EdTech for Learners with Disabilities in Primary School Settings in LMICs

A Systematic Literature Review​

Introduction and context

Educational technology, arguably, plays an important role in helping to ensure children / young people with disabilities have fair and optimised access to the school curriculum and ensuring they have opportunities to develop their independence, agency, and social inclusion. These principles are underpinned by a ‘rights’ agenda as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol (⇡UNCRPD, 2006), which demands fair and equal access to education for all. EdTech can play a powerful role in supporting children’s learning, not only in ways of providing access but also in enabling children to use appropriate technology independently. This also enables them to enjoy the benefits of a full school curriculum and be able to participate in activities in different educational arrangements. Given these strong assertions, it is vital to carry out a closer examination of international published evidence to understand whether EdTech is making a positive difference to the educational experiences and outcomes of children / young people with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). 

This systematic literature review was guided by the overarching aim of establishing the categories of EdTech that may be appropriate to support the learning of children with disabilities aged 6–12 years in LMICs. A critical review of the published literature was deemed essential. The field of disability and EdTech (mirroring larger trends in disability and educational research) has remained dominated by international assertions of support through the sustainable development agenda goals, anecdotal commentaries and strong personal assertions but these are substantiated by little evidence. Through a review of published papers, we endeavoured to establish how successful EdTech has been in terms of viability, improving educational access, learner engagement, and learning outcomes in LMICs. The review provides a synthesis of what we know from the evidence and highlights gaps in the existing knowledge base. 

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