Ed tech that's working in the poorest countries

By Lisa Cornish 12 December 2016

Students receive XO laptops as part of the One Laptop Per Child project in Peru. Photo by: Christoph Derndorfer / CC BY-SA

Using technology to improve education has been the subject of great hype, controversy and disappointment in recent years. Sending laptops to the poor and tablets to developing countries’ schools has often been pitched as a quick fix solution to improving education standards. The evidence on outcomes is less convincing.

For nongovernmental organizations in the field, technology can be a game changer — or a costly failure. To find out what works and what doesn’t, Devex spoke to Michael Trucano, senior education and technology policy specialist at the World Bank, for his perspective and tips to make best use of technology in the education of children in the world’s poorest communities.

What are the development sector’s concerns with regards to using technologies such as tablets to deliver education in some of the world’s poorest communities?

Evidence about the impact of the use of many educational technologies on things such as student learning outcomes is decidedly mixed around the world. Efforts like the high profile One Laptop Per Child initiative in Peru, which saw almost a million laptops purchased for students with little demonstrable impact on teaching and learning, represent cautionary tales for many international donors.

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About the author

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Lisa Cornishlisa_cornish

Lisa Cornish is a Devex reporter based in Canberra, Australia. Lisa formerly worked with News Corp Australia as a data journalist for the national network and was published throughout Australia in major metropolitan and regional newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph in Melbourne, Herald Sun in Melbourne, Courier-Mail in Brisbane and online through news.com.au. Lisa additionally consults with Australian government providing data analytics, reporting and visualization services. Lisa was awarded the 2014 Journalist of the Year by the New South Wales Institute of Surveyors.

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