Oh, you work at the World Bank, someone recently remarked to me.
It must be great to have access to so much information and data about so many things. Yes, that's certainly a perk of the job
Yes, that's certainly a perk of the job, I responded, although it can be overwhelming at times.
What's more interesting, and exciting, at least to me (and, truth be told, overwhelming as well), is the access to so many fascinating questions.
(For what it's worth: Most of the information and data with which we are traditionally associated are actually 'open' these days,freely accessible to anyone with a web browser as a result of our access to information policy).
Here's a (lightly anonymized, slightly disguised) sample of questions that arrived in my in-box just today:
- For the first time in a few decades, our country is about to build lots of new schools: Should we be designing them any differently in order to accommodate the use of new technologies?
- What are some compelling examples of how 'edtech' has been 'scaled up' to promote greater equity and inclusiveness that are relevant to our country?
- We want to put all our textbooks online -- how should we do this?
- We need to hire an expert in governance issues in education systems who can help us better understand the opportunities and challenges that new technologies will pose for us in the future: Can you suggest some related terms of reference, and a shortlist of candidates who speak our language and are familiar with operating contexts in our country and region?
- What specs should we include in our big new tender for tablets?
(By the time I've completed this blog post, I expect a few more will have been sent to me as well.)
Whether these shouldbe the types of things we get questions about -- that's another matter. There are no bad questions ... but of course some questions are better than others. Before we attempt to respond to a specific information request, we first pause and consider if we are being asked the 'right question'.
In steering people to the 'right question', or at least to a better question (or, as we like to phrase it when we respond, 'That's a great question! And here's another question that you may also wish to consider ...'), we have concluded that it usually helps to be able to address the one that they have already posed.
To help with this, we are trying to better organize what we know, based on our own work and more generally, to better address the things that we -- and the 100+ governments with which we actively work around the world -- don't know.
As part of this process, we have developed a master list of master list of 50+ key topics related to the use of new technologies in education of potential operational relevance to the World Bank in its strategic advice, lending activities and research going forward. It is not meant to be comprehensive in its consideration of topics related to the use of technology in education, and does not represent a 'framework for how to think about edtech'. Instead, it seeks to document and organize related requests for information and advice into distinct categories. It is not based on what the World Bank has done and supported in the past, but rather on questions we receive related to what governments are looking to do in the future. Reasonable people can and will no doubt disagree about whether we are being asked the 'right' questions or not. (We have strong opinions on this ourselves!)
Some of these questions aren't explicitly about technology .... but, as the 'technology in education' people within the institution, our team gets asked them regularly. Is STEM/STEAM an 'edtech topic'? Whether it is or not, we get asked tons of related questions, so it's on our list. Are we asked a lot about child digital safety and privacy issues? No, to be honest, we are not, at least not initially -- but we are pretty convinced that we will increasingly be asked about them in the future, and once we open the topic for discussion, we are often deluged with related questions. Are we asked about the development of edtech ecosystems in a country? No, we are not, but many of the discussions that arise as a result of other questions being asked eventually are broadened to include consideration of this topic.
When we have referenced this list in conversations with many groups in recent months, we have been asked to share it, and so I am doing so here, in case anyone else might find it useful or of interest.
(For what it's worth, the list is loosely organized according to the World Bank SABER-ICT framework.)
Master list of key topics related to the use of new technologies in education
(based on questions posed to the World Bank)
Policy & system level
01 - ECOSYSTEMS: Development of edtech ecosystems, including national edtech agencies
02 - MEDIA Digital media outreach and engagement in the education sector, including use of social media
03 - POLICY: Edtech policy development
04 - STI: Developing national capacities related to science, technology & innovation
05 - CLOUD: The cloud / datacenters in education
06 - CONNECTIVITY: Connectivity for schools & learning, esp. in rural environments
07 - DEVICES: Edtech devices (handhelds, mobile phones, whiteboards, probeware, etc.)
