of them are-

Laptops | One of the best tools for learning is a laptop. You can obtain information on the Internet either in written form, video form, or audio form. On several applications and websites, you can find tutors who can give you a thorough explanation. Students can acquire extensive information and have their questions answered thanks to it. You may effortlessly visit several educational portals using a laptop.

Smartphone | Smartphones are smaller versions of laptops; you can use them more easily than laptops and take them with you wherever you go. It is user-friendly due to its compact size and simple internet connection. Students can speak with their teacher about questions using a smartphone. Many students have smartphones, which they use for academic purposes. Numerous apps were available for students on mobile devices.

Kindle for Textbooks | Kindle Textbooks are a type of online book. Kindle books are available at half the price of paper books. This helps to reduce the production of paper, which allows our environment and online books to be easily stored. Kindle Textbooks are popular these days. Many students use them.

My Experience

From the 12th standard, I used a smartphone and laptop for education. Technology makes study easier. When I didn't understand something from school, I used to look for those online and try to clear all my doubts by watching topic specific videos. In my school days, I learned different crafts and drawing skills by watching videos online. I used to take help from online videos to understand many science experiments and easy tricks to solve various mathematical questions. Technology in education is perfect for the future because the use of technology in education will bring a drastic change in our education system.

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Bio Medical Engineer

The field of biomedical engineering opens up a universe of expert chances. An Individual in the biomedical engineering career path work in the field of engineering as well as medicine, in order to find out solutions to common problems of the two fields. The biomedical engineering job opportunities are to collaborate with doctors and researchers to develop medical systems, equipment, or devices that can solve clinical problems. Here we will be discussing jobs after biomedical engineering, how to get a job in biomedical engineering, biomedical engineering scope, and salary. 

Data Administrator

Database professionals use software to store and organise data such as financial information, and customer shipping records. Individuals who opt for a career as data administrators ensure that data is available for users and secured from unauthorised sales. DB administrators may work in various types of industries. It may involve computer systems design, service firms, insurance companies, banks and hospitals.

Ethical Hacker

A career as ethical hacker involves various challenges and provides lucrative opportunities in the digital era where every giant business and startup owns its cyberspace on the world wide web. Individuals in the ethical hacker career path try to find the vulnerabilities in the cyber system to get its authority. If he or she succeeds in it then he or she gets its illegal authority. Individuals in the ethical hacker career path then steal information or delete the file that could affect the business, functioning, or services of the organization.

Data Analyst

The invention of the database has given fresh breath to the people involved in the data analytics career path. Analysis refers to splitting up a whole into its individual components for individual analysis. Data analysis is a method through which raw data are processed and transformed into information that would be beneficial for user strategic thinking.

Data are collected and examined to respond to questions, evaluate hypotheses or contradict theories. It is a tool for analyzing, transforming, modeling, and arranging data with useful knowledge, to assist in decision-making and methods, encompassing various strategies, and is used in different fields of business, research, and social science.

Geothermal Engineer

Individuals who opt for a career as geothermal engineers are the professionals involved in the processing of geothermal energy. The responsibilities of geothermal engineers may vary depending on the workplace location. Those who work in fields design facilities to process and distribute geothermal energy. They oversee the functioning of machinery used in the field.

Remote Sensing Technician

Individuals who opt for a career as a remote sensing technician possess unique personalities. Remote sensing analysts seem to be rational human beings, they are strong, independent, persistent, sincere, realistic and resourceful. Some of them are analytical as well, which means they are intelligent, introspective and inquisitive. 

Remote sensing scientists use remote sensing technology to support scientists in fields such as community planning, flight planning or the management of natural resources. Analysing data collected from aircraft, satellites or ground-based platforms using statistical analysis software, image analysis software or Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a significant part of their work. Do you want to learn how to become remote sensing technician? There's no need to be concerned; we've devised a simple remote sensing technician career path for you. Scroll through the pages and read.

Geotechnical engineer

The role of geotechnical engineer starts with reviewing the projects needed to define the required material properties. The work responsibilities are followed by a site investigation of rock, soil, fault distribution and bedrock properties on and below an area of interest. The investigation is aimed to improve the ground engineering design and determine their engineering properties that include how they will interact with, on or in a proposed construction. 

The role of geotechnical engineer in mining includes designing and determining the type of foundations, earthworks, and or pavement subgrades required for the intended man-made structures to be made. Geotechnical engineering jobs are involved in earthen and concrete dam construction projects, working under a range of normal and extreme loading conditions. 

Cartographer

How fascinating it is to represent the whole world on just a piece of paper or a sphere. With the help of maps, we are able to represent the real world on a much smaller scale. Individuals who opt for a career as a cartographer are those who make maps. But, cartography is not just limited to maps, it is about a mixture of art , science , and technology. As a cartographer, not only you will create maps but use various geodetic surveys and remote sensing systems to measure, analyse, and create different maps for political, cultural or educational purposes.

Budget Analyst

Budget analysis, in a nutshell, entails thoroughly analyzing the details of a financial budget. The budget analysis aims to better understand and manage revenue. Budget analysts assist in the achievement of financial targets, the preservation of profitability, and the pursuit of long-term growth for a business. Budget analysts generally have a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, economics, or a closely related field. Knowledge of Financial Management is of prime importance in this career.

Product Manager

A Product Manager is a professional responsible for product planning and marketing. He or she manages the product throughout the Product Life Cycle, gathering and prioritising the product. A product manager job description includes defining the product vision and working closely with team members of other departments to deliver winning products.  

Underwriter

An underwriter is a person who assesses and evaluates the risk of insurance in his or her field like mortgage, loan, health policy, investment, and so on and so forth. The underwriter career path does involve risks as analysing the risks means finding out if there is a way for the insurance underwriter jobs to recover the money from its clients. If the risk turns out to be too much for the company then in the future it is an underwriter who will be held accountable for it. Therefore, one must carry out his or her job with a lot of attention and diligence.

Finance Executive

Operations manager.

Individuals in the operations manager jobs are responsible for ensuring the efficiency of each department to acquire its optimal goal. They plan the use of resources and distribution of materials. The operations manager's job description includes managing budgets, negotiating contracts, and performing administrative tasks.

Bank Probationary Officer (PO)

Investment director.

An investment director is a person who helps corporations and individuals manage their finances. They can help them develop a strategy to achieve their goals, including paying off debts and investing in the future. In addition, he or she can help individuals make informed decisions.

Welding Engineer

Welding Engineer Job Description: A Welding Engineer work involves managing welding projects and supervising welding teams. He or she is responsible for reviewing welding procedures, processes and documentation. A career as Welding Engineer involves conducting failure analyses and causes on welding issues. 

Transportation Planner

A career as Transportation Planner requires technical application of science and technology in engineering, particularly the concepts, equipment and technologies involved in the production of products and services. In fields like land use, infrastructure review, ecological standards and street design, he or she considers issues of health, environment and performance. A Transportation Planner assigns resources for implementing and designing programmes. He or she is responsible for assessing needs, preparing plans and forecasts and compliance with regulations.

An expert in plumbing is aware of building regulations and safety standards and works to make sure these standards are upheld. Testing pipes for leakage using air pressure and other gauges, and also the ability to construct new pipe systems by cutting, fitting, measuring and threading pipes are some of the other more involved aspects of plumbing. Individuals in the plumber career path are self-employed or work for a small business employing less than ten people, though some might find working for larger entities or the government more desirable.

Construction Manager

Individuals who opt for a career as construction managers have a senior-level management role offered in construction firms. Responsibilities in the construction management career path are assigning tasks to workers, inspecting their work, and coordinating with other professionals including architects, subcontractors, and building services engineers.

Urban Planner

Urban Planning careers revolve around the idea of developing a plan to use the land optimally, without affecting the environment. Urban planning jobs are offered to those candidates who are skilled in making the right use of land to distribute the growing population, to create various communities. 

Urban planning careers come with the opportunity to make changes to the existing cities and towns. They identify various community needs and make short and long-term plans accordingly.

Highway Engineer

Highway Engineer Job Description:  A Highway Engineer is a civil engineer who specialises in planning and building thousands of miles of roads that support connectivity and allow transportation across the country. He or she ensures that traffic management schemes are effectively planned concerning economic sustainability and successful implementation.

Environmental Engineer

Individuals who opt for a career as an environmental engineer are construction professionals who utilise the skills and knowledge of biology, soil science, chemistry and the concept of engineering to design and develop projects that serve as solutions to various environmental problems. 

Naval Architect

A Naval Architect is a professional who designs, produces and repairs safe and sea-worthy surfaces or underwater structures. A Naval Architect stays involved in creating and designing ships, ferries, submarines and yachts with implementation of various principles such as gravity, ideal hull form, buoyancy and stability. 

Orthotist and Prosthetist

Orthotists and Prosthetists are professionals who provide aid to patients with disabilities. They fix them to artificial limbs (prosthetics) and help them to regain stability. There are times when people lose their limbs in an accident. In some other occasions, they are born without a limb or orthopaedic impairment. Orthotists and prosthetists play a crucial role in their lives with fixing them to assistive devices and provide mobility.

Veterinary Doctor

Pathologist.

A career in pathology in India is filled with several responsibilities as it is a medical branch and affects human lives. The demand for pathologists has been increasing over the past few years as people are getting more aware of different diseases. Not only that, but an increase in population and lifestyle changes have also contributed to the increase in a pathologist’s demand. The pathology careers provide an extremely huge number of opportunities and if you want to be a part of the medical field you can consider being a pathologist. If you want to know more about a career in pathology in India then continue reading this article.

Speech Therapist

Gynaecologist.

Gynaecology can be defined as the study of the female body. The job outlook for gynaecology is excellent since there is evergreen demand for one because of their responsibility of dealing with not only women’s health but also fertility and pregnancy issues. Although most women prefer to have a women obstetrician gynaecologist as their doctor, men also explore a career as a gynaecologist and there are ample amounts of male doctors in the field who are gynaecologists and aid women during delivery and childbirth. 

An oncologist is a specialised doctor responsible for providing medical care to patients diagnosed with cancer. He or she uses several therapies to control the cancer and its effect on the human body such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy and biopsy. An oncologist designs a treatment plan based on a pathology report after diagnosing the type of cancer and where it is spreading inside the body.

Audiologist

The audiologist career involves audiology professionals who are responsible to treat hearing loss and proactively preventing the relevant damage. Individuals who opt for a career as an audiologist use various testing strategies with the aim to determine if someone has a normal sensitivity to sounds or not. After the identification of hearing loss, a hearing doctor is required to determine which sections of the hearing are affected, to what extent they are affected, and where the wound causing the hearing loss is found. As soon as the hearing loss is identified, the patients are provided with recommendations for interventions and rehabilitation such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, and appropriate medical referrals. While audiology is a branch of science that studies and researches hearing, balance, and related disorders.

Hospital Administrator

The hospital Administrator is in charge of organising and supervising the daily operations of medical services and facilities. This organising includes managing of organisation’s staff and its members in service, budgets, service reports, departmental reporting and taking reminders of patient care and services.

For an individual who opts for a career as an actor, the primary responsibility is to completely speak to the character he or she is playing and to persuade the crowd that the character is genuine by connecting with them and bringing them into the story. This applies to significant roles and littler parts, as all roles join to make an effective creation. Here in this article, we will discuss how to become an actor in India, actor exams, actor salary in India, and actor jobs. 

Individuals who opt for a career as acrobats create and direct original routines for themselves, in addition to developing interpretations of existing routines. The work of circus acrobats can be seen in a variety of performance settings, including circus, reality shows, sports events like the Olympics, movies and commercials. Individuals who opt for a career as acrobats must be prepared to face rejections and intermittent periods of work. The creativity of acrobats may extend to other aspects of the performance. For example, acrobats in the circus may work with gym trainers, celebrities or collaborate with other professionals to enhance such performance elements as costume and or maybe at the teaching end of the career.

