Edtech has become a part of mainstream education. Apart from flexibility and global reach, technology has enabled students to access personalized learning and meet their educational goals through a pathway curated as per their needs and gaps.
Most edtech platforms measure student performance and provide a personalized learning pathway. However, how do we analyze the accuracy of the tool? For instance, a student may not be able to perform in an exam due to having health issues and may fall under the false impression of having learning gaps.
The quality of education technology tools needs to address the various elements, including students’ interests, socio-economic status, background, family situation and others, to ensure that they positively impact society and help students learn amid all the varied factors. To do so, edtech providers must put their solutions through rigorous testing and develop high-standard solutions that work flawlessly, contributing to students’ learning and adding value to teachers’ toolkits.
Thus, this testing must be comprehensive and go beyond a programming lab. It is required that edtech products are tested in the real world under all conceivable circumstances, including all factors that can affect students’ performance.
The primary beneficiary of the tool, teachers and students must use the tool under varied circumstances to check the efficacy of the tool. Here is a simplified version to identify the issue: For instance, teachers who might be overworked ked with using technology or students who might be ambitious or afraid to speak. A strict scientific methodology should be in place for the testing, and the results derived should be the baseline to improve the tool further.
As edtech users navigate the product market with one eye on data safety and the other on evidence of impact, we think edtech producers must focus on having scientific evidence backing their products.
To help you better understand the importance of evidence in edtech, its various types, global status, characteristics and misconceptions, Kucirkova Natalia from WiKIT shares this guide on high-level findings and recommendations to support edtech’s road to evidence.
This guide outlines some principles for edtech producers and developers who want to embed scientific principles into their design, implementation and scale-up. The principles are presented in a simple, four-part framework that can be used to make sense of the need and proven approaches to evidence. The framework is as follows:
EdTech’s potential to address educational inequity and the impact so far:
Most edtechs today are AI-driven. This implies that edtech can manage the personal information of individual learners to curate a personalized learning pathway. Digital personalized education is the key element in addressing educational inequity. However, educational inequality shows differences among groups but does not question their moral or ethical components or address learner variability, a well-established scientific foundation for understanding how children grow and thrive. The guide further dives into how digital personalized learning can support instructional strategies that accommodate learner variability, edtech evidence movement, and key elements for edtech to be the game changer in addressing educational inequities.
Global Movement for Evidence:
The guide outlines various studies that exemplify the need for edtech to be evidence-driven, the need to invest in edtech research design that answers which edtech features work best, for whom and under which circumstances, available certification options and research consultancy services.
Evidence Types and Debates:
The guide explains the three types of research to establish evidence: foundational, formative and summative.
It also explains how the use of each method is determined by the research question we want to answer and the maturity of the intervention (programme) and context.
Hallmarks of Scientific Research:
The guide will take you through common misconceptions in evidence discussions related to the difference between efficacy and effectiveness, correlation and causation, and evidence and experience.
Testing is the only way to ensure that edtech providers deliver what the tools promise. By rigorous testing and developing evidence-based edtech solutions, all sides benefit: schools choose evidence-informed products, and companies create and develop successful tools that add value to teachers’ work, students’ learning and – as a result – the society in general.
This report was developed by Natalia for WiKIT and is freely available for download.