Technology and education coexist in modern society. It comes as no surprise that technology is used in schooling. The use of various smart tools, systems, software, and devices benefits students in several additional ways. Everything functions more quickly, intelligently, easily, and productively. While this is going on, some students and teachers are unable to properly use technology. The investigation’s findings are something that professional academic writer Lauren Bradshaw from Custom Writings (an online essay writing service) wants to discuss with you. They have researched this issue and can give students and teachers sage advice on enhancing education with technology.
Common Advantages of Technology in the Classroom
We want to start by highlighting the primary benefits that technology can provide. The learning process can benefit everyone who takes part in it in different ways. These are listed below.
Use a variety of communication methods
Active communication is always a part of the learning process. It is decided upon by the administration, parents, instructors, and students. In education, every participant is crucial. They should, of course, speak clearly and promptly. These requirements can be met by technology, but it’s best to use at least two alternative approaches.
It’s critical to have a range of communication channels. If one approach isn’t right now possible, you can use the fallback strategy. For instance, mobile devices and live chat are available to both students and professors. Perhaps a teacher wishes to involve every student at once or some pupils are currently unable to communicate over the phone. This approach might not be appropriate. Live chat is a quick approach to communicate with and reach every participant in the meantime. It is just essential to choose the messenger to use while exchanging messages, giving and receiving assignments, giving feedback, etc. Online meetings and conversations are also an option.
Here, we analyze the data on educational technology interventions from 37 studies across 20 nations*, categorizing them according to comparative advantage. Even though our classification of these interventions is not the only one (for instance, video tutorials could be viewed as a method of enhancing learner engagement or scaling up instruction), we think it may be helpful to highlight the needs that they could meet and the reasons why technology is ideally suited to do so.
Utilize a variety of communication methods Digital simulating and modeling
We use standard deviations to quantify the size of the effects of interventions when discussing specific research (SDs). In research, SDs are a popular statistic for expressing the impact of a program or policy in comparison to the status quo (e.g., test scores). They can be understood in a variety of ways. One is to classify the effects’ scope based on the findings of impact analyses. Effects in developing nations are classified as small, medium, and large depending on the standard deviation (SD) they fall within (for reviews that estimate the average effect of groups of interventions, known as “meta analyses,” see, for example, Conn, 2017; Kremer, Brannen, & Glennerster, 2013; McEwan, 2014; Snilstveit et al., 2015; Evans & Yuan, 2020).
Reviews of the evidence
*To begin compiling studies from previous reviews of the evidence, both general and ed-tech-specific, written by some of us as well as from ed-tech reviews carried out by others, we first surveyed the evidence. Then, we tracked and studied the research that were referenced by the ones we had already read. We focused on experimental and quasi-experimental assessments of education technology interventions from pre-school to secondary school that were published between 2000 and 2020 in low- and middle-income countries when deciding which papers to include. In contrast to treatments that have improved accomplishment indirectly, such as by lowering teacher absence or raising parental involvement, we only considered interventions that aimed to improve student learning directly (i.e., students’ interaction with the material). 37 studies in 20 countries were the result of this approach (see the full list of studies in Appendix B).
Expanding standardized education
Through its ability to deliver standardized, high-quality content at scale, technology can help to improve the quality of education. This technological feature may be especially helpful in three different types of settings: (a) “hard-to-staff” schools (i.e., schools that struggle to recruit educators with the necessary training and experience—typically in rural and/or remote areas) (see, for example, Urquiola & Vegas, 2005); (b) settings where a large number of educators are frequently absent from school (e.g., Chaudhury, Hammer, Kremer, Muralidharan, & Rogers, 2006 (e.g., Bruns, Costa, & Cunha, 2018; Cilliers, Fleisch, Prinsloo, & Taylor, 2018). Technology could solve this issue by (a) allowing distant learning (for students in remote locations and/or during times when schools are closed), (b) permitting pre-loaded instructional hardware, and (c) spreading lessons taught by certified educators to a large number of students.
Recordings of lessons
By spreading their lessons, technology seems to be in a good position to increase the influence of excellent teachers. The evidence regarding the effectiveness of prerecorded lessons is promising yet inconclusive. Some programs have improved student learning on independent assessments by using brief instructional films as a supplement to regular instruction and other learning tools. Beg et al. (2020), for instance, evaluated a project in Punjab, Pakistan that provided grade 8 classrooms with an intervention that included brief videos to replace live instruction, quizzes for students to practice the material from every lesson, tablets for teachers to learn the material and follow the lesson, and LED screens to project the videos onto a classroom screen. After six months, the intervention raised students’ scores on math and science tests administered independently by 0.19 and 0.24 SDs, respectively, but did not appear to have any impact on Punjab’s high-stakes exams’ math and science sections.
