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Making the most of technology in education

This report draws together lessons from nine international examples of inspiring practice where technology is impacting on large numbers of teachers and students.

Education is our most powerful tool to improve and shape the lives of young people, but our education systems around the world face huge problems - from vastly unequal access or crises in teacher recruitment, to the growing costs of modernisation or stalling social mobility.

Technology - designed, used and implemented effectively - is providing an increasingly sophisticated set of tools to help us address them. We make recommendations for how governments, philanthropic foundations, technology companies and schools can support effective use of technology. These are grouped in three categories.

The first relates to scale. How can we ensure that the benefits of investment in technology are felt more widely and that exciting practice seen in exceptional schools can be felt elsewhere?

The second relates to schools. How can we get schools to buy in to wider programmes of change? And how can school leaders support their school community to make the most of change in their school?

The third relates to foundations. How can foundations use their resources and status outside government to support innovation and EdTech?

Key findings

  • Investment in technology alone is not enough. Pedagogy, teacher training, motivation and school context are all factors that need to be considered when implementing innovation programmes in schools.
  • Schools' and teachers' ‘buy-in’ is important for scaling and creating networks that facilitate peer-sharing. See our ‘10 Top Tips’ to find out how headteachers can lead change in their school.
  • What is the need Edtech is trying to solve? Implementation can be particularly successful when products and services are designed with the toughest conditions in mind.
  • Technology-driven innovation can be a powerful tool for social inclusion, inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Foundations and other non-governmental organisations should support experimentation, coupled with rigorous evaluation and assessment, to increase the knowledge base around what does and doesn't work.

Recommendations

Government can play a key role in supporting positive change in schools. They should:

  • invest in training and support alongside hardware and software
  • support Edtech solutions and programmes that provide more equitable access
  • invest in infrastructure to gather and use data more effectively and openly

Authors

Toby Baker

Toby Baker

Toby Baker

Programme Manager, Education

Toby works in Nesta’s education team to help our education system make better use of technology and data.

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Simona Bielli

Simona Bielli

Simona Bielli

Head of Programmes – Nesta Italia

Over the last year, Simona was working on a new exciting project that led to the foundation of Nesta Italia.

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Luca Tricarico

Luca is a Researcher at LUISS, Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali (Rome). He holds a Post-doc fellow on Social Innovation Management, based at the Department of Bus...