A new report examines how different countries approach ed-tech management and access.

A new report comparing educational technology use of K-12 students in 21 countries found that, despite global economic uncertainty, many countries are still investing in technology to improve educational systems and boost student achievement.

Twenty governments said that giving students better access to the internet is a top priority, and roughly half said students need more access to computers.

The January 2012 report, International Experiences with Technology in Education (IETE), comes from SRI International’s Center for Technology in Learning and was conducted at the request of the U.S. Department of Education.

It seeks to identify what types of educational technology data are being collected, how technologies are being used to improve international students’ access to high-quality instruction, how technologies are being used to increase teacher effectiveness, and how other governments are tracking student progress and using those data to inform policy decisions.

The governments shared many of the same national goals when it comes to improving educational technology for students, including “updating infrastructure; ensuring equity of access to digital technologies; improving information and communications technologies (ICT) proficiency among students, teachers, and administrators; increasing the availability of digital learning resources; and increasing the integration of ICT into instruction to support students’ creativity and problem-solving and collaborative skills.”

“This report is unprecedented in the range of countries that were included and the compilation of success indicators that are being used across large-scale international studies,” said Gucci Estrella Trinidad, educational researcher at SRI and manager of the research project.

“Countries are exploring different mechanisms and avenues for making technology more accessible to students and teachers to support learning. By making cross-country comparisons, a wider audience can benefit from experiences and solutions of other countries.”

Research took place in two phases during 2009 and 2010. In the first phase, researchers examined literature and the internet for multinational data collections, and they sought to identify methods, instruments, and available data on government efforts to integrate ICT into teaching and learning. The report’s second phase involved updating available data and surveying and interviewing representatives of the 21 governments included in the research.

Countries and governmental bodies included in the report are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, and Sweden.

Important findings

Key findings include: