Knowledge Maps: ICTs in Education
Ciencia y Tecnología
Recent work at infoDev created a ﾓKnowledge Mapﾔ of what is known ﾖ and what isnﾒt ﾖ about information and communication technology (ICT) use in education. This knowledge map reveals that, despite a decade of large investment in ICTs to benefit education in OECD countries, and increasing use of ICTs in education in developing countries, important gaps remain in the current knowledge base. In addition, there appears to be a dearth of useful resources attempting to translate what is known to work ﾖ and not work ﾖ in this field for policymakers and donor staff working on education issues in developing countries, especially those issues related to Education For All and other education-related Millennium Development Goals.
The knowledge map investigated ten topics (impact of ICTs on learning and achievement; monitoring and evaluation; equity issues; costs; current projects and practices, specific ICT tools, teaching and ICTs, content & curriculum; policy issues, and school-level issues) grouped into four major themes.
Key Findings: Impact
ﾕ The impact of ICT use on learning outcomes is unclear, and open to much debate.
ﾕ There is an absence of widely accepted standard methodologies and indicators to assess impact of ICTs in education.
ﾕ There is a disconnect between the rationales most often put forward to advance the use of ICTs in education (to introduce new teaching and learning practices and to foster 21st century thinking and learning skills) and their actual implementation (predominantly for use in computer literacy and dissemination of learning materials).
Key Findings: Costs
ﾕ There is very little useful data on the cost of ICT in education initiatives, especially those attempting to assess Total Cost of Ownership, nor guidance on how to conduct cost assessments.
Key Findings: Current implementations of ICTs in education
ﾕ ICTs are being increasingly introduced in education, and interest in their use appears to be growing, even in the most challenging environments in developing countries.
Key Findings: Policy: Lessons learned and best practices
ﾕ There are emerging best practices and lessons learned in a number of areas, but with a few exceptions (notably on ﾑschoolnetﾒ development and general lessons learned), they have not been widely disseminated nor packaged into formats easily accessible to policy makers in developing countries, and have not been explicitly examined in the context of the education-related MDGs.
While much of the rhetoric (and rationale) for using ICTs to benefit education has focused on ICTs' potential for bringing about changes in the teaching-learning paradigm, in practice, ICTs are most often used in education in LDCs to support existing teaching and learning practices with new (and, it should be noted, often quite expensive!) tools. While impact on student achievement is still a matter of reasonable debate, a consensus seems to argue that the introduction and use of ICTs in education can be a useful tool to help promote and enable educational reform, and that ICTs are both important motivational tools for learning and can promote greater efficiencies in education systems and practices.