Video Game Designer

Career as a video game designer is filled with excitement as well as responsibilities. A video game designer is someone who is involved in the process of creating a game from day one. He or she is responsible for fulfilling duties like designing the character of the game, the several levels involved, plot, art and similar other elements. Individuals who opt for a career as a video game designer may also write the codes for the game using different programming languages.

Depending on the video game designer job description and experience they may also have to lead a team and do the early testing of the game in order to suggest changes and find loopholes.

Radio Jockey

Radio Jockey is an exciting, promising career and a great challenge for music lovers. If you are really interested in a career as radio jockey, then it is very important for an RJ to have an automatic, fun, and friendly personality. If you want to get a job done in this field, a strong command of the language and a good voice are always good things. Apart from this, in order to be a good radio jockey, you will also listen to good radio jockeys so that you can understand their style and later make your own by practicing.

A career as radio jockey has a lot to offer to deserving candidates. If you want to know more about a career as radio jockey, and how to become a radio jockey then continue reading the article.

Choreographer

The word “choreography" actually comes from Greek words that mean “dance writing." Individuals who opt for a career as a choreographer create and direct original dances, in addition to developing interpretations of existing dances. A Choreographer dances and utilises his or her creativity in other aspects of dance performance. For example, he or she may work with the music director to select music or collaborate with other famous choreographers to enhance such performance elements as lighting, costume and set design.

Videographer

Multimedia specialist.

A multimedia specialist is a media professional who creates, audio, videos, graphic image files, computer animations for multimedia applications. He or she is responsible for planning, producing, and maintaining websites and applications. 

Social Media Manager

A career as social media manager involves implementing the company’s or brand’s marketing plan across all social media channels. Social media managers help in building or improving a brand’s or a company’s website traffic, build brand awareness, create and implement marketing and brand strategy. Social media managers are key to important social communication as well.

Copy Writer

In a career as a copywriter, one has to consult with the client and understand the brief well. A career as a copywriter has a lot to offer to deserving candidates. Several new mediums of advertising are opening therefore making it a lucrative career choice. Students can pursue various copywriter courses such as Journalism , Advertising , Marketing Management . Here, we have discussed how to become a freelance copywriter, copywriter career path, how to become a copywriter in India, and copywriting career outlook. 

Careers in journalism are filled with excitement as well as responsibilities. One cannot afford to miss out on the details. As it is the small details that provide insights into a story. Depending on those insights a journalist goes about writing a news article. A journalism career can be stressful at times but if you are someone who is passionate about it then it is the right choice for you. If you want to know more about the media field and journalist career then continue reading this article.

For publishing books, newspapers, magazines and digital material, editorial and commercial strategies are set by publishers. Individuals in publishing career paths make choices about the markets their businesses will reach and the type of content that their audience will be served. Individuals in book publisher careers collaborate with editorial staff, designers, authors, and freelance contributors who develop and manage the creation of content.

In a career as a vlogger, one generally works for himself or herself. However, once an individual has gained viewership there are several brands and companies that approach them for paid collaboration. It is one of those fields where an individual can earn well while following his or her passion. 

Ever since internet costs got reduced the viewership for these types of content has increased on a large scale. Therefore, a career as a vlogger has a lot to offer. If you want to know more about the Vlogger eligibility, roles and responsibilities then continue reading the article. 

Individuals in the editor career path is an unsung hero of the news industry who polishes the language of the news stories provided by stringers, reporters, copywriters and content writers and also news agencies. Individuals who opt for a career as an editor make it more persuasive, concise and clear for readers. In this article, we will discuss the details of the editor's career path such as how to become an editor in India, editor salary in India and editor skills and qualities.

Linguistic meaning is related to language or Linguistics which is the study of languages. A career as a linguistic meaning, a profession that is based on the scientific study of language, and it's a very broad field with many specialities. Famous linguists work in academia, researching and teaching different areas of language, such as phonetics (sounds), syntax (word order) and semantics (meaning). 

Other researchers focus on specialities like computational linguistics, which seeks to better match human and computer language capacities, or applied linguistics, which is concerned with improving language education. Still, others work as language experts for the government, advertising companies, dictionary publishers and various other private enterprises. Some might work from home as freelance linguists. Philologist, phonologist, and dialectician are some of Linguist synonym. Linguists can study French , German , Italian . 

Public Relation Executive

Travel journalist.

The career of a travel journalist is full of passion, excitement and responsibility. Journalism as a career could be challenging at times, but if you're someone who has been genuinely enthusiastic about all this, then it is the best decision for you. Travel journalism jobs are all about insightful, artfully written, informative narratives designed to cover the travel industry. Travel Journalist is someone who explores, gathers and presents information as a news article.

Quality Controller

A quality controller plays a crucial role in an organisation. He or she is responsible for performing quality checks on manufactured products. He or she identifies the defects in a product and rejects the product. 

A quality controller records detailed information about products with defects and sends it to the supervisor or plant manager to take necessary actions to improve the production process.

Production Manager

Merchandiser.

A QA Lead is in charge of the QA Team. The role of QA Lead comes with the responsibility of assessing services and products in order to determine that he or she meets the quality standards. He or she develops, implements and manages test plans. 

Metallurgical Engineer

A metallurgical engineer is a professional who studies and produces materials that bring power to our world. He or she extracts metals from ores and rocks and transforms them into alloys, high-purity metals and other materials used in developing infrastructure, transportation and healthcare equipment. 

Azure Administrator

An Azure Administrator is a professional responsible for implementing, monitoring, and maintaining Azure Solutions. He or she manages cloud infrastructure service instances and various cloud servers as well as sets up public and private cloud systems. 

AWS Solution Architect

An AWS Solution Architect is someone who specializes in developing and implementing cloud computing systems. He or she has a good understanding of the various aspects of cloud computing and can confidently deploy and manage their systems. He or she troubleshoots the issues and evaluates the risk from the third party. 

Computer Programmer

Careers in computer programming primarily refer to the systematic act of writing code and moreover include wider computer science areas. The word 'programmer' or 'coder' has entered into practice with the growing number of newly self-taught tech enthusiasts. Computer programming careers involve the use of designs created by software developers and engineers and transforming them into commands that can be implemented by computers. These commands result in regular usage of social media sites, word-processing applications and browsers.

ITSM Manager

Information security manager.

Individuals in the information security manager career path involves in overseeing and controlling all aspects of computer security. The IT security manager job description includes planning and carrying out security measures to protect the business data and information from corruption, theft, unauthorised access, and deliberate attack 

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Impacts of digital technologies on education and factors influencing schools' digital capacity and transformation: A literature review

Stella timotheou.

1 CYENS Center of Excellence & Cyprus University of Technology (Cyprus Interaction Lab), Cyprus, CYENS Center of Excellence & Cyprus University of Technology, Nicosia-Limassol, Cyprus

Ourania Miliou

Yiannis dimitriadis.

2 Universidad de Valladolid (UVA), Spain, Valladolid, Spain

Sara Villagrá Sobrino

Nikoleta giannoutsou, romina cachia.

3 JRC - Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Seville, Spain

Alejandra Martínez Monés

Andri ioannou, associated data.

Data sharing not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analysed during the current study.

Digital technologies have brought changes to the nature and scope of education and led education systems worldwide to adopt strategies and policies for ICT integration. The latter brought about issues regarding the quality of teaching and learning with ICTs, especially concerning the understanding, adaptation, and design of the education systems in accordance with current technological trends. These issues were emphasized during the recent COVID-19 pandemic that accelerated the use of digital technologies in education, generating questions regarding digitalization in schools. Specifically, many schools demonstrated a lack of experience and low digital capacity, which resulted in widening gaps, inequalities, and learning losses. Such results have engendered the need for schools to learn and build upon the experience to enhance their digital capacity and preparedness, increase their digitalization levels, and achieve a successful digital transformation. Given that the integration of digital technologies is a complex and continuous process that impacts different actors within the school ecosystem, there is a need to show how these impacts are interconnected and identify the factors that can encourage an effective and efficient change in the school environments. For this purpose, we conducted a non-systematic literature review. The results of the literature review were organized thematically based on the evidence presented about the impact of digital technology on education and the factors that affect the schools’ digital capacity and digital transformation. The findings suggest that ICT integration in schools impacts more than just students’ performance; it affects several other school-related aspects and stakeholders, too. Furthermore, various factors affect the impact of digital technologies on education. These factors are interconnected and play a vital role in the digital transformation process. The study results shed light on how ICTs can positively contribute to the digital transformation of schools and which factors should be considered for schools to achieve effective and efficient change.

Introduction

Digital technologies have brought changes to the nature and scope of education. Versatile and disruptive technological innovations, such as smart devices, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), blockchain, and software applications have opened up new opportunities for advancing teaching and learning (Gaol & Prasolova-Førland, 2021 ; OECD, 2021 ). Hence, in recent years, education systems worldwide have increased their investment in the integration of information and communication technology (ICT) (Fernández-Gutiérrez et al., 2020 ; Lawrence & Tar, 2018 ) and prioritized their educational agendas to adapt strategies or policies around ICT integration (European Commission, 2019 ). The latter brought about issues regarding the quality of teaching and learning with ICTs (Bates, 2015 ), especially concerning the understanding, adaptation, and design of education systems in accordance with current technological trends (Balyer & Öz, 2018 ). Studies have shown that despite the investment made in the integration of technology in schools, the results have not been promising, and the intended outcomes have not yet been achieved (Delgado et al., 2015 ; Lawrence & Tar, 2018 ). These issues were exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced teaching across education levels to move online (Daniel, 2020 ). Online teaching accelerated the use of digital technologies generating questions regarding the process, the nature, the extent, and the effectiveness of digitalization in schools (Cachia et al., 2021 ; König et al., 2020 ). Specifically, many schools demonstrated a lack of experience and low digital capacity, which resulted in widening gaps, inequalities, and learning losses (Blaskó et al., 2021 ; Di Pietro et al, 2020 ). Such results have engendered the need for schools to learn and build upon the experience in order to enhance their digital capacity (European Commission, 2020 ) and increase their digitalization levels (Costa et al., 2021 ). Digitalization offers possibilities for fundamental improvement in schools (OECD, 2021 ; Rott & Marouane, 2018 ) and touches many aspects of a school’s development (Delcker & Ifenthaler, 2021 ) . However, it is a complex process that requires large-scale transformative changes beyond the technical aspects of technology and infrastructure (Pettersson, 2021 ). Namely, digitalization refers to “ a series of deep and coordinated culture, workforce, and technology shifts and operating models ” (Brooks & McCormack, 2020 , p. 3) that brings cultural, organizational, and operational change through the integration of digital technologies (JISC, 2020 ). A successful digital transformation requires that schools increase their digital capacity levels, establishing the necessary “ culture, policies, infrastructure as well as digital competence of students and staff to support the effective integration of technology in teaching and learning practices ” (Costa et al, 2021 , p.163).

Given that the integration of digital technologies is a complex and continuous process that impacts different actors within the school ecosystem (Eng, 2005 ), there is a need to show how the different elements of the impact are interconnected and to identify the factors that can encourage an effective and efficient change in the school environment. To address the issues outlined above, we formulated the following research questions:

a) What is the impact of digital technologies on education?

b) Which factors might affect a school’s digital capacity and transformation?

In the present investigation, we conducted a non-systematic literature review of publications pertaining to the impact of digital technologies on education and the factors that affect a school’s digital capacity and transformation. The results of the literature review were organized thematically based on the evidence presented about the impact of digital technology on education and the factors which affect the schools’ digital capacity and digital transformation.

Methodology

The non-systematic literature review presented herein covers the main theories and research published over the past 17 years on the topic. It is based on meta-analyses and review papers found in scholarly, peer-reviewed content databases and other key studies and reports related to the concepts studied (e.g., digitalization, digital capacity) from professional and international bodies (e.g., the OECD). We searched the Scopus database, which indexes various online journals in the education sector with an international scope, to collect peer-reviewed academic papers. Furthermore, we used an all-inclusive Google Scholar search to include relevant key terms or to include studies found in the reference list of the peer-reviewed papers, and other key studies and reports related to the concepts studied by professional and international bodies. Lastly, we gathered sources from the Publications Office of the European Union ( https://op.europa.eu/en/home ); namely, documents that refer to policies related to digital transformation in education.

Regarding search terms, we first searched resources on the impact of digital technologies on education by performing the following search queries: “impact” OR “effects” AND “digital technologies” AND “education”, “impact” OR “effects” AND “ICT” AND “education”. We further refined our results by adding the terms “meta-analysis” and “review” or by adjusting the search options based on the features of each database to avoid collecting individual studies that would provide limited contributions to a particular domain. We relied on meta-analyses and review studies as these consider the findings of multiple studies to offer a more comprehensive view of the research in a given area (Schuele & Justice, 2006 ). Specifically, meta-analysis studies provided quantitative evidence based on statistically verifiable results regarding the impact of educational interventions that integrate digital technologies in school classrooms (Higgins et al., 2012 ; Tolani-Brown et al., 2011 ).

However, quantitative data does not offer explanations for the challenges or difficulties experienced during ICT integration in learning and teaching (Tolani-Brown et al., 2011 ). To fill this gap, we analyzed literature reviews and gathered in-depth qualitative evidence of the benefits and implications of technology integration in schools. In the analysis presented herein, we also included policy documents and reports from professional and international bodies and governmental reports, which offered useful explanations of the key concepts of this study and provided recent evidence on digital capacity and transformation in education along with policy recommendations. The inclusion and exclusion criteria that were considered in this study are presented in Table ​ Table1 1 .

Inclusion and exclusion criteria for the selection of resources on the impact of digital technologies on education

To ensure a reliable extraction of information from each study and assist the research synthesis we selected the study characteristics of interest (impact) and constructed coding forms. First, an overview of the synthesis was provided by the principal investigator who described the processes of coding, data entry, and data management. The coders followed the same set of instructions but worked independently. To ensure a common understanding of the process between coders, a sample of ten studies was tested. The results were compared, and the discrepancies were identified and resolved. Additionally, to ensure an efficient coding process, all coders participated in group meetings to discuss additions, deletions, and modifications (Stock, 1994 ). Due to the methodological diversity of the studied documents we began to synthesize the literature review findings based on similar study designs. Specifically, most of the meta-analysis studies were grouped in one category due to the quantitative nature of the measured impact. These studies tended to refer to student achievement (Hattie et al., 2014 ). Then, we organized the themes of the qualitative studies in several impact categories. Lastly, we synthesized both review and meta-analysis data across the categories. In order to establish a collective understanding of the concept of impact, we referred to a previous impact study by Balanskat ( 2009 ) which investigated the impact of technology in primary schools. In this context, the impact had a more specific ICT-related meaning and was described as “ a significant influence or effect of ICT on the measured or perceived quality of (parts of) education ” (Balanskat, 2009 , p. 9). In the study presented herein, the main impacts are in relation to learning and learners, teaching, and teachers, as well as other key stakeholders who are directly or indirectly connected to the school unit.

The study’s results identified multiple dimensions of the impact of digital technologies on students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes; on equality, inclusion, and social integration; on teachers’ professional and teaching practices; and on other school-related aspects and stakeholders. The data analysis indicated various factors that might affect the schools’ digital capacity and transformation, such as digital competencies, the teachers’ personal characteristics and professional development, as well as the school’s leadership and management, administration, infrastructure, etc. The impacts and factors found in the literature review are presented below.

Impacts of digital technologies on students’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, and emotions

The impact of ICT use on students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes has been investigated early in the literature. Eng ( 2005 ) found a small positive effect between ICT use and students' learning. Specifically, the author reported that access to computer-assisted instruction (CAI) programs in simulation or tutorial modes—used to supplement rather than substitute instruction – could enhance student learning. The author reported studies showing that teachers acknowledged the benefits of ICT on pupils with special educational needs; however, the impact of ICT on students' attainment was unclear. Balanskat et al. ( 2006 ) found a statistically significant positive association between ICT use and higher student achievement in primary and secondary education. The authors also reported improvements in the performance of low-achieving pupils. The use of ICT resulted in further positive gains for students, namely increased attention, engagement, motivation, communication and process skills, teamwork, and gains related to their behaviour towards learning. Evidence from qualitative studies showed that teachers, students, and parents recognized the positive impact of ICT on students' learning regardless of their competence level (strong/weak students). Punie et al. ( 2006 ) documented studies that showed positive results of ICT-based learning for supporting low-achieving pupils and young people with complex lives outside the education system. Liao et al. ( 2007 ) reported moderate positive effects of computer application instruction (CAI, computer simulations, and web-based learning) over traditional instruction on primary school student's achievement. Similarly, Tamim et al. ( 2011 ) reported small to moderate positive effects between the use of computer technology (CAI, ICT, simulations, computer-based instruction, digital and hypermedia) and student achievement in formal face-to-face classrooms compared to classrooms that did not use technology. Jewitt et al., ( 2011 ) found that the use of learning platforms (LPs) (virtual learning environments, management information systems, communication technologies, and information- and resource-sharing technologies) in schools allowed primary and secondary students to access a wider variety of quality learning resources, engage in independent and personalized learning, and conduct self- and peer-review; LPs also provide opportunities for teacher assessment and feedback. Similar findings were reported by Fu ( 2013 ), who documented a list of benefits and opportunities of ICT use. According to the author, the use of ICTs helps students access digital information and course content effectively and efficiently, supports student-centered and self-directed learning, as well as the development of a creative learning environment where more opportunities for critical thinking skills are offered, and promotes collaborative learning in a distance-learning environment. Higgins et al. ( 2012 ) found consistent but small positive associations between the use of technology and learning outcomes of school-age learners (5–18-year-olds) in studies linking the provision and use of technology with attainment. Additionally, Chauhan ( 2017 ) reported a medium positive effect of technology on the learning effectiveness of primary school students compared to students who followed traditional learning instruction.

The rise of mobile technologies and hardware devices instigated investigations into their impact on teaching and learning. Sung et al. ( 2016 ) reported a moderate effect on students' performance from the use of mobile devices in the classroom compared to the use of desktop computers or the non-use of mobile devices. Schmid et al. ( 2014 ) reported medium–low to low positive effects of technology integration (e.g., CAI, ICTs) in the classroom on students' achievement and attitude compared to not using technology or using technology to varying degrees. Tamim et al. ( 2015 ) found a low statistically significant effect of the use of tablets and other smart devices in educational contexts on students' achievement outcomes. The authors suggested that tablets offered additional advantages to students; namely, they reported improvements in students’ notetaking, organizational and communication skills, and creativity. Zheng et al. ( 2016 ) reported a small positive effect of one-to-one laptop programs on students’ academic achievement across subject areas. Additional reported benefits included student-centered, individualized, and project-based learning enhanced learner engagement and enthusiasm. Additionally, the authors found that students using one-to-one laptop programs tended to use technology more frequently than in non-laptop classrooms, and as a result, they developed a range of skills (e.g., information skills, media skills, technology skills, organizational skills). Haßler et al. ( 2016 ) found that most interventions that included the use of tablets across the curriculum reported positive learning outcomes. However, from 23 studies, five reported no differences, and two reported a negative effect on students' learning outcomes. Similar results were indicated by Kalati and Kim ( 2022 ) who investigated the effect of touchscreen technologies on young students’ learning. Specifically, from 53 studies, 34 advocated positive effects of touchscreen devices on children’s learning, 17 obtained mixed findings and two studies reported negative effects.

More recently, approaches that refer to the impact of gamification with the use of digital technologies on teaching and learning were also explored. A review by Pan et al. ( 2022 ) that examined the role of learning games in fostering mathematics education in K-12 settings, reported that gameplay improved students’ performance. Integration of digital games in teaching was also found as a promising pedagogical practice in STEM education that could lead to increased learning gains (Martinez et al., 2022 ; Wang et al., 2022 ). However, although Talan et al. ( 2020 ) reported a medium effect of the use of educational games (both digital and non-digital) on academic achievement, the effect of non-digital games was higher.

Over the last two years, the effects of more advanced technologies on teaching and learning were also investigated. Garzón and Acevedo ( 2019 ) found that AR applications had a medium effect on students' learning outcomes compared to traditional lectures. Similarly, Garzón et al. ( 2020 ) showed that AR had a medium impact on students' learning gains. VR applications integrated into various subjects were also found to have a moderate effect on students’ learning compared to control conditions (traditional classes, e.g., lectures, textbooks, and multimedia use, e.g., images, videos, animation, CAI) (Chen et al., 2022b ). Villena-Taranilla et al. ( 2022 ) noted the moderate effect of VR technologies on students’ learning when these were applied in STEM disciplines. In the same meta-analysis, Villena-Taranilla et al. ( 2022 ) highlighted the role of immersive VR, since its effect on students’ learning was greater (at a high level) across educational levels (K-6) compared to semi-immersive and non-immersive integrations. In another meta-analysis study, the effect size of the immersive VR was small and significantly differentiated across educational levels (Coban et al., 2022 ). The impact of AI on education was investigated by Su and Yang ( 2022 ) and Su et al. ( 2022 ), who showed that this technology significantly improved students’ understanding of AI computer science and machine learning concepts.

It is worth noting that the vast majority of studies referred to learning gains in specific subjects. Specifically, several studies examined the impact of digital technologies on students’ literacy skills and reported positive effects on language learning (Balanskat et al., 2006 ; Grgurović et al., 2013 ; Friedel et al., 2013 ; Zheng et al., 2016 ; Chen et al., 2022b ; Savva et al., 2022 ). Also, several studies documented positive effects on specific language learning areas, namely foreign language learning (Kao, 2014 ), writing (Higgins et al., 2012 ; Wen & Walters, 2022 ; Zheng et al., 2016 ), as well as reading and comprehension (Cheung & Slavin, 2011 ; Liao et al., 2007 ; Schwabe et al., 2022 ). ICTs were also found to have a positive impact on students' performance in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines (Arztmann et al., 2022 ; Bado, 2022 ; Villena-Taranilla et al., 2022 ; Wang et al., 2022 ). Specifically, a number of studies reported positive impacts on students’ achievement in mathematics (Balanskat et al., 2006 ; Hillmayr et al., 2020 ; Li & Ma, 2010 ; Pan et al., 2022 ; Ran et al., 2022 ; Verschaffel et al., 2019 ; Zheng et al., 2016 ). Furthermore, studies documented positive effects of ICTs on science learning (Balanskat et al., 2006 ; Liao et al., 2007 ; Zheng et al., 2016 ; Hillmayr et al., 2020 ; Kalemkuş & Kalemkuş, 2022 ; Lei et al., 2022a ). Çelik ( 2022 ) also noted that computer simulations can help students understand learning concepts related to science. Furthermore, some studies documented that the use of ICTs had a positive impact on students’ achievement in other subjects, such as geography, history, music, and arts (Chauhan, 2017 ; Condie & Munro, 2007 ), and design and technology (Balanskat et al., 2006 ).