According to one study, less technologically advanced methods can also enhance learning results, particularly if the business as usual training is of poor quality. For instance, in Cordillera, Paraguay, Naslund-Hadley, Parker, and Hernandez-Agramonte (2014) examined a preschool arithmetic program that employed audio clips and textual materials four days a week for an hour each day throughout the school day. After five months, the intervention raised math scores by 0.16 SDs, bridging the achievement gap between low- and high-achievers and between teachers with and without early childhood education formal training.
Improve collaboration for better results
However, the incorporation of prerecorded content into normal instruction hasn’t always gone smoothly. De Barros (2020), for instance, evaluated a program in Haryana, India that combined infrastructure improvements (such as two “smart” classrooms, two TVs, and two tablets). Printed workbooks for students, and in-service training for teachers of learners in grades 9 and 10 with instructional videos for math and science. After 11 months, the intervention had no influence on scientific achievement. And had a negative impact on arithmetic achievement (by 0.08 SDs) (with respect to business as usual classes). It had a negative effect on an index of instructional quality. And decreased the portion of lesson time that teachers spent actually teaching.
For grade 11 students in northern Tanzania, Seo (2017) examined several configurations of infrastructure (solar lights and TVs). And prerecorded movies (in English and/or bilingual) and discovered that none of the variants increased student learning, even when the videos were used. The study presents effects from the infrastructure component across variants, however this method of impact estimation is problematic. As others have pointed out.
However, the basic abilities of the learners were significantly affected by a very comparable intervention that was given after school hours. Chiplunkar, Dhar, and Nagesh (2020) evaluated an initiative for grade 9 students in Chennai (the state of Tamil Nadu’s capital city), India, that was provided by the same organization as above. It included worksheets, facilitator-led instruction, small groups for peer-to-peer learning, and sporadic career counseling and guidance. Five times a week, these lessons were held after school for one hour. After 10 months, it significantly improved students’ performance on assessments of their basic math and reading abilities, but had no impact on their performance on a high-stakes standardized test in grade 10 or their socioemotional abilities (e.g., teamwork, decisionmaking, and communication).
It is difficult to draw broad conclusions from this collection of research for at least two reasons. First of all, the aforementioned research have all assessed the effects of prerecorded lectures when paired with various other elements (e.g., hardware, print materials, or other activities). It is therefore plausible that the benefits observed are caused by these additional elements rather than the recordings themselves or their combination (for a discussion of the difficulties in interpreting “bundled” treatments, see Muralidharan, 2017). Second, while these studies assess different kinds of prerecorded lectures, none look at their content. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that the direction and strength of the effects are greatly influenced by the caliber 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).
Merit further investigation
These findings also bring up three significant issues that merit further investigation. One of them is the reason why none of the interventions mentioned above, even though their content is frequently mapped into the official curriculum, had an impact on high-stakes assessments. Given that students in these settings frequently need to review fundamental abilities and are several grade levels behind expectations, it is possible that the approved curricula are simply too difficult for them (see Pritchett & Beatty, 2015). The impact of these interventions on teaching methods in the long run is a further concern. It is possible that educators could gain knowledge from watching the films or listening to the recordings with the students if these interventions are used in settings with poor teaching quality. It is also unclear whether these interventions make it simpler for schools to instruct students whose native language is not the one used as the primary form of instruction.
Additionally, technology can make education accessible to students who live in remote locations. The data supporting these activities is positive. For instance, Johnston and Ksoll (2017) assessed a program that delivered live instruction via satellite to children in rural primary schools in Ghana’s Greater Accra and Volta regions. The program also provided classes with the hardware required to establish a connection to an Accra-based studio, including solar panels, a satellite modem, a projector, a webcam, microphones, and a PC with interactive software.
After two years, the intervention raised kids’ numeracy scores in grades 2 through 4 and some basic literacy tasks, but it had no impact on students’ attendance or the amount of instructional time spent in class, as determined by school visits. According to the authors’ interpretation of these findings, the improvements in academic performance may be attributable to raising the caliber of the training that kids received (as opposed to increased instructional time). It is unclear whether the positive effects on learning outcomes observed by Naik, Chitre, Bhalla, and Rajan (2019) in their evaluation of a similar program in the Indian state of Karnataka are attributable to the program itself or to variations in the student groups they compared to estimate the initiative’s impact.
