Author: Carlson, Sam
Year: 2013
Full Citation: Carlson, S. (2013). Using technology to deliver education services to children and youth in environments affected by crisis and/or conflict. USAID.
Resource Type:
Overview: The goal of this paper is two-fold:
  1. to compile and review illuminating case studies of technology-supported interventions to deliver education services that promote equitable access to children and youth in environments affected by crisis and/or conflict; and
  2. to provide recommendations for the design and implementation of technology-supported education interventions. The intended audience is education program planners in developing countries, particularly those affected by conflict or crisis.
Through a country case study approach, this report examines three types of educational technology programs, specifically:
  • Mobile phone-based delivery of educational content for improving student learning, aimed at both students and teachers;
  • Internet-enabled computer labs supporting K-12 education and youth employment-focused training; and
  • Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) in primary education.
Findings: Educational technology, when it is appropriately applied in contextually relevant ways, has been shown to enable positive learning experiences and improve learning outcomes, including in countries affected by crisis and/or conflict. However, there are more un-evaluated than evaluated educational technology programs; the evidence base remains quite thin. The fast-paced evolution of educational technology suggests that future programs can be more effective than in the past. Also, for students in countries affected by crisis and conflict, simply the opportunity to engage with educational technology can be a positive and worthy experience, particularly if it promotes human connections and community-building. For education program planners in countries affected by crisis and/or conflict considering educational technology as a means to improve student learning, this report offers ten guiding principles, including:
  1. clarify educational objectives to be achieved through technology
  2. design the technology program as a function of those objectives
  3. maintain flexibility, learn by doing and adapt as necessary
  4. specify the program time horizon
  5. prioritize the “human-ware” over the hardware and software
  6. ensure contextually-appropriate educational content
  7. maximize and exploit connectivity
  8. keep the technology as simple as possible
  9. minimize power requirements
  10. avoid the mistakes of previous educational technology programs (aka “do not re-invent the flat tire”)
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