More specific positive learning gains were reported in a number of skills, e.g., problem-solving skills and pattern exploration skills (Higgins et al., 2012 ), metacognitive learning outcomes (Verschaffel et al., 2019 ), literacy skills, computational thinking skills, emotion control skills, and collaborative inquiry skills (Lu et al., 2022 ; Su & Yang, 2022 ; Su et al., 2022 ). Additionally, several investigations have reported benefits from the use of ICT on students’ creativity (Fielding & Murcia, 2022 ; Liu et al., 2022 ; Quah & Ng, 2022 ). Lastly, digital technologies were also found to be beneficial for enhancing students’ lifelong learning skills (Haleem et al., 2022 ).

Apart from gaining knowledge and skills, studies also reported improvement in motivation and interest in mathematics (Higgins et. al., 2019 ; Fadda et al., 2022 ) and increased positive achievement emotions towards several subjects during interventions using educational games (Lei et al., 2022a ). Chen et al. ( 2022a ) also reported a small but positive effect of digital health approaches in bullying and cyberbullying interventions with K-12 students, demonstrating that technology-based approaches can help reduce bullying and related consequences by providing emotional support, empowerment, and change of attitude. In their meta-review study, Su et al. ( 2022 ) also documented that AI technologies effectively strengthened students’ attitudes towards learning. In another meta-analysis, Arztmann et al. ( 2022 ) reported positive effects of digital games on motivation and behaviour towards STEM subjects.

Impacts of digital technologies on equality, inclusion and social integration

Although most of the reviewed studies focused on the impact of ICTs on students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes, reports were also made on other aspects in the school context, such as equality, inclusion, and social integration. Condie and Munro ( 2007 ) documented research interventions investigating how ICT can support pupils with additional or special educational needs. While those interventions were relatively small scale and mostly based on qualitative data, their findings indicated that the use of ICTs enabled the development of communication, participation, and self-esteem. A recent meta-analysis (Baragash et al., 2022 ) with 119 participants with different disabilities, reported a significant overall effect size of AR on their functional skills acquisition. Koh’s meta-analysis ( 2022 ) also revealed that students with intellectual and developmental disabilities improved their competence and performance when they used digital games in the lessons.

Istenic Starcic and Bagon ( 2014 ) found that the role of ICT in inclusion and the design of pedagogical and technological interventions was not sufficiently explored in educational interventions with people with special needs; however, some benefits of ICT use were found in students’ social integration. The issue of gender and technology use was mentioned in a small number of studies. Zheng et al. ( 2016 ) reported a statistically significant positive interaction between one-to-one laptop programs and gender. Specifically, the results showed that girls and boys alike benefitted from the laptop program, but the effect on girls’ achievement was smaller than that on boys’. Along the same lines, Arztmann et al. ( 2022 ) reported no difference in the impact of game-based learning between boys and girls, arguing that boys and girls equally benefited from game-based interventions in STEM domains. However, results from a systematic review by Cussó-Calabuig et al. ( 2018 ) found limited and low-quality evidence on the effects of intensive use of computers on gender differences in computer anxiety, self-efficacy, and self-confidence. Based on their view, intensive use of computers can reduce gender differences in some areas and not in others, depending on contextual and implementation factors.

Impacts of digital technologies on teachers’ professional and teaching practices

Various research studies have explored the impact of ICT on teachers’ instructional practices and student assessment. Friedel et al. ( 2013 ) found that the use of mobile devices by students enabled teachers to successfully deliver content (e.g., mobile serious games), provide scaffolding, and facilitate synchronous collaborative learning. The integration of digital games in teaching and learning activities also gave teachers the opportunity to study and apply various pedagogical practices (Bado, 2022 ). Specifically, Bado ( 2022 ) found that teachers who implemented instructional activities in three stages (pre-game, game, and post-game) maximized students’ learning outcomes and engagement. For instance, during the pre-game stage, teachers focused on lectures and gameplay training, at the game stage teachers provided scaffolding on content, addressed technical issues, and managed the classroom activities. During the post-game stage, teachers organized activities for debriefing to ensure that the gameplay had indeed enhanced students’ learning outcomes.

Furthermore, ICT can increase efficiency in lesson planning and preparation by offering possibilities for a more collaborative approach among teachers. The sharing of curriculum plans and the analysis of students’ data led to clearer target settings and improvements in reporting to parents (Balanskat et al., 2006 ).

Additionally, the use and application of digital technologies in teaching and learning were found to enhance teachers’ digital competence. Balanskat et al. ( 2006 ) documented studies that revealed that the use of digital technologies in education had a positive effect on teachers’ basic ICT skills. The greatest impact was found on teachers with enough experience in integrating ICTs in their teaching and/or who had recently participated in development courses for the pedagogical use of technologies in teaching. Punie et al. ( 2006 ) reported that the provision of fully equipped multimedia portable computers and the development of online teacher communities had positive impacts on teachers’ confidence and competence in the use of ICTs.

Moreover, online assessment via ICTs benefits instruction. In particular, online assessments support the digitalization of students’ work and related logistics, allow teachers to gather immediate feedback and readjust to new objectives, and support the improvement of the technical quality of tests by providing more accurate results. Additionally, the capabilities of ICTs (e.g., interactive media, simulations) create new potential methods of testing specific skills, such as problem-solving and problem-processing skills, meta-cognitive skills, creativity and communication skills, and the ability to work productively in groups (Punie et al., 2006 ).

Impacts of digital technologies on other school-related aspects and stakeholders

There is evidence that the effective use of ICTs and the data transmission offered by broadband connections help improve administration (Balanskat et al., 2006 ). Specifically, ICTs have been found to provide better management systems to schools that have data gathering procedures in place. Condie and Munro ( 2007 ) reported impacts from the use of ICTs in schools in the following areas: attendance monitoring, assessment records, reporting to parents, financial management, creation of repositories for learning resources, and sharing of information amongst staff. Such data can be used strategically for self-evaluation and monitoring purposes which in turn can result in school improvements. Additionally, they reported that online access to other people with similar roles helped to reduce headteachers’ isolation by offering them opportunities to share insights into the use of ICT in learning and teaching and how it could be used to support school improvement. Furthermore, ICTs provided more efficient and successful examination management procedures, namely less time-consuming reporting processes compared to paper-based examinations and smooth communications between schools and examination authorities through electronic data exchange (Punie et al., 2006 ).

Zheng et al. ( 2016 ) reported that the use of ICTs improved home-school relationships. Additionally, Escueta et al. ( 2017 ) reported several ICT programs that had improved the flow of information from the school to parents. Particularly, they documented that the use of ICTs (learning management systems, emails, dedicated websites, mobile phones) allowed for personalized and customized information exchange between schools and parents, such as attendance records, upcoming class assignments, school events, and students’ grades, which generated positive results on students’ learning outcomes and attainment. Such information exchange between schools and families prompted parents to encourage their children to put more effort into their schoolwork.

The above findings suggest that the impact of ICT integration in schools goes beyond students’ performance in school subjects. Specifically, it affects a number of school-related aspects, such as equality and social integration, professional and teaching practices, and diverse stakeholders. In Table ​ Table2, 2 , we summarize the different impacts of digital technologies on school stakeholders based on the literature review, while in Table ​ Table3 3 we organized the tools/platforms and practices/policies addressed in the meta-analyses, literature reviews, EU reports, and international bodies included in the manuscript.

The impact of digital technologies on schools’ stakeholders based on the literature review

Tools/platforms and practices/policies addressed in the meta-analyses, literature reviews, EU reports, and international bodies included in the manuscript

Additionally, based on the results of the literature review, there are many types of digital technologies with different affordances (see, for example, studies on VR vs Immersive VR), which evolve over time (e.g. starting from CAIs in 2005 to Augmented and Virtual reality 2020). Furthermore, these technologies are linked to different pedagogies and policy initiatives, which are critical factors in the study of impact. Table ​ Table3 3 summarizes the different tools and practices that have been used to examine the impact of digital technologies on education since 2005 based on the review results.

Factors that affect the integration of digital technologies

Although the analysis of the literature review demonstrated different impacts of the use of digital technology on education, several authors highlighted the importance of various factors, besides the technology itself, that affect this impact. For example, Liao et al. ( 2007 ) suggested that future studies should carefully investigate which factors contribute to positive outcomes by clarifying the exact relationship between computer applications and learning. Additionally, Haßler et al., ( 2016 ) suggested that the neutral findings regarding the impact of tablets on students learning outcomes in some of the studies included in their review should encourage educators, school leaders, and school officials to further investigate the potential of such devices in teaching and learning. Several other researchers suggested that a number of variables play a significant role in the impact of ICTs on students’ learning that could be attributed to the school context, teaching practices and professional development, the curriculum, and learners’ characteristics (Underwood, 2009 ; Tamim et al., 2011 ; Higgins et al., 2012 ; Archer et al., 2014 ; Sung et al., 2016 ; Haßler et al., 2016 ; Chauhan, 2017 ; Lee et al., 2020 ; Tang et al., 2022 ).

Digital competencies

One of the most common challenges reported in studies that utilized digital tools in the classroom was the lack of students’ skills on how to use them. Fu ( 2013 ) found that students’ lack of technical skills is a barrier to the effective use of ICT in the classroom. Tamim et al. ( 2015 ) reported that students faced challenges when using tablets and smart mobile devices, associated with the technical issues or expertise needed for their use and the distracting nature of the devices and highlighted the need for teachers’ professional development. Higgins et al. ( 2012 ) reported that skills training about the use of digital technologies is essential for learners to fully exploit the benefits of instruction.

Delgado et al. ( 2015 ), meanwhile, reported studies that showed a strong positive association between teachers’ computer skills and students’ use of computers. Teachers’ lack of ICT skills and familiarization with technologies can become a constraint to the effective use of technology in the classroom (Balanskat et al., 2006 ; Delgado et al., 2015 ).

It is worth noting that the way teachers are introduced to ICTs affects the impact of digital technologies on education. Previous studies have shown that teachers may avoid using digital technologies due to limited digital skills (Balanskat, 2006 ), or they prefer applying “safe” technologies, namely technologies that their own teachers used and with which they are familiar (Condie & Munro, 2007 ). In this regard, the provision of digital skills training and exposure to new digital tools might encourage teachers to apply various technologies in their lessons (Condie & Munro, 2007 ). Apart from digital competence, technical support in the school setting has also been shown to affect teachers’ use of technology in their classrooms (Delgado et al., 2015 ). Ferrari et al. ( 2011 ) found that while teachers’ use of ICT is high, 75% stated that they needed more institutional support and a shift in the mindset of educational actors to achieve more innovative teaching practices. The provision of support can reduce time and effort as well as cognitive constraints, which could cause limited ICT integration in the school lessons by teachers (Escueta et al., 2017 ).

Teachers’ personal characteristics, training approaches, and professional development

Teachers’ personal characteristics and professional development affect the impact of digital technologies on education. Specifically, Cheok and Wong ( 2015 ) found that teachers’ personal characteristics (e.g., anxiety, self-efficacy) are associated with their satisfaction and engagement with technology. Bingimlas ( 2009 ) reported that lack of confidence, resistance to change, and negative attitudes in using new technologies in teaching are significant determinants of teachers’ levels of engagement in ICT. The same author reported that the provision of technical support, motivation support (e.g., awards, sufficient time for planning), and training on how technologies can benefit teaching and learning can eliminate the above barriers to ICT integration. Archer et al. ( 2014 ) found that comfort levels in using technology are an important predictor of technology integration and argued that it is essential to provide teachers with appropriate training and ongoing support until they are comfortable with using ICTs in the classroom. Hillmayr et al. ( 2020 ) documented that training teachers on ICT had an important effecton students’ learning.