Discover and Use Online Libraries
This kind of distant education produced advantageous long-term impacts in one setting (Mexico). In order to gauge its effects, Navarro-Sola (2019) made use of the telesecundarias’ gradual rollout in 1968—that is, middle schools with lessons streamed via satellite TV. The policy had immediate consequences on students’ attendance at school: 10 students registered in middle school and two continued their education for every 50 children served by telesecundaria. Additionally, it had a long-term impact on the academic and professional paths taken by its graduates.
The approach led to an additional year of education, which raised average income by about 18%. This resulted from a movement away from agriculture and the informal sector and into the labor force of more graduates. Similar to Fabregas (2019), who used a later expansion of this policy in 1993 to make his findings, those researchers found that each additional telesecundaria per 1,000 adolescents resulted in an average increase of 0.2 years in education and a decrease in female fertility, but they found no conclusive evidence of long-term effects on outcomes in the labor market.
It is essential to evaluate these findings in light of the environments in which the treatments were carried out. As we mentioned above, they have shown to be successful in part because the “counterfactual” learning conditions (i.e., what would have occurred to students in the absence of such programs) were either lack of access to education or exposure to subpar instruction. If school systems are interested in implementing such interventions, they should first determine how closely their students (or portions of their student body) resemble the subjects of the research mentioned above. This demonstrates the significance of evaluating a system’s needs prior to looking at the facts.
Technology appears to be ideally suited to spread educational materials. In particular, hardware (such as desktop, laptop, or tablet computers) may aid in the delivery of instructional software (such as word processing, reference materials, and/or games). Theoretically, these materials could not only go through a quality assurance review (by curriculum specialists and educators, for example), but also incorporate feedback from student interactions to make necessary adjustments (such as identifying areas that need reinforcement) and facilitate student-teacher interactions.
In reality, however, the majority of programs that have given away free computers, laptops, and netbooks to students do not take advantage of any of the aforementioned possibilities. Instead, they set up a common collection of teaching aids and hope that students will find them useful enough to use them on their own. Rarely do students accomplish this; instead, they frequently utilize their laptops for personal use rather than for academic goals (see, e.g., Malamud & Pop-Eleches, 2011). In fact, free netbook programs have had no effect on students’ overall computer abilities and have regularly failed to raise students’ academic ability in math or language (Cristia et al., 2017). (e.g., Beuermann et al., 2015). Although some of these programs have had a minor effect on cognitive abilities, it is yet unknown how they did so.
To our knowledge, the only free laptop program that successfully implemented one in which a group of researchers installed corrective software on the machines. For grade 3 students in migrant schools in Beijing, China, Mo et al. (2013) evaluated a version of the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) program in which the laptops loaded with remedial software mapped onto the national curriculum for math (similar to the software products that we discuss under “practice exercises” below). The curriculum increased computer capabilities by 0.33 SDs and math achievement by 0.17 SDs after nine months. This study implies that the caliber of the software on the laptops is essential if a school system chooses to spend money on free computers.
Evidence to date, however, points to the possibility that kids learn just as much from textbooks as they do from using laptops. Bando, Gallego, Gertler, and Romero (2016), for instance, compared the impact of providing free laptops and textbooks to 271 elementary schools in underprivileged parts of Honduras. After seven months, pupils in grades 3 and 6 who laptops performed equally well in math and language as those who had received textbooks. Additionally, even though textbooks essentially rendered obsolete at the end of each school year while laptops updated with fresh content each year, the cost of providing laptops (which includes the hardware as well as technical support, Internet access, and training) still too high to more cost-effective than other methods of delivering content to students.
Availability of tablets
The evidence supporting the availability of tablets with software positive yet circumscribed. De Hoop et al. (2020), for instance, tested a composite intervention for first-graders in Zambia’s Eastern Province that integrated hardware (projectors and tablets), hardware (electricity via solar power), and educational materials (lesson plans for educators and interactive lessons for learners, both loaded onto the tablets and mapped onto the official Zambian curriculum). Following a 14-month intervention, student early-grade reading scores increased by 0.4 SDs, early-grade math scores increased by 0.22 SDs, and oral vocabulary scores increased by 0.25 SDs. Additionally, it raised kids’ scores on a locally created evaluation by 0.16 points.
But it can be difficult to pinpoint the elements that are causing the beneficial impacts due to the program’s complexity. Pitchford (2015) assessed an intervention that gave students in grades 1 through 3 in Lilongwe, Malawi tablets equipped with instructional “apps,” to used for 30 minutes per day for two months. Although the evaluation discovered beneficial effects on arithmetic achievement, the key study disadvantage that it only carried out in one school.
