How do we reach marginalised learners using EdTech during Covid-19?

The evidence-backed advice below is one in a series of topics from the EdTech Hub Helpdesk. Here we summarise recommendations from our work with governments, World Bank, FCDO, UNICEF and other education decision-makers.

Marginalised learners include girls, refugees, learners with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), learners from low-income backgrounds, those in rural and remote areas who may not have access to internet or high-tech platforms, and others. ‘Reaching marginalised learners’ is a simple stated aim but one that is difficult to implement, as its implementation greatly depends on the local context. 

We recommend an evidence-based, multi-modal approach with a focus on low-tech, offline, and even paper-based initiatives. Designing an inclusive strategy requires collecting available education data that will inform the development of a multi-modal approach. A great starting point is UNICEF Innocenti’s brief on equitable remote learning, which emphasises multiple delivery channels for learning and provides additional statistics on TV ownership, radio ownership, and internet access across countries.

Research suggests that EdTech programmes are more successful if they consider what digital infrastructure already exists, and how it could be put to better use. Important categories for consideration include device and internet availability, and existing digital infrastructure (e.g., radio or TV channels, learning management systems). It is also important to remember that technology on its own — without support, training, and integration with existing systems — has not been shown to raise learning outcomes. 

For more information, you can check out EdTech Hub’s suggested five-part education response to Covid-19

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