08 - ENERGY: Energy to support technology use in education (e.g. solar)
09 - IOT: Internet of things, sensors
10 - LEARNING SPACES: Architecture and learning spaces
11 - NRENs: National Research & Education Networks
12 - PLATFORMS: Digital platforms, tools and infrastructure in education, esp. open source
13 - SECURITY: Digital security in education
Teachers & teaching
14 - DISTANCE LEARNING: Teaching and learning at a distance
15 - PEDAGOGY: Pedagogical approaches to teaching with technology
16 - TEACHERS: Teacher professional development and using tech to support teachers
Educational content & learning resources
17 - ADAPTIVE LEARNING: Personalized and adaptive learning platforms and tools
18 - GAMING: Educational gaming / video games in education
19 - IP/OER: Intellectual property (IP) issues in education, including those related to Open Educational Resources (OER)
20 - LEARNING MATERIALS: Digital learning resources & e-textbooks
21 - PORTALS: National online educational portals
22 - VR/AR: virtual reality & augmented reality in education
23 - DIGITAL SKILLS: Digital literacy, digital skills, coding
24 - LITERACY: Technology to promote literacy
25 - MAKERS: Makerspaces, fablabs and robotics
26 - SAFETY/ETHICS: Student digital safety & ethical use of tech
27 - STEM/STEAM: Skills and competencies related to science, technology engineering, (arts,) & mathematics
28 - 21c SKILLS: 21st century skills, non-cognitive & socio-emotional skills + technology
29 - TESTING: Computer-based assessment & testing
30 - TESTPREP: Test prep & related tutoring with technology
31 - AI/ML: AI and machine learning in education
32 - BIG DATA: Big data in education
33 - BIOMETRICS: Biometrics in education
34 - BLOCKCHAIN: Blockchain in education
35 - DATA COLLECTION: Technology & data collection (SMS surveys, handheld devices, etc.)
36 - DATA VISUALIZATION: Data visualization in education
37 - DIGITAL IDENTITY: Digital identity in education
38 - EMIS: Education management information systems
39 - INDICATORS: Indicators related to edtech
40 - MAPPING: GIS and mapping
41 - PRIVACY: Data privacy in education
42 - EVALUATION: How to evaluate edtech
43 - RESEARCH: State of edtech research & impact evaluation
44 - COSTS: Costing of edtech
45 - MOBILE PAYMENTS: Mobile payments in education
46 - PROCUREMENT: Procurement of edtech
47 - STARTUPS: Edtech startups and incubators
48 - COMMUNITY: Community engagement through ICT
49 - ECD: Early childhood development % technology
50 - HIGHER ED: Technology in higher education, including MOOCs
51 - LIFELONG LEARNING: Technology & adult education / lifelong learning
52 - REFUGEES: Technology & education of refugees
53 - SPECIAL NEEDS: Technology and special education needs (SEN) / disabilities
Wow, that's quite a list, no?
As the questions we are asked change and evolve, this list will no doubt change and evolve as well.
We fully recognize that the large number and diversity of topics listed here represents an acute challenge for our institution going forward if it is to maintain its technical relevance to its clients, and exert thought leadership on issues of increasing strategic importance and relevance to education decisionmakers. Over time, it is hoped that the World Bank will grow the capacity of its staff, and build strategic partnerships with other groups, so that we will have better access to expertise, experience and external contacts related to many of these topics. Going forward, it is intended that related competencies and perspectives that are today considered 'niche' within the institution will be widely distributed across World Bank staff and be communicated and shared with our counterparts in national governments and other partner organizations.
This is admittedly a rather tall order, but the world is changing, and institutions needs to change along with it. Driving forward is made more difficult if you only navigate by looking in the rear-view mirror.
Some related notes:
- A number of these topics relate to existing areas of work and expertise at the World Bank where, until now, technology-related perspectives and expertise have not been well integrated into related technical assistance, projects and research activities (e.g. textbooks --> digital learning materials; teachers --> teacher professional development supported by ICTs; skills --> digital skills, digital literacy and coding; etc.).
- In other cases, topics listed are not 'edtech' per se, but they are included here because related requests for assistance are often directed to staff who work on edtech topics (e.g. learning spaces; 21c skills; STI) because it is unclear where to find related assistance internally.
