New report examines international ed-tech policies

  • Most governments have teacher technology standards and offer online portals with learning materials and software tools.
  • Many countries in the study offer online training and support web-based communities.
  • Half of included countries assess teachers’ ed-tech skills.
  • About half of the countries are developing or have invested in information systems to monitor student performance and collect data on ed-tech access or use.

A handful of the countries—including Australia, Canada, Estonia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, and South Korea—have invested in large-scale ICT infrastructure projects intended to boost educational systems, increase broadband internet access in schools and homes, and increase hardware access in schools.

Most participating countries have “national-level documents that provided a vision for integrating ICT into primary and secondary education.” Countries use their plans to connect stakeholders and coordinate activities focused on increasing ICT opportunities in schools. Nine countries have comprehensive plans in place, and six countries were at the time of research working to create systematic national plans. Three countries embedded technology guidance in other curriculum materials or national plans that include education.

Two countries, Estonia and the Netherlands, said that instead of implementing ed-tech goals in national documents, they are focusing on creating plans that are reviewed and updated each year with new initiatives and resources.

Many of the participating countries saw private-sector participation in education programs, ranging from private sector contributions of hardware or software, monetary contributions, or partnerships.

Most of the governments said they have agreements with outside organizations to help develop educational resources.

The report was released shortly before Thailand, which wasn’t part of the study, announced plans to buy 900,000 tablet computers (worth an estimated $64.5 million) for all of its primary school students. Distribution of the tablets is to start in May.

Laura Ascione
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