Upcoming Launch Event: Reflecting on evidence around EdTech and TPD
Reflective practice is not just reserved for teachers… it’s the duty of all stakeholders in the field.”
Do you know how many academic articles are published each year? A recent study by To and Yu (2020) found that over 3.2 million academic articles were published in 2020 alone. And this only considered publications of researchers from the US, UK, China, and multilateral organisations such as the World Bank and United Nations. It doesn’t take into account the growing body of evidence emerging from lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs), including in the regions of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
So what happens to all this research? Who actually reads it and what impact is the evidence having on policies and practices? We’ve been asking ourselves these same questions. To get closer to the answers, we conducted our own systematic review of evidence focusing on the use of educational technology (EdTech) for teacher professional development (TPD) in LMICs. After screening almost 5000 sources, we reviewed a total of 170 publications, including academic articles and grey literature published from 2008 to 2020 across 40 LMICs. We synthesised this evidence into an academic article, policy brief, and technical report. We also created an open publication of the whole database – thematically coded and quality scored – so others in the field can conduct their own targeted searches.
11 key recommendations on TPD and EdTech in LMICs
We produced the following key recommendations for researchers, policymakers and practitioners that emerged from the systemic review on TPD in LMICs and the role of EdTech:
- Work with teachers to design TPD interventions.
- Leverage EdTech to enhance teaching practices.
- Systematically monitor and evaluate how TPD impacts on student learning.
- Explore how EdTech-mediated TPD can improve student literacy.
- Use EdTech to support teacher trainers and educators.
- Foster trust and positive relationships.
- Explore formal and informal uses of EdTech to facilitate teacher communities of practice.
- Focus on equity and supporting the most marginalised.
- Consider the TPD ecosystem.
- Strive for scalability and sustainability of TPD programmes.
- Coordinate and manage partners closely.
As researchers and practitioners, we believe in the potential value of these recommendations to improve the quality of teaching and learning in LMICs. We also recognize that these guidelines – and the evidence on which they build – do not always end up in the hands of those who are in a position to make change.
So, we decided to do something about it.
Join EdTech Hub on June 8 for the launch of the literature review in our webinar ‘Technology for Teacher Professional Development in LMICs: Reflecting on evidence’
On Wednesday, June 8 (1-2 pm BST) EdTech Hub is bringing together stakeholders from diverse roles and geographies to reflect on the evidence collected. During the Technology for Teacher Professional Development in LMICs webinar, co-authors will briefly present the key recommendations, then hear from a panel of discussants who will share their thoughts on the contextual relevance and applicability of such guidelines. The panel includes: teacher trainers from Tanzania, a school leader from Pakistan, a policymaker from Sierra Leone, and a UK-based researcher working in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
The goal for the webinar is an opportunity for the panellists and audience to further develop these recommendations by grounding them in lived experiences. The hope is also to contribute to closing the divide between research and practice, by encouraging other authors to do the same.
The evidence we draw on in our literature review highlights the myriad ways in which EdTech can be used to support teachers in LMICs. One key finding is that EdTech can be a tool through which teachers can reflect on their practice, to brainstorm solutions to challenges that arise in their work environments. But reflective practice is not just a strategy reserved for teachers. Teachers work in rapidly changing contexts – Edtech innovation, globalisation, and widespread crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and mass displacement. So, it’s the duty of all stakeholders working in the field of education to reflect on how best to support teaching and learning across diverse contexts: with technology or without. Through our launch event we hope to provide a space for structured reflection and collaboration across actors in the EdTech ecosystem.
A challenge to us all
Sharing widely and reflecting on the outcomes of research with its stakeholders is important – but what then? Can we consider how the next generation of research might be produced differently in the first place? Rethinking and reshaping research partnerships means tackling unequal power dynamics and co-producing research, promoting mutual capacity strengthening, and greater reflexivity. It might take longer and yield fewer publications (!) but the benefits may be immeasurable.
Sign up for the launch webinar HERE. We hope you can join us!