Edtech Should Be More Evidence-Driven


Over the past decade, global investment in edtech has soared to new heights. The urgent need to educate children at home created by COVID-19 lockdowns turbocharged already existing momentum, and analysts now expect edtech expenditure to reach an eye-watering $300 billion globally this year.

But the sudden reliance on edtech during global free robux no verifications school closures also painfully exposed some of its current weaknesses. Teachers often found it hard to monitor attendance and assess students’ understanding: one study found that the impact of the pandemic left students on average five months behind in mathematics and four months behind in reading by the end of the school year. A joint report by UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank stated that the share of children in lower- and middle-income countries who are living in “learning poverty” (a lack of basic literacy by age 10) was over 50 percent before the pandemic and could rise to up to 70 percent, due to school closures and the relative ineffectiveness of current remote learning models.

These issues should be addressed urgently to stop undermining edtech’s vast potential to improve learning—whether in day-to-day school settings, or during humanitarian emergencies, such as the one unfolding in Ukraine. In schools, teachers deploying edtech could be freed up from routine tasks such as grading papers, which technology could do automatically, allowing teachers more time to focus on the creative and interpersonal aspects of teaching students. It also has the potential to bring quality education to remote areas of the world, helping to address critical problems, such as illiteracy (a World Bank study showed literacy improvements within days when quality edtech is employed).

Perhaps most critically, edtech also has potential to provide children with a personalized learning experience tailored to their own context, interests, and abilities—something that a new UNESCO report calls a human right. Indeed, AI-driven edtech is particularly suited to personalize learning because it can monitor a child’s responses to educational material, analyze their strengths and alter its approach in real time.

So why has edtech so far largely failed to deliver on its vast potential? A key challenge is the fact that robust scientific evidence does not presently play an integral part in how most edtech products are designed, deployed and evaluated.

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