According to Balanskat et al. ( 2006 ), the impact of ICTs on students’ learning is highly dependent on the teachers’ capacity to efficiently exploit their application for pedagogical purposes. Results obtained from the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) (OECD, 2021 ) revealed that although schools are open to innovative practices and have the capacity to adopt them, only 39% of teachers in the European Union reported that they are well or very well prepared to use digital technologies for teaching. Li and Ma ( 2010 ) and Hardman ( 2019 ) showed that the positive effect of technology on students’ achievement depends on the pedagogical practices used by teachers. Schmid et al. ( 2014 ) reported that learning was best supported when students were engaged in active, meaningful activities with the use of technological tools that provided cognitive support. Tamim et al. ( 2015 ) compared two different pedagogical uses of tablets and found a significant moderate effect when the devices were used in a student-centered context and approach rather than within teacher-led environments. Similarly, Garzón and Acevedo ( 2019 ) and Garzón et al. ( 2020 ) reported that the positive results from the integration of AR applications could be attributed to the existence of different variables which could influence AR interventions (e.g., pedagogical approach, learning environment, and duration of the intervention). Additionally, Garzón et al. ( 2020 ) suggested that the pedagogical resources that teachers used to complement their lectures and the pedagogical approaches they applied were crucial to the effective integration of AR on students’ learning gains. Garzón and Acevedo ( 2019 ) also emphasized that the success of a technology-enhanced intervention is based on both the technology per se and its characteristics and on the pedagogical strategies teachers choose to implement. For instance, their results indicated that the collaborative learning approach had the highest impact on students’ learning gains among other approaches (e.g., inquiry-based learning, situated learning, or project-based learning). Ran et al. ( 2022 ) also found that the use of technology to design collaborative and communicative environments showed the largest moderator effects among the other approaches.

Hattie ( 2008 ) reported that the effective use of computers is associated with training teachers in using computers as a teaching and learning tool. Zheng et al. ( 2016 ) noted that in addition to the strategies teachers adopt in teaching, ongoing professional development is also vital in ensuring the success of technology implementation programs. Sung et al. ( 2016 ) found that research on the use of mobile devices to support learning tends to report that the insufficient preparation of teachers is a major obstacle in implementing effective mobile learning programs in schools. Friedel et al. ( 2013 ) found that providing training and support to teachers increased the positive impact of the interventions on students’ learning gains. Trucano ( 2005 ) argued that positive impacts occur when digital technologies are used to enhance teachers’ existing pedagogical philosophies. Higgins et al. ( 2012 ) found that the types of technologies used and how they are used could also affect students’ learning. The authors suggested that training and professional development of teachers that focuses on the effective pedagogical use of technology to support teaching and learning is an important component of successful instructional approaches (Higgins et al., 2012 ). Archer et al. ( 2014 ) found that studies that reported ICT interventions during which teachers received training and support had moderate positive effects on students’ learning outcomes, which were significantly higher than studies where little or no detail about training and support was mentioned. Fu ( 2013 ) reported that the lack of teachers’ knowledge and skills on the technical and instructional aspects of ICT use in the classroom, in-service training, pedagogy support, technical and financial support, as well as the lack of teachers’ motivation and encouragement to integrate ICT on their teaching were significant barriers to the integration of ICT in education.

School leadership and management

Management and leadership are important cornerstones in the digital transformation process (Pihir et al., 2018 ). Zheng et al. ( 2016 ) documented leadership among the factors positively affecting the successful implementation of technology integration in schools. Strong leadership, strategic planning, and systematic integration of digital technologies are prerequisites for the digital transformation of education systems (Ređep, 2021 ). Management and leadership play a significant role in formulating policies that are translated into practice and ensure that developments in ICT become embedded into the life of the school and in the experiences of staff and pupils (Condie & Munro, 2007 ). Policy support and leadership must include the provision of an overall vision for the use of digital technologies in education, guidance for students and parents, logistical support, as well as teacher training (Conrads et al., 2017 ). Unless there is a commitment throughout the school, with accountability for progress at key points, it is unlikely for ICT integration to be sustained or become part of the culture (Condie & Munro, 2007 ). To achieve this, principals need to adopt and promote a whole-institution strategy and build a strong mutual support system that enables the school’s technological maturity (European Commission, 2019 ). In this context, school culture plays an essential role in shaping the mindsets and beliefs of school actors towards successful technology integration. Condie and Munro ( 2007 ) emphasized the importance of the principal’s enthusiasm and work as a source of inspiration for the school staff and the students to cultivate a culture of innovation and establish sustainable digital change. Specifically, school leaders need to create conditions in which the school staff is empowered to experiment and take risks with technology (Elkordy & Lovinelli, 2020 ).

In order for leaders to achieve the above, it is important to develop capacities for learning and leading, advocating professional learning, and creating support systems and structures (European Commission, 2019 ). Digital technology integration in education systems can be challenging and leadership needs guidance to achieve it. Such guidance can be introduced through the adoption of new methods and techniques in strategic planning for the integration of digital technologies (Ređep, 2021 ). Even though the role of leaders is vital, the relevant training offered to them has so far been inadequate. Specifically, only a third of the education systems in Europe have put in place national strategies that explicitly refer to the training of school principals (European Commission, 2019 , p. 16).

Connectivity, infrastructure, and government and other support

The effective integration of digital technologies across levels of education presupposes the development of infrastructure, the provision of digital content, and the selection of proper resources (Voogt et al., 2013 ). Particularly, a high-quality broadband connection in the school increases the quality and quantity of educational activities. There is evidence that ICT increases and formalizes cooperative planning between teachers and cooperation with managers, which in turn has a positive impact on teaching practices (Balanskat et al., 2006 ). Additionally, ICT resources, including software and hardware, increase the likelihood of teachers integrating technology into the curriculum to enhance their teaching practices (Delgado et al., 2015 ). For example, Zheng et al. ( 2016 ) found that the use of one-on-one laptop programs resulted in positive changes in teaching and learning, which would not have been accomplished without the infrastructure and technical support provided to teachers. Delgado et al. ( 2015 ) reported that limited access to technology (insufficient computers, peripherals, and software) and lack of technical support are important barriers to ICT integration. Access to infrastructure refers not only to the availability of technology in a school but also to the provision of a proper amount and the right types of technology in locations where teachers and students can use them. Effective technical support is a central element of the whole-school strategy for ICT (Underwood, 2009 ). Bingimlas ( 2009 ) reported that lack of technical support in the classroom and whole-school resources (e.g., failing to connect to the Internet, printers not printing, malfunctioning computers, and working on old computers) are significant barriers that discourage the use of ICT by teachers. Moreover, poor quality and inadequate hardware maintenance, and unsuitable educational software may discourage teachers from using ICTs (Balanskat et al., 2006 ; Bingimlas, 2009 ).

Government support can also impact the integration of ICTs in teaching. Specifically, Balanskat et al. ( 2006 ) reported that government interventions and training programs increased teachers’ enthusiasm and positive attitudes towards ICT and led to the routine use of embedded ICT.

Lastly, another important factor affecting digital transformation is the development and quality assurance of digital learning resources. Such resources can be support textbooks and related materials or resources that focus on specific subjects or parts of the curriculum. Policies on the provision of digital learning resources are essential for schools and can be achieved through various actions. For example, some countries are financing web portals that become repositories, enabling teachers to share resources or create their own. Additionally, they may offer e-learning opportunities or other services linked to digital education. In other cases, specific agencies of projects have also been set up to develop digital resources (Eurydice, 2019 ).

Administration and digital data management

The digital transformation of schools involves organizational improvements at the level of internal workflows, communication between the different stakeholders, and potential for collaboration. Vuorikari et al. ( 2020 ) presented evidence that digital technologies supported the automation of administrative practices in schools and reduced the administration’s workload. There is evidence that digital data affects the production of knowledge about schools and has the power to transform how schooling takes place. Specifically, Sellar ( 2015 ) reported that data infrastructure in education is developing due to the demand for “ information about student outcomes, teacher quality, school performance, and adult skills, associated with policy efforts to increase human capital and productivity practices ” (p. 771). In this regard, practices, such as datafication which refers to the “ translation of information about all kinds of things and processes into quantified formats” have become essential for decision-making based on accountability reports about the school’s quality. The data could be turned into deep insights about education or training incorporating ICTs. For example, measuring students’ online engagement with the learning material and drawing meaningful conclusions can allow teachers to improve their educational interventions (Vuorikari et al., 2020 ).

Students’ socioeconomic background and family support

Research show that the active engagement of parents in the school and their support for the school’s work can make a difference to their children’s attitudes towards learning and, as a result, their achievement (Hattie, 2008 ). In recent years, digital technologies have been used for more effective communication between school and family (Escueta et al., 2017 ). The European Commission ( 2020 ) presented data from a Eurostat survey regarding the use of computers by students during the pandemic. The data showed that younger pupils needed additional support and guidance from parents and the challenges were greater for families in which parents had lower levels of education and little to no digital skills.

In this regard, the socio-economic background of the learners and their socio-cultural environment also affect educational achievements (Punie et al., 2006 ). Trucano documented that the use of computers at home positively influenced students’ confidence and resulted in more frequent use at school, compared to students who had no home access (Trucano, 2005 ). In this sense, the socio-economic background affects the access to computers at home (OECD, 2015 ) which in turn influences the experience of ICT, an important factor for school achievement (Punie et al., 2006 ; Underwood, 2009 ). Furthermore, parents from different socio-economic backgrounds may have different abilities and availability to support their children in their learning process (Di Pietro et al., 2020 ).

Schools’ socioeconomic context and emergency situations

The socio-economic context of the school is closely related to a school’s digital transformation. For example, schools in disadvantaged, rural, or deprived areas are likely to lack the digital capacity and infrastructure required to adapt to the use of digital technologies during emergency periods, such as the COVID-19 pandemic (Di Pietro et al., 2020 ). Data collected from school principals confirmed that in several countries, there is a rural/urban divide in connectivity (OECD, 2015 ).

Emergency periods also affect the digitalization of schools. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of schools and forced them to seek appropriate and connective ways to keep working on the curriculum (Di Pietro et al., 2020 ). The sudden large-scale shift to distance and online teaching and learning also presented challenges around quality and equity in education, such as the risk of increased inequalities in learning, digital, and social, as well as teachers facing difficulties coping with this demanding situation (European Commission, 2020 ).

Looking at the findings of the above studies, we can conclude that the impact of digital technologies on education is influenced by various actors and touches many aspects of the school ecosystem. Figure  1 summarizes the factors affecting the digital technologies’ impact on school stakeholders based on the findings from the literature review.

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Factors that affect the impact of ICTs on education

The findings revealed that the use of digital technologies in education affects a variety of actors within a school’s ecosystem. First, we observed that as technologies evolve, so does the interest of the research community to apply them to school settings. Figure  2 summarizes the trends identified in current research around the impact of digital technologies on schools’ digital capacity and transformation as found in the present study. Starting as early as 2005, when computers, simulations, and interactive boards were the most commonly applied tools in school interventions (e.g., Eng, 2005 ; Liao et al., 2007 ; Moran et al., 2008 ; Tamim et al., 2011 ), moving towards the use of learning platforms (Jewitt et al., 2011 ), then to the use of mobile devices and digital games (e.g., Tamim et al., 2015 ; Sung et al., 2016 ; Talan et al., 2020 ), as well as e-books (e.g., Savva et al., 2022 ), to the more recent advanced technologies, such as AR and VR applications (e.g., Garzón & Acevedo, 2019 ; Garzón et al., 2020 ; Kalemkuş & Kalemkuş, 2022 ), or robotics and AI (e.g., Su & Yang, 2022 ; Su et al., 2022 ). As this evolution shows, digital technologies are a concept in flux with different affordances and characteristics. Additionally, from an instructional perspective, there has been a growing interest in different modes and models of content delivery such as online, blended, and hybrid modes (e.g., Cheok & Wong, 2015 ; Kazu & Yalçin, 2022 ; Ulum, 2022 ). This is an indication that the value of technologies to support teaching and learning as well as other school-related practices is increasingly recognized by the research and school community. The impact results from the literature review indicate that ICT integration on students’ learning outcomes has effects that are small (Coban et al., 2022 ; Eng, 2005 ; Higgins et al., 2012 ; Schmid et al., 2014 ; Tamim et al., 2015 ; Zheng et al., 2016 ) to moderate (Garzón & Acevedo, 2019 ; Garzón et al., 2020 ; Liao et al., 2007 ; Sung et al., 2016 ; Talan et al., 2020 ; Wen & Walters, 2022 ). That said, a number of recent studies have reported high effect sizes (e.g., Kazu & Yalçin, 2022 ).

