Making the Most of Technology in Education – Recommendations to School Leaders, Teachers, Tech Providers and Governments

Education is our most powerful tool to improve and shape the society, but our education systems around the world face huge problems – from vastly unequal access or crises in teacher recruitment, to the growing costs of modernization or stalling social mobility.

Technology – designed, used and implemented effectively – is providing an increasingly sophisticated set of tools to help us address them.

NESTA, an innovation foundation in UK, recently released a report discussing technology utilization in education field in three different lenses: Scale, Schools and Governments (Foundations) by demonstrating international best practices. Here are key recommendations outlined in the report:

Summary of recommendations to reach scale:

  • Design and test with the toughest conditions in mind, not the easiest. For technology companies this means reaching more users. For governments this means ensuring more equitable access.
  • Invest in training and support alongside hardware and software. For companies, governments and foundations alike, this is a crucial requirement.
  • Technology companies must balance consistency of offering alongside flexibility of context.
  • Governments must invest in infrastructure to gather and use data more effectively and openly.

Summary of recommendations for motivating school buy-in, and advice for teachers leading change in their school:

For organizations seeking ‘buy-in’ from schools:

  • Provide a clear vision driven by outcomes (not technology) that addresses an urgent need.
  • Describe a credible path to delivery with high-intensity support during initial implementation.
  • Create an opportunity for teachers to be part of a wider community or network of learning.

For teachers leading change in their school:

  • It’s about the problem, not the technology.
  • Don’t over-promise (and risk underdelivering).
  • Time is precious. Try to find ways to free up colleagues’ time to allow them to get to grips with a new technology
  • Take it slow. Where possible, find ways to introduce change slowly.
  • Start with those most motivated.
  • Teacher development should be ongoing, rather than a one-off event.
  • Support peer-to-peer networks.
  • Think about recruitment. Consider if an IT lead or similar resource might be required in the school.
  • Allow funds for maintenance.
  • Evaluate impact and give feedback.

Summary of recommendations for philanthropic foundations:

  • Support riskier high-potential early-stage ideas through grant-funding.
  • Plug gaps in funding pipeline with flexible and patient capital.
  • Support business models or subsidize tools to reach those most in need.
  • Prioritize experimentation alongside evaluation.
  • Broker relationships between different school-system stakeholders.


NESTA, “Making the most of technology in education. Lessons from school systems around the world”, 2019

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