“Making the most”: when technologies can change schools

Education systems face diverse and daunting challenges – from struggling to meet the needs of the 21st century, to the 264 million children across the world who don’t attend a school at all.

Technology has transformed aspects our education system (through democratisation of knowledge via the internet, the power of data to inform decision making, and many other examples). As a result, vast sums of money are spent by governments, NGOs and others in an effort to improve our schools through technology. But what makes ambitious investments in technology a success?

Our ongoing research “Making the most of technology in education  systems” is exploring this question by examining nine case studies (three in Italy, six from the rest of the world) that provide innovative models for exploiting the opportunities that investment in technology can provide for policymakers, school leaders, teachers and students.

We’ll be exploring three particular areas:

  1. Innovative tools. How is technology being used to tackle our schools’ big challenges?
  2. Innovative systems. What are some strategies for adopting technology tools in ways that are most impactful, and what do these changes mean our systems as a whole?
  3. Innovative relationships. How can school systems harness skills, resources and expertise in unusual ways using technology?

We are studying each case study from two distinct perspectives:

  • The system perspective: What are the enabling conditions across a whole system for ambitious projects to succeed?
  • The school perspective: What can school leaders and teachers do, and what tools are available to them, to maximise the benefit to their school being involved in a wider programme of change?

We want to understand how, in different contexts, technology has helped schools to overcome problems inherent in our school systems with the aim of supporting the demand for investments and combating inequalities that (as in Italy) we find in our schools.

We’ll be publishing a report in Spring 2019 which describes inspiring and innovative practice around the world and describes applicative recommendations for policymakers, NGOs, school leaders and teachers on how to make the most of investment in technology.