The use of "Ed-tech" or education technology in education can play a crucial role in providing new and innovative forms of support to educators, learners, and the teaching-learning process more broadly. When schools use education technology to enhance the work of teachers and to improve the quality and quantity of educational contents, learners will thrive. Moreover, after the pandemic COVID-19, one thing is certain: School systems that are best prepared to use education technology effectively will be better positioned to ensure quality education in the face of school closures. The publication "Realizing the promise: How can education technology improve learning for all?", the Center for Universal Education's first playbook, is intended as an evidence-based tool for ministries of education, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, to adopt and more successfully invest in education technology.

The report seeks to provide guidance to educators as well as decision-makers around the world to realize the potential of education technology. The authors begin by conducting a systematic review of rigorous evaluations of education programs that use technology to improve learning. To date, the evidence indicates that children do not learn more from interacting with laptops than they do from interacting with regular textbooks. Hence, there is no single education initiative that might achieve the same results everywhere, as school systems differ in students and teachers, as well as in the availability and quality of educational materials and technologies. In this report, the authors argue for a simple yet surprisingly rare approach to education technology that seeks to: (a) understand the needs, infrastructure, and capacity of a school system; (b) survey the best available evidence on interventions that match those conditions; and (c) closely monitor the results of innovations before they are scaled up.

This publication adapts a framework to think about the potential levers of system improvement - specifically, the interactions between teachers, students, and the instructional material, and how they can be mediated through parents. The instructional core figure shown here suggests, "Ed-tech" interventions can affect the instructional core in a myriad of ways. Based on their reviewed evidence, the authors suggest here that education authorities should focus on four potential uses of technology that play to its comparative advantages and complement the work of teachers to accelerate students' learning: 1. Scaling up quality instruction, such as through prerecorded quality lessons; 2. Facilitating differentiated instruction, through, for example, computer-adaptive learning and live one-on-one tutoring; 3. Expanding opportunities to practice; and 4. Increasing student engagement, through videos and games.

The publication concludes with five key recommendations for educators and decision-makers to realize the potential of education technology to accelerate students' learning: I. Conducting a quick survey to understand the current practices and potential barriers to adoption of education technology; II. Considering how the introduction of technology may affect the interactions among learners, educators, and content; III. Defining clear objectives for the education technology and establish ways to regularly assess progress and make course corrections in a timely manner; IV. Understanding that how this kind of reform is approached can matter immensely for its success; and V. Communicating with a range of stakeholders, including educators, school leaders, parents, and learners. Finally, those interested in realizing the potential of education technology should think carefully about how it will improve the teaching-learning process.

The writer is an independent researcher. E-mail:

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