- Some topics are obviously quite closely related but represent distinct enough areas of expertise and activity to merit separate listings (e.g. AI/ML overlaps in many ways with adaptive learning and with testing; learning materials and education portals are closely related; digital identity, biometrics and security are closely related, as are security and digital safety; etc.).
- The World Bank has had longstanding activities related to the use of education management information systems, or EMIS. Indeed, most World Bank education projects include support for EMIS in some way. One longstanding challenge for the institution has been internal discussions of technology use in education have often quickly come to focus largely, if not exclusively, on EMIS, crowding out discussions of and attention to topics on other edtech topics where related World Bank experience and expertise are comparatively much weaker, where they exist at all.
You may also be interested in the following post from the EduTech blog:
- Questions to ask (and not to ask) when your president tells you to buy 100k (or a million) tablets for students
- Research questions about technology use in education in developing countries
- Learning from a visit to a school using technology: Some questions to consider
Note: The image used at the top of this post ("they come in all shapes, colors and sizes ...") came via Pixabayand is in the public domain as a result of the use of aCC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication.
Privacy, footprint, and digital citizenship are all as important as the content being learned and how learning is being measured. Even entirely new approaches like eLearning don't offer the same social benefits of a regular school.What are technology related topics? ›
- Artificial intelligence.
- Cloud computing & virtualization.
- Complex systems.
- Computational science.
- Conformance testing.
- Cyberphysical systems.
- Easier teacher-student communication and cooperation. ...
- Information has never been so accessible. ...
- Online education. ...
- Improved development of student critical thinking. ...
- Modern classroom.
- Provides A More Engaged Learning Environment. ...
- Prepares Students for the Future. ...
- Connects Better with Students. ...
- Boosts Collaboration. ...
- Supports Learning. ...
- Gamified Learning. ...
- Virtual Field Trips. ...
- Create Student Websites.
- Inadequate classroom space that will accommodate a large number of computers.
- Teachers' distaste to take the students to computer laboratory.
- Lack of expedient access to computers at home.
- Inadequate infrastructure.
- Pitiable planning.
technology, the application of scientific knowledge to the practical aims of human life or, as it is sometimes phrased, to the change and manipulation of the human environment. The subject of technology is treated in a number of articles.What is the best topic for research about technology? ›
Other Examples of Technology Research Topics & Questions
Is using technology in college classrooms a good or bad idea? What are the advantages of cloud technologies for pharmaceutical companies? Can new technologies help in treating morbid obesity? Why is machine learning the future?
- Security Concerns. Technology is a critical component in making companies more secure. ...
- Widening Skill Gaps. Technology has long stood as a valuable tool for helping companies to accomplish goals more efficiently. ...
- The Rise of Robotics. ...
- Business Continuity. ...
- Regaining Trust.
Meaning, nature and scope of Educational Technology; Components of Educational Technology–hardware, software; Systems approach in Educational Technology; Multimedia approach in Educational Technology.What is the biggest impact of technology in education? ›
A very important technological impact on education is increased interactivity and class engagement. In addition, better overall comprehension, practical learning, time management, and combined learning methodologies are just some of the impacts that technology has had on student learning.
The benefits of using educational technology also include the improvement of learners' mental and physical health. By using these tools, students are able to enhance their learning and their cognitive skills, which in turn helps them improve their academic performance as well as their physical health.What is the main role of technology in education? ›
Technology in education allows students to flip the notion of a classroom on its head by choosing when and where to learn. Video lectures, recordings, and digital resources make it possible for students to learn at their own pace.What are four of the biggest issues impacting education? ›
- Classroom Size.
- Family Factors.
- Student Attitudes and Behaviors.
- No Child Left Behind.
- Parent Involvement.
Challenges in the Education Industry: The Post-COVID Reality
The primary challenge is the imbalance between the efficiency, the pace of learning, quality, and overall learning experience in offline and online classes. There is a huge demand for lifelong learning to cope with social and technological changes.