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Current work and trends in the study of the impact of digital technologies on schools’ digital capacity

Based on these findings, several authors have suggested that the impact of technology on education depends on several variables and not on the technology per se (Tamim et al., 2011 ; Higgins et al., 2012 ; Archer et al., 2014 ; Sung et al., 2016 ; Haßler et al., 2016 ; Chauhan, 2017 ; Lee et al., 2020 ; Lei et al., 2022a ). While the impact of ICTs on student achievement has been thoroughly investigated by researchers, other aspects related to school life that are also affected by ICTs, such as equality, inclusion, and social integration have received less attention. Further analysis of the literature review has revealed a greater investment in ICT interventions to support learning and teaching in the core subjects of literacy and STEM disciplines, especially mathematics, and science. These were the most common subjects studied in the reviewed papers often drawing on national testing results, while studies that investigated other subject areas, such as social studies, were limited (Chauhan, 2017 ; Condie & Munro, 2007 ). As such, research is still lacking impact studies that focus on the effects of ICTs on a range of curriculum subjects.

The qualitative research provided additional information about the impact of digital technologies on education, documenting positive effects and giving more details about implications, recommendations, and future research directions. Specifically, the findings regarding the role of ICTs in supporting learning highlight the importance of teachers’ instructional practice and the learning context in the use of technologies and consequently their impact on instruction (Çelik, 2022 ; Schmid et al., 2014 ; Tamim et al., 2015 ). The review also provided useful insights regarding the various factors that affect the impact of digital technologies on education. These factors are interconnected and play a vital role in the transformation process. Specifically, these factors include a) digital competencies; b) teachers’ personal characteristics and professional development; c) school leadership and management; d) connectivity, infrastructure, and government support; e) administration and data management practices; f) students’ socio-economic background and family support and g) the socioeconomic context of the school and emergency situations. It is worth noting that we observed factors that affect the integration of ICTs in education but may also be affected by it. For example, the frequent use of ICTs and the use of laptops by students for instructional purposes positively affect the development of digital competencies (Zheng et al., 2016 ) and at the same time, the digital competencies affect the use of ICTs (Fu, 2013 ; Higgins et al., 2012 ). As a result, the impact of digital technologies should be explored more as an enabler of desirable and new practices and not merely as a catalyst that improves the output of the education process i.e. namely student attainment.

Conclusions

Digital technologies offer immense potential for fundamental improvement in schools. However, investment in ICT infrastructure and professional development to improve school education are yet to provide fruitful results. Digital transformation is a complex process that requires large-scale transformative changes that presuppose digital capacity and preparedness. To achieve such changes, all actors within the school’s ecosystem need to share a common vision regarding the integration of ICTs in education and work towards achieving this goal. Our literature review, which synthesized quantitative and qualitative data from a list of meta-analyses and review studies, provided useful insights into the impact of ICTs on different school stakeholders and showed that the impact of digital technologies touches upon many different aspects of school life, which are often overlooked when the focus is on student achievement as the final output of education. Furthermore, the concept of digital technologies is a concept in flux as technologies are not only different among them calling for different uses in the educational practice but they also change through time. Additionally, we opened a forum for discussion regarding the factors that affect a school’s digital capacity and transformation. We hope that our study will inform policy, practice, and research and result in a paradigm shift towards more holistic approaches in impact and assessment studies.

Study limitations and future directions

We presented a review of the study of digital technologies' impact on education and factors influencing schools’ digital capacity and transformation. The study results were based on a non-systematic literature review grounded on the acquisition of documentation in specific databases. Future studies should investigate more databases to corroborate and enhance our results. Moreover, search queries could be enhanced with key terms that could provide additional insights about the integration of ICTs in education, such as “policies and strategies for ICT integration in education”. Also, the study drew information from meta-analyses and literature reviews to acquire evidence about the effects of ICT integration in schools. Such evidence was mostly based on the general conclusions of the studies. It is worth mentioning that, we located individual studies which showed different, such as negative or neutral results. Thus, further insights are needed about the impact of ICTs on education and the factors influencing the impact. Furthermore, the nature of the studies included in meta-analyses and reviews is different as they are based on different research methodologies and data gathering processes. For instance, in a meta-analysis, the impact among the studies investigated is measured in a particular way, depending on policy or research targets (e.g., results from national examinations, pre-/post-tests). Meanwhile, in literature reviews, qualitative studies offer additional insights and detail based on self-reports and research opinions on several different aspects and stakeholders who could affect and be affected by ICT integration. As a result, it was challenging to draw causal relationships between so many interrelating variables.

Despite the challenges mentioned above, this study envisaged examining school units as ecosystems that consist of several actors by bringing together several variables from different research epistemologies to provide an understanding of the integration of ICTs. However, the use of other tools and methodologies and models for evaluation of the impact of digital technologies on education could give more detailed data and more accurate results. For instance, self-reflection tools, like SELFIE—developed on the DigCompOrg framework- (Kampylis et al., 2015 ; Bocconi & Lightfoot, 2021 ) can help capture a school’s digital capacity and better assess the impact of ICTs on education. Furthermore, the development of a theory of change could be a good approach for documenting the impact of digital technologies on education. Specifically, theories of change are models used for the evaluation of interventions and their impact; they are developed to describe how interventions will work and give the desired outcomes (Mayne, 2015 ). Theory of change as a methodological approach has also been used by researchers to develop models for evaluation in the field of education (e.g., Aromatario et al., 2019 ; Chapman & Sammons, 2013 ; De Silva et al., 2014 ).

We also propose that future studies aim at similar investigations by applying more holistic approaches for impact assessment that can provide in-depth data about the impact of digital technologies on education. For instance, future studies could focus on different research questions about the technologies that are used during the interventions or the way the implementation takes place (e.g., What methodologies are used for documenting impact? How are experimental studies implemented? How can teachers be taken into account and trained on the technology and its functions? What are the elements of an appropriate and successful implementation? How is the whole intervention designed? On which learning theories is the technology implementation based?).

Future research could also focus on assessing the impact of digital technologies on various other subjects since there is a scarcity of research related to particular subjects, such as geography, history, arts, music, and design and technology. More research should also be done about the impact of ICTs on skills, emotions, and attitudes, and on equality, inclusion, social interaction, and special needs education. There is also a need for more research about the impact of ICTs on administration, management, digitalization, and home-school relationships. Additionally, although new forms of teaching and learning with the use of ICTs (e.g., blended, hybrid, and online learning) have initiated several investigations in mainstream classrooms, only a few studies have measured their impact on students’ learning. Additionally, our review did not document any study about the impact of flipped classrooms on K-12 education. Regarding teaching and learning approaches, it is worth noting that studies referred to STEM or STEAM did not investigate the impact of STEM/STEAM as an interdisciplinary approach to learning but only investigated the impact of ICTs on learning in each domain as a separate subject (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics). Hence, we propose future research to also investigate the impact of the STEM/STEAM approach on education. The impact of emerging technologies on education, such as AR, VR, robotics, and AI has also been investigated recently, but more work needs to be done.

Finally, we propose that future studies could focus on the way in which specific factors, e.g., infrastructure and government support, school leadership and management, students’ and teachers’ digital competencies, approaches teachers utilize in the teaching and learning (e.g., blended, online and hybrid learning, flipped classrooms, STEM/STEAM approach, project-based learning, inquiry-based learning), affect the impact of digital technologies on education. We hope that future studies will give detailed insights into the concept of schools’ digital transformation through further investigation of impacts and factors which influence digital capacity and transformation based on the results and the recommendations of the present study.

Acknowledgements

This project has received funding under Grant Agreement No Ref Ares (2021) 339036 7483039 as well as funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program under Grant Agreement No 739578 and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus through the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy. The UVa co-authors would like also to acknowledge funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the National Research Agency of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, under project grant PID2020-112584RB-C32.

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Essay on Contribution of Technology in Education

Essay on Contribution of Technology in Education: In the 1920s, radio was used for the first time for educational purposes. Today, artificial intelligence and robotics have not only increased our efficiency and productivity at work but have also helped students learn from their classroom experiences.

Interactive whiteboards, digital projectors, tablets, and smart gadgets have replaced traditional ways of writing on surfaces including chalkboards, tables, and many more. In addition to providing students with rapid access to a wealth of knowledge, technology-based learning methods also link the classroom to real-world situations.

This Blog Includes:

Essay on contribution of technology in education (100 words), essay on contribution of technology in education (200 words), essay on contribution of technology in education (300+ words).

Also Read: Top Teaching Tools for Teachers to Enhance Classroom Learning

In this revolutionary era, education and technology are the two powerful tools that help students learn about personalized learning opportunities. Interactive whiteboards and projectors have replaced the traditional methods of studying in classrooms. 

According to recent data, over 60 percent of schools provide digital learning with the incorporation of tablets, laptops, and other important electronic gadgets in their schools. The aim of using technology in classrooms is to accommodate multiple learning styles, encouraging the students to collaborate on their new ideas and opinions. All such diverse ranges of technologies and experiences help the students learn things from different sources, which not only increases their areas of understanding but also changes their learning abilities.

Also Read: Blended Learning Approach for Teachers 

The importance of online learning methods has seen an unusual jump in the local, national, and international educational markets. The COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst that has helped to drive digital education in an unparalleled way. It is estimated that more than 50 percent of the worldwide learning industry, either schools, colleges, or universities, embraces online learning methods. 

The changes in the way of learning have pushed the education industry to explore innovations as well as new learning technologies. The new methods of technology such as gamification flipped classrooms, and eTextbooks have created healthy and interactive teaching methods that help to bridge the gap caused by physical restrictions. Moreover, technology has empowered the learning opportunities and helped to reach the students in remote areas. It is the digital revolution that has helped to change traditional classrooms into specialized online classes, with an aim of lifelong learning. 

In conclusion, the rise in online education after post-COVID has curbed the educational population and has limited geographical areas. Although there are still some challenges regarding the use of technology in digital education such as limitations of budget, misuse of technology and lack of awareness of the tools that can be achieved by providing good infrastructure, awareness about the use of technology and by creating awareness among the masses. 

Also Read: How to Write an Essay in English?

The word technology is comprised of two Greek words, techne, and logos. Here, techne means skill and art and logos mean the remark or comment by which the inner thoughts are expressed. Combining these two words, educational technology can be defined as an instructional program that is based on experience and is designed to impart students with educational knowledge of technology.

In the past students had limited resources to explore good knowledge. The limited knowledge was either found within the four walls of schools, or in local libraries. But now, with the help of the internet, a piece of vast information is just a click away from the students. Students have the opportunity to explore different subjects, watch educational YouTube videos, and connect with related experts using social media worldwide. 

Moreover, the interaction of education and technology has given rise to different online learning platforms such as Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, Skillshare, Udemy, and many more. The online learning platform has seen a rise of 50 percent in users over the last five years. One of the major reasons for a boom in online learning includes the improved means of classroom interactions, easiness of learning remotely, and discovering new things at their own pace. 

