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Education Technology for Effective Teachers-education technology

Education Technology
for Effective Teachers
David K. Evans (Center for Global Development)
Teachers Thematic Group, World Bank, February 20211
Education systems around the world are investing in technology to help
teachers be more effective. In some cases, the results are exciting. In others,
the impact of technology falls short of expectations or remains unevaluated.
The closing of schools worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic has high-
lighted the importance of understanding how to leverage technology well.
This note lays out four principles for investing in technology for effective
teachers and six aspects of teaching where technology can boost teacher
performance, together with examples of tested, promising, and cautionary
experiences with teacher technologies.
The Principles
Principle 1: Technology is not the solution ? Make sure it is used. An intervention that provid-
to the learning crisis. But technology can ed computers to classrooms in Colombia man-
be the solution to specific micro-problems
aged to get the computers there, but teachers
largely ignored them because the technology was
within the education system. not integrated with the curriculum.4 If teachers do
When considering technology investments, the key
not see the value of a technology, do not know
is to begin with a specific problem and ask, What's
how to use it, or are not comfortable using it, it
the best way to solve this problem? And then to
won't deliver results. The goal is not to maximize
ask, can technology help in this case? Approached
the amount of time the technology is used, but
problem-by-problem, education systems can have
rather to ensure that it is used at the right times.
realistic expectations of the promise of technology ? Make sure it increases learning. Even if the tech-
and ensure that they help teachers to help their nology works and teachers use it, there is no guar-
students. antee that it will increase learning. In Kenya, a pro-
gram provided tablets to teachers. The tablets had
Principle 2: If you're going to invest in teacher guides, audio and visual aids, and assess-
technology, invest in the training, support,
ments. Although many teachers used the tablets,
the impact on student learning was no greater than
monitoring, and maintenance to make it for teachers who received printed teacher guides,
work. despite a much higher price tag.5
Technology investments often come with a signifi-
cant up-front investment. But it doesn't make sense Principle 4: Technology to monitor and
to invest in the hardware or the software without manage teachers will only work with
budgeting for all the supplemental services re- political buy-in.
quired to make the technology work. Systems of-
ten underestimate the degree of sensitization and Monitoring technology cannot outdo collusion by
training required for teachers--along with others in teachers, school principals, and education officials.
the education system, like principals and ministry Teacher allocation systems only work if teachers
staff--to buy into a new technology and then to use participate in them. Many technocratically informed
it effectively. technology programs have failed even to get off
the ground because of political opposition. Gov-
ernments need consultation and communication
Principle 3: Test the technology. strategies that ensure that all participants - from
administrators to teachers - see value in new in-
? Make sure it works. In an effort to use smart Technology, when wisely
phones to monitor teachers in Haiti, the technol-
ogy ultimately failed.2 Government officials and deployed, can provide
partners alike have entered classrooms to see benefits to teachers and to
technology that may have worked once but was
not in a place to be maintained. If the technology their students, but success
is beyond the infrastructure capacity of the weak- is unlikely if teachers aren't
est schools in the system, it won't deliver results.3
partners in the process.
1 Education Technology for Effective Teachers
Applying the Principles
Technology has the potential to help teachers to In a pilot in South Africa, one set of teachers re-
be more effective in reaching every student. Keep- ceived in-person visits from a coach three times a
ing the principles in mind, here are six promising term, whereas another set received coaching virtu-
avenues for teacher-technology partnerships. ally with weekly interactions via tablet. Every cou-
1. Coach and mentor teachers
ple of weeks the "virtual coach" would check in to
discuss instructional practice and check progress
A growing collection of evidence on the curriculum, and she would send a weekly
demonstrates the power of coach- motivational message to all teachers participat-
ing and mentoring teachers. In ing in the virtual coaching. Both kinds of coaching
South Africa, in-class coaching improved student learning equally at the end of a
was twice as effective at boosting student reading year. The real gain was that the virtual coach could
ability as a traditional professional development reach far more teachers since she didn't have to
training at a centralized location.6 Why? Teachers travel.8 Unfortunately, after two more years of the
who received coaching implemented better teach- program, teachers with virtual coaches still deliv-
ing practices in their classrooms. But in many set- ered better student results than teachers without
tings both high- and low-income implementing coaches, but in-person coaches delivered far bet-
a coaching system at scale proves challenging. ter results on a wider range of skills.9
The main reason is that for an effective coaching For virtual coaching to deliver sustained benefits,
system, you need coaches with content knowl- a blended approach may be needed, building rap-
edge, pedagogical knowledge, and who have the port between teachers and coaches with at least
skill to mentor other teachers effectively. In many some in-person visits and then complementing
education systems, either there aren't enough ex- those with virtual contact. While web-based or tab-
cellent teachers to serve as coaches or there is a let-based virtual coaches do not observe teachers
trade-off in removing those teachers from the firsthand to give feedback, they can answer ques-
classroom to serve as coaches. If they're coaching tions and give advice more frequently at lower
teachers, they're not teaching students. cost. For some teachers, a virtual coach may feel
more respectful of the autonomy of their class-
Technology can make it room. On net, virtual coaching may be an effective
easier to coach many more tool to strengthen teachers. In addition to helping
education systems with the challenge of scaling,
teachers than traditionally tablets can help coaches provide better feedback
possible. In South Africa, the
to teachers: In Uganda, tablets that coaches could
use to input their classroom observations would
United States and Uganda, then generate feedback which coaches could use
to guide their discussions with teachers. After the
virtual coaches could provide introduction of tablets, coaches gave more specif-
essential support to more
ic guidance to help teachers with reading instruc-
teachers. 2. Complement teacher content knowl-
Technology may be able to help. In the United edge and pedagogical skills
States, there was no clear difference in effective- Evidence from many countries
ness between a dozen virtual coaching programs demonstrates that teachers often
tested in different states and a host of in-person lack mastery of the content they
coaching programs.7
are supposed to teach.11 These
Education Technology for Effective Teachers 2

What are some examples of educational technology? What Are Examples Of Emerging Education Technology? Augmented Reality Virtual Reality 3D Printing Robotics Adaptive Learning Algorithms Asynchronous Learning and Microlearning (and associated microcredentials) Live Streaming (school to school, school to expert, remote teaching and learning, etc. ... Artificial Intelligence Social Learning (obviously closely related to synchronous and asynchronous learning) More items...