Social divide – There is no fair learning access in the country. Lack of resources – Large-scale shortfalls in classrooms, teachers, and other tools to sustain sound learning also make up a big issue.What are the 10 key factors for technology evaluation? ›
- Adoption cost. Before choosing a technology, assess the costs and workload required to implement it. ...
- Threat. New technologies come with risks. ...
- Capability. What does the technology enable your company to do? ...
- Usability. ...
- Interoperability. ...
- Integration. ...
- Application. ...
- Legal compliance.
What are the 5 examples of technology? Five examples of types of technologies are electronic technologies, mechanical technologies, medical technologies, industrial and manufacturing technologies, and tools.How will modern technologies change the way of teaching in the future? ›
It has allowed for more effective and efficient communication between teachers and students, between teachers and parents, and between and among students. Additionally, it has enabled educators to provide more engaging and interactive lessons that better meet the needs of students.What are the 6 main types of technology? ›
While a single piece of technology often overlaps into different areas, there are generally six different categories of technology: communication, electrical, energy, manufacturing, medical and transportation.What are the top 3 new technologies you are interested in? ›
- Data Science.
- Cloud Computing.
- Artificial Intelligence.
- Full Stack Web Development.
- Carbon appropriation. Rising of global temperature is a major threat for everyone. ...
- Grid-scale energy storage. ...
- Universal flu vaccine. ...
- Ocean clean-up. ...
- Dementia treatment. ...
- Energy-efficient desalination. ...
- Embodied AI. ...
- Secure driverless car.
Increased Security Threat
Cyber-attacks are on the rise, and as more businesses become digital, they inherently accumulate more data — which in turn becomes attractive to cyber criminals looking to steal data or hold data for ransom.
Growing cybersecurity, data privacy threats.What is the biggest threat of technology today? ›
Cybercrime today is a major threat not just for the private sector and for individuals but for the government and the nation as a whole. As we move into 2022, state-sponsored attacks are expected to increase, with attacks on critical infrastructure of particular concern.What are the negative effects of educational technology? ›
- Lower attention span. Teachers, parents, and students themselves find that technology can have a direct impact on attention spans. ...
- Increased risk and lack of privacy. ...
- Risk of depression. ...
- Obesity. ...
- Falling grades. ...
- Bullying. ...
- Social interaction issues.
- Social anxiety, general anxiety, test anxiety, or panic attacks.
- Family expectations or problems.
- Depression, lack of energy or motivation, hopelessness, being overwhelmed, low self-esteem, homesickness, loneliness.
1. Professional Development: There is a lack of sufficient, continuing professional development for teachers who have to integrate new technologies into their classrooms but are unable due to a lack of preparedness or understanding of these technologies.How technology affects students behavior? ›
Technology in the classroom can also be used to report on students' disciplinary issues such as tardiness and negative behavior. Strong evidence shows how students gain a stronger sense of control by tracking their behavior and have an easier time recognizing when they fall into negative patterns.How technology has changed the way students learn today? ›
While learning environments of the past primarily consisted of textbooks, lectures and the occasional video presentation, today's classrooms can make use of various digital tools, including tablets, apps, interactive whiteboards and videos to help students gain insights on materials.What are the greatest barriers facing students today? ›
- Motivation or "availability to learn"
- Social and cultural barriers.
- Emotional factors that affect learning.
- Personal issues that can affect learning.
- What we can do.
- Key resources: Removing barriers to learning.
- Image credits.
- Lack Of Resources. ...
- Bigger Focus Is on The English Language. ...
- Neglection Of the Practice. ...
- Educators Put Students to A Lot of Pressure. ...
- Questionable Quality of Teachers.
Game-based learning is one of the most popular emerging trends in educational technology. With game-based learning, students play (digital or non-digital) games that teach or reinforce specific concepts and skills.What are some barriers to using technology in your future classroom? ›
- Internet or computer access. Even though internet access is so widespread, not every student has access to the things they need in order to adopt technology-driven education successfully. ...
- Budget constraints. ...
- Scarcity of curricula. ...
- Wi-Fi barriers. ...
- Parental involvement.