Making differentiated instruction easier
By making diversified or personalised instruction easier to offer, technology may also enhance educational outcomes. In recent decades, the majority of developing nations significantly increased access to education by creating additional schools. And lowering the cost of instruction. Both by covering direct costs and paying for opportunity costs (Duflo, 2001; World Bank, 2018). These initiatives have not only significantly expanded the number of students enrolled in classes. But they have also broadened the range of student preparation for education. As a result, many students perform far below the standards set by the curriculum for their grade.
These students are unlikely to benefit significantly from “one-size-fits-all” training, in which a single teacher imparts knowledge deemed suitable for those at the middle (or top) of the achievement distribution (Banerjee & Duflo, 2011). These students may benefit from technology if it offers them either (a) computer-adaptive learning (CAL). Which adapts education and practice opportunities to each student’s ability and rate of preparation.
Adaptive computer learning
The ability of technology to identify students’ starting levels of learning. And place them in teaching and activities of the proper level of difficulty is one of its key competitive advantages. No teacher, can expected to deliver tailored teaching to every student in the class at once. In this way, technology ideally suited to enhance conventional instruction. With the use of technology, students might be able to comprehend fundamental concepts and benefit more from their education.
Despite the fact that many software solutions examined in recent years have labeled as CAL. Many of them rely on a rather coarse degree of separation. Without further differentiation at an early stage. These programs covered in the section below titled “expanding possibilities for practice.” CAL projects add dynamic adaptation to an initial diagnosis. Adjusting the initial level of difficulty and the rate at which it grows. Or lowers depending on whether learners’ replies are right or incorrect.
The research that is already available on these particular programs is very encouraging. The most well-known CAL software evaluation conducted by Banerjee et al. (2007) in Vadodara, Gujarat, India. Where grade 4 kids had access to two hours of shared computer time each week before and after school. During this time, they played games that required them to solve arithmetic problems. Based on the students’ responses, some challenges made more or less challenging. After one and two years of operation, this program increased math achievement by 0.35 and 0.47 SDs, respectively. According to the promise of individualized learning, the program raised student achievement across the board.
In fact, students assigned to the program continued to perform 0.1 SDs better than those assigned to a business. As usual condition a year after the program ended. More recently, Muralidharan, et al. (2019) examined a “blended learning” project in which Delhi, India kids in grades 4 through 9. Engaged in 45 minutes of small group instruction before or after school. And 45 minutes of interaction with CAL software for arithmetic and language. In just 4.5 months, the program raised accomplishment levels in Hindi and math. By 0.23 SDs and 0.37 SDs, respectively. Even though all students benefited from the program in absolute numbers. Relative ones, the lowest performers gained the most because they were receiving minimal instruction in school.
This corpus of research has two significant drawbacks that we can see. First, none of these projects have, to our knowledge, reviewed when put into practice during school hours. As a result, it is impossible to tell the difference between the impact of adaptive software. And that of more instructional time. Second, since local instructors facilitated the majority of these programs. Efforts to separate the impact of the software from that of the instructors have relied heavily on noncausal data. Understanding if CAL software can improve the efficacy of school-based learning. By omitting some of the regularly scheduled time for math. And language instruction is a frontier challenge in this collection of research.
Live, one-on-one instruction
One-on-one tutoring that is live (i.e., in real time) has made possible by recent advancements in videoconferencing’s speed. And quality as well as in the connectivity of faraway locations. Although there is little research on in-person tutoring in poor nations, it appears that this method is most effective when it is utilized to personalize education (see, e.g., Banerjee et al., 2007; Banerji, Berry, & Shotland, 2015; Cabezas, Cuesta, & Gallego, 2011).
There are hardly any research on the effects of online tutoring. Presumably because these nations lack the necessary gear and Internet access. The recent study of an online tutoring program for grade 6 pupils in Kianyaga, Kenya to learn English from volunteers. From a Canadian university using Skype (videoconferencing software) for one hour each week after school is an exception. According to Chemin and Oledan (2020). Beneficiaries of the program improved by 0.22 SDs on an oral comprehension exam after 10 months. Grew more at ease utilizing technology for learning. And were more open to intercultural communication.
Importantly, while the tutoring sessions made use of the official English textbooks. And attempted to assist students with their assignments in part. Tutors educated in a variety of teaching techniques to cater to each student’s unique degree of readiness, if necessary. To our knowledge, analogous national projects have not yet undergone a thorough evaluation.
Increasing practice opportunities
Giving students more opportunity for practice is a third way technology could raise the standard of education. Many developing nations spend the majority of lesson time giving lectures. Where the teacher explains the subject and the students passively copy what they say off the board. There isn’t much time for in-class practice with this configuration. As a result, students who did not comprehend the lecture’s description of the subject struggle. When forced to complete homework assignments alone. This issue might solved by technology, which would enable students to review material at their own pace.
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