Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Education systems around the world are investing in technology to help teachers be more effective. In some cases, the results are exciting. In others, the impact of technology falls short of expectations or remains unevaluated. The closing of schools worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of understanding how to leverage technology well. This note lays out four principles for investing in technology for effective teachers and six aspects of teaching where technology can boost teacher performance, together with examples of tested, promising, and cautionary experiences with teacher technologies.

The four principles are as follows:

  1. Technology is not the solution to the learning crisis. But technology can be the solution to specific micro-problems within the education system.
  2. If you’re going to invest in technology, invest in the training, support, monitoring, and maintenance to make it work.
  3. Test the technology. Make sure it works. Make sure it is used. Make sure it increases learning.
  4. Technology to monitor and manage teachers will only work with political buy-in.

Beyond the principles, the six applications—and the note includes various countries’ experience with these—include using technology to (1) coach and mentor teachers, (2) complement teacher content knowledge and pedagogical skills, (3) create virtual communities of practice for teachers, (4) manage teachers effectively, (5) deploy the teacher workforce effectively, and (6) increase the attractiveness of the teaching profession.

This note was produced as part of the World Bank’s Global Platform for Successful Teachers.

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