Academic institutions, colleges, universities, and different online platforms use new methods of technology to make learning better for students. Educational applications or apps have become invaluable tools in the digital era that help students cover the spectrum of subjects. These applications serve different styles of learning, and languages, to provide interactive and engaging learning. For example, mathematics subjects can use enjoyment, relaxation, and effective learning interaction with the students. Here the example indicates, how technology can not only be used for fun but can also be used for learning with the involvement of needs as well as preferences at the same time. 

Furthermore, the increase in the importance of digitization of educational resources such as online tests, universities, e-books, and edutainment helps unburden the heavy backpacks and also updates the students with the latest information. Using the technology not only helps lighten the physical loads but also helps with a more feasible approach towards learning. 

In conclusion, we can say that technology has made learning easier and more convenient. From global interaction sessions to collaboration, technology has helped students in a revolutionary way. It is believed that in coming future the advancement of technology will not only help the students with innovations but will also come up with endless possibilities. 

Read this Essay on Technology for related information.

Ans: Technology helps in unburdening our backpacks with e-books, edutainment, and online tests. Also online learning platforms such as Udemy, and Coursera help in breaking the geographical barriers. 

Ans: Technology education is an instructional program that is based on experience and is designed to give students educational knowledge on technology.

Patrick Suppes and Richard Atkinson are often considered known as fathers of educational technology. 

An increase in the importance of digitization of educational resources such as online tests, universities, e-books, and edutainment helps unburden the heavy backpacks and also updates the students with the latest information. Using the technology not only helps lighten the physical loads but also helps with a more feasible approach towards learning. 

Ans: It is believed that in the coming future, the advancement of technology will not only help students with innovations but will also come up with endless possibilities.

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Essay on Impact of Technology on Education

Students are often asked to write an essay on Impact of Technology on Education in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on Impact of Technology on Education

Introduction.

Technology has greatly influenced education. It has changed the way we learn and teach, making education more accessible and engaging.

Interactive Learning

Technology has introduced interactive learning tools like smart boards and tablets. They make lessons more engaging and fun, helping students understand better.

Online Education

With the internet, learning is not limited to classrooms. Online courses, video lectures, and digital libraries have made education accessible to everyone, everywhere.

Improved Communication

Technology has improved communication between students and teachers. Emails, chats, and video calls make it easier to discuss and solve doubts.

In conclusion, technology’s impact on education is profound. It has made learning more interactive, accessible, and communicative.

250 Words Essay on Impact of Technology on Education

The advent of technology in education.

The advent of technology has revolutionized various sectors, with education being one of the most impacted. It has transformed traditional teaching methods, making learning more engaging, accessible, and efficient.

Enhancing Accessibility and Flexibility

Technology has democratized education, breaking down geographical barriers. Online learning platforms and digital libraries provide easy access to a vast range of resources. This flexibility allows students to learn at their own pace, fostering a self-driven learning environment.

Interactive Learning Experience

Technological tools like virtual reality, digital simulations, and gamified learning apps have made education more interactive. These tools cater to different learning styles, enhancing comprehension, and retention of knowledge.

Collaborative Learning

Tools like cloud-based applications and social media platforms promote collaborative learning. They enable students to work together on projects, share ideas, and gain diverse perspectives, fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Challenges Posed by Technology

Despite its benefits, technology also poses challenges. The digital divide, where some students lack access to technology, can exacerbate educational inequalities. Additionally, over-reliance on technology might hinder the development of interpersonal skills and critical thinking.

In conclusion, the impact of technology on education is profound, offering immense benefits while posing certain challenges. It’s crucial to balance the use of technology in education, maximizing its advantages while mitigating its potential drawbacks.

500 Words Essay on Impact of Technology on Education

The advent of technology has dramatically transformed various sectors globally, and education is no exception. Over the years, technology has played a pivotal role in reshaping educational landscapes, creating new opportunities for both students and educators. This essay explores the impact of technology on education, focusing on its benefits, challenges, and future implications.

The Benefits of Technology in Education

One of the most significant benefits of technology in education is the democratization of knowledge. Digital platforms such as online libraries, e-books, and educational websites have made information accessible to anyone with an internet connection, breaking down geographical and socio-economic barriers.

Technology has also fostered a more personalized learning experience. Adaptive learning systems and educational apps can tailor content to individual students’ needs, enhancing their understanding and engagement. Furthermore, technology facilitates collaborative learning through platforms that allow students to work together remotely, fostering teamwork and communication skills.

The Challenges of Technology in Education

Despite the numerous benefits, technology’s integration into education is not without challenges. One of the primary issues is the digital divide, which refers to the disparity in access to technology between different socioeconomic groups. This divide exacerbates educational inequalities, as students who lack access to digital resources are disadvantaged.

Another challenge is the potential for distraction. With the proliferation of digital devices, students may be tempted to use them for non-educational purposes, which can hinder their academic progress. Additionally, the over-reliance on technology may diminish critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as students may resort to quick online solutions rather than engaging in deep, thoughtful analysis.

Future Implications

As we look towards the future, the role of technology in education is set to grow even more prominent. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are expected to revolutionize the classroom experience, making learning more immersive and engaging. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will likely automate administrative tasks, freeing up teachers’ time to focus more on instruction and student interaction.

However, as technology continues to evolve, it is crucial to address its challenges. Policymakers and educators must work together to bridge the digital divide, ensuring that all students can benefit from technological advancements. Additionally, digital literacy programs should be implemented to teach students how to use technology responsibly and effectively.

In conclusion, technology has had a profound impact on education, offering numerous benefits but also presenting significant challenges. As we navigate the digital age, it is essential to harness technology’s potential to enhance education while mitigating its drawbacks. This balanced approach will ensure that technology serves as a powerful tool in shaping a more equitable, engaging, and efficient educational landscape.

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Essay on Importance of Educational Technology for Teaching and Learning

Technology has rapidly changed the human lifestyle as it has changed the education sector. It is gradually and steadily taking over our education systems which are a few years behind. The website is about how technology is transforming learning by modifying how, where, and when learners learn, as well as empowering them at every step of the journey by offering them a choice over how they study, improving education meaningful to their digital lives, and equipping them for their futures (Kobayashi, 2008, p. 13). When students have access to technology and resources beyond the classroom, they are motivated to become logical thinkers, collaborators, and creators. When technology is correctly incorporated into the classroom, learners acquire a passion for learning (Bishop et al., 2020, p. 26).

Equitable use of technology refers to learners gaining access to information technology despite social status, economic status, ethnicity, physical ability, age, or other qualities. Despite technology having essential opportunities to learn, it is also a basic component in aiding students with gaining the skills and knowledge they require to be digital citizens. Insufficient access to information and technology denies students learning experiences and may limit their future opportunities. Equitable use includes ensuring that each student has the chance to learn from technologically advanced teachers.

Ethical use of technology is the use of technology in an appropriate way to gain from its use rather than using technology selfishly or enviously. Technology and internet use differ for each student. Students may not be victims of cyberbullying and copyright issues, but teachers should ensure that the students obtain the right skills to use technology and the internet.

Educational technology should help instill social responsibility among learners. Social responsibility is the use of technology in an ethical framework to benefit the student, the school, and the community at large. Both teachers and students have the responsibility to use technology responsibly. Students should adopt from activities that make them irresponsible such as software pirating, hacking, and illegal online activities. This helps the students have digital etiquette. Teachers should model ethical technology usage for their learners, acting responsibly.

Research has been done on educational technology to facilitate learning. Different resources were used in this research. Such resources include statistical software, reference management, and online storage. Statistical software helps to improve research expertise, increase speed and robustness of research work, reduce human errors in data analysis, and ease and increase the efficiency of research work.

Reference management refers to archiving of research and findings. The introduction of referencing management has reduced the strictness of referencing rules. Students need to understand the referencing systems to effectively make use of them in class work or the future. Referencing management offers students with research resources such as books, journal articles, conference papers, and thesis.

Online storage is an essential resource for research. It involves moving data to the cloud. It ensures secure data management and storage. Online storage comes with several advantages such as accessing data while anywhere, easy sharing of data, quick data recovery, and many others. On the other hand, in case of improper handling, it can be hazardous. It is also a more convenient and efficient means of obtaining information from students, instructors, and guardians. First of all, web surveys ensure a short time for collecting responses and are both cost and time-effective (“Educational resources and technology,” n.d., p. 2).

Technology integration engages students and allows the teachers to differentiate their learning in multiple ways. This might be frustrating at times, but there are many innovative ways to incorporate technology into regular teaching. One such method is Game-Based Learning and Assessment. Some of the concepts that we know are important in the theory include the ideas of relevant context, having a reason for carrying out various tasks, the cognitive integrity of what is happening in one’s brain while engrossed with the game is similar to the situation in real life utilizing language, the emotional aspect – having an interaction with the game is advantageous to learning. Another method of integration is videos, podcasts. and slideshows created by students One of the key principles of digital or internet literacy is that learners should become makers and critics of media rather than merely consumers.

Technology is integrated into the curriculum instructional design for different reasons. For example, to motivate students, provide new approaches, and increase productivity. Technology must be easily accessible and be used at a point of instruction. Each level must plan well so that technology may be integrated efficiently and easily into the education curriculum. In a curriculum, technology can be integrated with specific disciplines for effectiveness, efficiency, and ease of implementation. You can benefit from considering the usage of technology is an integral part of the curriculum design process through developing new solutions to cope with educational issues and communicate ways to facilitate discussion.

Formative assessment is the process of obtaining feedback to improve the continuing teaching and learning environment. Summative assessment strategy is a method of determining a student’s measure of success by the end of each education session. Integrating technology with formative and summative assessment strategies helps students engage and promote critical thinking. Other advantages include the useful clarification of grading standards as well as the increase of the integrity and consistency of academic results.

Educational technological tools that an educator uses to instill self-directedness and independent learning nay include online education. It introduces students to a broad variety of online materials addressing their points of interest, something that they can learn at their speed. Online learning improves student learning performance. Open educational resources are also another tool offering a solution by lowering the cost of materials for students while increasing their dependence on digital resources.

Assistive technology, particularly in the classroom, is reshaping what is possible for persons with a wide range of learning, cognitive, and physical skills and impairments. Some examples include e-books and apps. There are apps for accessing digital books on handheld devices. Accessibility preferences and some other built-in accessibility options in our handheld devices support many features which are used for different purposes for example text-to-speech output.

Bishop, M. J., Boling, E., Elen, J., & Svihla, V. (2020).  Handbook of research in educational communications and technology: Learning design . Springer Nature.

Educational resources and technology. (n.d.).  https://doi.org/10.21777/2500-2112

Integrating technology into the curriculum . (n.d.). Share and Discover Knowledge on SlideShare.  https://www.slideshare.net/HinaKaynat/integrating-technology-into-the-curriculum-69929434

Keengwe, J. (2013).  Research perspectives and best practices in educational technology integration . IGI Global.

Kobayashi, R. (2008).  New educational technology . Nova Publishers.

Rolfe, V. (2012). Open educational resources: Staff attitudes and awareness.  Research in Learning Technology ,  20 (0).  https://doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v20i0.14395

Using technology to facilitate formative and summative assessments . (n.d.). Sherrilyn’s Classroom.  https://sherrilynhicks.weebly.com/sherrilyns-blog/using-technology-to-facilitate-formative-and-summative-assessments

What is successful technology integration?  (2007, November 6). Edutopia.  https://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description

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The Importance of Technology in Education: Benefits for Students and Educators

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Published: May 24, 2022

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Introduction, importance of technology in education (essay).

