Education and technology

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One of the defining features of development today is the relationship between education and technology, stimulated by the spectacular growth in internet connectivity and mobile penetration.[1] We live in a connected world. An estimated 40% of the world’s population now uses the internet and this number is growing at a remarkable rate.[2] While there are significant variations in internet connectivity among countries and regions, the number of households with such links in the global South has now overtaken those in the global North. Moreover, over 70% of mobile telephone subscriptions worldwide are now in the global South.[3] Five billion people are expected to go from no to full connectivity within the next twenty years.[4] However, there are still significant gaps among countries and regions, for example between urban and rural areas. Limited broadband speed and lack of connectivity hamper access to knowledge, participation in society and economic development.[5]

The internet has transformed how people access information and knowledge, how they interact, and the direction of public management and business. Digital connectivity holds promise for gains in health, education, communication, leisure and well-being.[4] Artificial intelligence advances, 3D printers, holographic recreation, instant transcription, voice-recognition and gesture-recognition software are only some examples of what is being tested. Digital technologies are reshaping human activity from daily life to international relations, from work to leisure, redefining multiple aspects of our private and public life.[5]

Such technologies have expanded opportunities for freedom of expression and for social, civic and political mobilization, but they also raise important concerns. The availability of personal information in the cyber world, for example, brings up significant issues of privacy and security. New spaces for communication and socialization are transforming what constitutes the idea of ‘social’ and they require enforceable legal and other safeguards to prevent their overuse, abuse and misuse.[6] Examples of such misuse of the internet, mobile technology and social media range from cyber-bullying to criminal activity, even to terrorism. In this new cyber world, educators need to better prepare new generations of ‘digital natives[7] to deal with the ethical and social dimensions of not only existing digital technologies but also those yet to be invented.[5]

Education and technology in developing countries[edit]

The OLPC laptop being introduced to children in Haiti

Technology plays an increasingly significant role in improving access to education for people living in impoverished areas and developing countries. Charities like One Laptop per Child are dedicated to providing infrastructures through which the disadvantaged may access educational materials.

The OLPC foundation, a group out of MIT Media Lab and supported by several major corporations, has a stated mission to develop a $100 laptop for delivering educational software. The laptops were widely available as of 2008. They are sold at cost or given away based on donations.

In Africa, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) has launched an "e-school program" to provide all 600,000 primary and high schools with computer equipment, learning materials and internet access within 10 years.[8] An International Development Agency project called,[9] started with the support of former American President Bill Clinton, uses the Internet to allow co-operation by individuals on issues of social development.

India is developing technologies that will bypass land-based telephone and Internet infrastructure to deliver distance learning directly to its students. In 2004, the Indian Space Research Organisation launched EDUSAT, a communications satellite providing access to educational materials that can reach more of the country's population at a greatly reduced cost.[10]

Technology Effects on Education[edit]

An AI-based tutoring system, Education Dominance, was put into an entry-level IT school in Pensacola by the U.S. Navy. [11] This system relates to a human tutor in which the student's progress is monitored while providing individual assessments. According to the Navy, the students that worked with the digital tutoring system consistently performed better on the tests than did the students who did not use the digital tutor. The adaptive technology appears to affect students positively because it can assist individuals that have different learning skills than others and therefor better equipped to learn on their own. Technology programs that are already being used in education fields: Tablets, such as google chrome book, where students can access a range of google's educational software. DreamBox, Zearn, and ST Math, are math software programs that adapt to students as they learn.[12]


  1. ^ Trends in Telecommunication Reform: Transnational aspects of regulation in a networked society. ITU. 2013.
  2. ^ The world in 2014: Fact and Figures. ITU. 2013.
  3. ^ Trends in Telecommunication Reform, Special Edition. Fourth-generation regulation. ITU. 2014.
  4. ^ a b Cohen, J.; Schmidt, E. (2013). The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business. New York, Knopf.
  5. ^ a b c Rethinking Education: Towards a global common good? (PDF). UNESCO. 2015. pp. 27–28. ISBN 978-92-3-100088-1.
  6. ^ Hart, A.D.; Hart, Frejd S. (2013). The Digital Invasion: How Technology Is Shaping You and Your Relationships. Baker Books.
  7. ^ Prensky, M. (2001). "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants". On the horizon. 9 (5).
  8. ^ "African nations embrace e-learning, says new report". PC Advisor. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-24.
  9. ^ "". Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  10. ^ "EDUSAT". ISRO. Retrieved 2013-01-01.
  11. ^ "Here's how technology is shaping the future of education". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  12. ^ "Here's how technology is shaping the future of education". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-11-11.

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