  • Himmelsbach, V. (2019). How Does Technology Impact Student Learning? Retrieved November 26, 2020, from https:tophat.combloghow-does-technology-impact-student-learningDikusar, A. (2018).
  • How Important is Technology in Education? Retrieved October 22, 2020, from https:xbsoftware.combloghow-important-is-technology-in-educationCox, J. (2019).
  • Benefits of Technology in the Classroom. Retrieved November 4, 2020, from https:www.teachhub.comtechnology-in-the-classroom201911benefits-of-technology-in-the-classroom

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Amna Khalid says institutions need to rethink DEI initiatives.

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Pushing back on DEI ‘orthodoxy’

Panelists support diversity efforts but worry that current model is too narrow, denying institutions the benefit of other voices, ideas

Nikki Rojas

Harvard Staff Writer

It’s time to take a harder look at the role of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in higher education.

That was the overall theme of a searing panel discussion at Smith Campus Center on Thursday. Titled “Academic Freedom, DEI, & the Future of Higher Education,” the event featured scholars specializing in law, history, politics, and diversity.

“The power of diversity for learning is irreplaceable,” said panelist Amna Khalid, associate professor of history at Carleton College in Minnesota. “It is incredible, and it is a value that I strongly believe in as someone who is the product of various educational systems.”

However, Khalid shared that she often finds herself at odds with the approach DEI practitioners take in higher education — an approach she termed “DEI Inc.”

Khalid wrote an opinion piece with Carlton colleague Jeffrey Aaron Snyder last year for the Chronicle of Higher Education. The essay, titled “ Yes, DEI Can Erode Academic Freedom. Let’s Not Pretend Otherwise ,” argues that under the logic of the prevailing DEI model, “Education is a product, students are consumers, and campus diversity is a customer-service issue that needs to be administered from the top down.”

All too often, Khalid said at the event, practitioners implement a “model underscored by a notion of harm and that students somehow need to be protected from harm.”

Jeannie Suk Gersen, John H. Watson, Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, agreed with that assessment and said that people who object to DEI do not often equate it to the idea of diversity.

“It’s, in fact, a set of ideas that have become very narrowed to one specific orthodoxy about what diversity means, what equity and inclusion mean, so that it shuts out a whole bunch of other ideas about what diversity, equity, and inclusion may be,” Suk Gersen said.

The lone voice to advocate for a professionalized and accountable DEI workforce was Stacy Hawkins, a Rutgers University law professor and scholar of DEI.

“Perhaps it’s simply just the introduction of diversity into our institutions that’s going to create discomfort — that’s going to make it harder to have the same conversations, to do the same things, to say and behave in the same ways that we used to,” said Hawkins, who underscored the challenge of welcoming diverse students without diverse faculty. “But that doesn’t mean that it’s not a worthwhile exercise to try.”

Panelists also fielded questions on academic freedom and free speech, and whether DEI infringes on those rights.

DEI is “almost always wrong in the sense that it subverts classical liberal principles of the academic mission of open inquiry, truth seeking, knowledge creation, research, and debating ideas,” responded panelist Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow and director of constitutional studies at the Manhattan Institute.

He went on to quote Hanna Holborn Gray, former president of the University of Chicago, who once said: “Education should not be intended to make people comfortable; it is meant to make them think.”

Shapiro proved the only panelist to argue for the total elimination of university DEI offices without replacing them with other structures designed to achieve diversity goals. Instead, he said that student affairs, compliance officers, and admissions should assume any responsibilities related to diversity.

Last week’s discussion was sponsored by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ Civil Discourse Initiative , the Harvard College Intellectual Vitality Initiative , and the Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics .

Also discussed were social media and the distorted views it surfaces on DEI.

Hawkins noted that DEI takes a real beating on the platforms, all while cancel culture is the true driver behind most modern outrage. “There is this heightened sense of awareness,” she said. “There’s this heightened sense of accountability. There is this heightened sense of threat. And this heightened sense of punitive action, all surrounding a larger cultural phenomenon that has nothing to do with diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

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The End of Foreign-Language Education

Thanks to AI, people may no longer feel the need to learn a second language.

Listen to this article

Produced by ElevenLabs and News Over Audio (NOA) using AI narration.

A few days ago, I watched a video of myself talking in perfect Chinese. I’ve been studying the language on and off for only a few years, and I’m far from fluent. But there I was, pronouncing each character flawlessly in the correct tone, just as a native speaker would. Gone were my grammar mistakes and awkward pauses, replaced by a smooth and slightly alien-sounding voice. “My favorite food is sushi,” I said— wo zui xihuan de shiwu shi shousi —with no hint of excitement or joy.

I’d created the video using software from a Los Angeles–based artificial-intelligence start-up called HeyGen. It allows users to generate deepfake videos of real people “saying” almost anything based on a single picture of their face and a script, which is paired with a synthetic voice and can be translated into more than 40 languages. By merely uploading a selfie taken on my iPhone, I was able to glimpse a level of Mandarin fluency that may elude me for the rest of my life.

HeyGen’s visuals are flawed—the way it animates selfies almost reminded me of the animatronics in Disney’s It’s a Small World ride—but its language technology is good enough to make me question whether learning Mandarin is a wasted effort. Neural networks, the machine-learning systems that power generative-AI programs such as ChatGPT, have rapidly improved the quality of automatic translation over the past several years, making even older tools like Google Translate far more accurate.

At the same time, the number of students studying foreign languages in the U.S. and other countries is shrinking. Total enrollment in language courses other than English at American colleges decreased 29.3 percent from 2009 to 2021, according to the latest data from the Modern Language Association, better known as the MLA. In Australia, only 8.6 percent of high-school seniors were studying a foreign language in 2021—a historic low. In South Korea and New Zealand , universities are closing their French, German, and Italian departments. One recent study from the education company EF Education First found that English proficiency is decreasing among young people in some places.

Many factors could help explain the downward trend, including pandemic-related school disruptions, growing isolationism, and funding cuts to humanities programs. But whether the cause of the shift is political, cultural, or some mix of things, it’s clear that people are turning away from language learning just as automatic translation becomes ubiquitous across the internet.

Read: High-school English needed a makeover before ChatGPT

Within a few years, AI translation may become so commonplace and frictionless that billions of people take for granted the fact that the emails they receive, videos they watch, and albums they listen to were originally produced in a language other than their native one. Something enormous will be lost in exchange for that convenience. Studies have suggested that language shapes the way people interpret reality. Learning a different way to speak, read, and write helps people discover new ways to see the world—experts I spoke with likened it to discovering a new way to think. No machine can replace such a profoundly human experience. Yet tech companies are weaving automatic translation into more and more products. As the technology becomes normalized, we may find that we’ve allowed deep human connections to be replaced by communication that’s technically proficient but ultimately hollow.

AI language tools are now in social-media apps, messaging platforms, and streaming sites. Spotify is experimenting with using a voice-generation tool from the ChatGPT maker OpenAI to translate podcasts in the host’s own voice, while Samsung is touting that its new Galaxy S24 smartphone can translate phone calls as they’re occurring . Roblox, meanwhile, claimed last month that its AI translation tool is so fast and accurate , its English-speaking users might not realize that their conversation partner “is actually in Korea.” The technology—which works especially well for “ high-resource languages ” such as English and Chinese, and less so for languages such as Swahili and Urdu—is being used in much more high-stakes situations as well, such as translating the testimony of asylum seekers and firsthand accounts from conflict zones. Musicians are already using it to translate songs , and at least one couple credited it with helping them to fall in love.

One of the most telling use cases comes from a start-up called Jumpspeak, which makes a language-learning app similar to Duolingo and Babbel. Instead of hiring actual bilingual actors, Jumpspeak appears to have used AI-generated “people” reading AI-translated scripts in at least four ads on Instagram and Facebook. At least some of the personas shown in the ads appear to be default characters available on HeyGen’s platform. “I struggled to learn languages my whole life. Then I learned Spanish in six months, I got a job opportunity in France, and I learned French. I learned Mandarin before visiting China,” a synthetic avatar says in one of the ads, while switching between all three languages. Even a language-learning app is surrendering to the allure of AI, at least in its marketing.

Alexandru Voica, a communications professional who works for another video-generating AI service, told me he came across Jumpspeak’s ads while looking for a program to teach his children Romanian, the language spoken by their grandparents. He argued that the ads demonstrated how deepfakes and automated-translation software could be used to mislead or deceive people. “I'm worried that some in the industry are currently in a race to the bottom on AI safety,” he told me in an email. (The ads were taken down after I started reporting this story, but it’s not clear if Meta or Jumpspeak removed them; neither company returned requests for comment. HeyGen also did not immediately respond to a request for comment about its product being used in Jumpspeak’s marketing.)

The world is already seeing how all of this can go wrong. Earlier this month, a far-right conspiracy theorist shared several AI-generated clips on X of Adolf Hitler giving a 1939 speech in English instead of the original German. The videos, which were purportedly produced using software from a company called ElevenLabs, featured a re-creation of Hitler’s own voice. It was a strange experience, hearing Hitler speak in English, and some people left comments suggesting that they found him easy to empathize with: “It sounds like these people cared about their country above all else,” one X user reportedly wrote in response to the videos. ElevenLabs did not immediately respond to a request for comment. ( The Atlantic uses ElevenLabs’ AI voice generator to narrate some articles.)

Read: The last frontier of machine translation

Gabriel Nicholas, a research fellow at the nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology, told me that part of the problem with machine-translation programs is that they’re often falsely perceived as being neutral, rather than “bringing their own perspective upon how to move text from one language to another.” The truth is that there is no single right or correct way to transpose a sentence from French to Russian or any other language—it’s an art rather than a science. “Students will ask, ‘How do you say this in Spanish?’ and I’ll say, ‘You just don’t say it the same way in Spanish; the way you would approach it is different,’” Deborah Cohn, a Spanish- and Portuguese-language professor at Indiana University Bloomington who has written about the importance of language learning for bolstering U.S. national security , told me.

I recently came across a beautiful and particularly illustrative example of this fact in an article written by a translator in China named Anne. “Building a ladder between widely different languages, such as Chinese and English, is sometimes as difficult as a doctor building a bridge in a patient's heart,” she wrote. The metaphor initially struck me as slightly odd, but thankfully I wasn’t relying on ChatGPT to translate Anne’s words from their original Mandarin. I was reading a human translation by a professor named Jeffrey Ding, who helpfully noted that Anne may have been referring to a type of heart surgery that has recently become common in China. It's a small detail, but understanding that context brought me much closer to the true meaning of what Anne was trying to say.

Read: The college essay is dead

But most students will likely never achieve anything close to the fluency required to tell whether a translation rings close enough to the original or not. If professors accept that automated technology will far outpace the technical skills of the average Russian or Arabic major, their focus would ideally shift from grammar drills to developing cultural competency , or understanding the beliefs and practices of people from different backgrounds. Instead of cutting language courses in response to AI, schools should “stress more than ever the intercultural components of language learning that tremendously benefit the students taking these classes,” Jen William, the head of the School of Languages and Cultures at Purdue University and a member of the executive committee of the Association of Language Departments, told me.

Paula Krebs, the executive director of the MLA, referenced a beloved 1991 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation to make a similar point. In “Darmok,” the crew aboard the starship Enterprise struggles to communicate with aliens living on a planet called El-Adrel IV. They have access to a “universal translator” that allows them to understand the basic syntax and semantics of what the Tamarians are saying, but the greater meaning of their utterances remains a mystery.

It later becomes clear that their language revolves around allegories rooted in the Tamarians’ unique history and practices. Even though Captain Picard was translating all the words they were saying, he “couldn’t understand the metaphors of their culture,” Krebs told me. More than 30 years later, something like a universal translator is now being developed on Earth. But it similarly doesn’t have the power to bridge cultural divides the way that humans can.

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