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Impact of technology

A new realism has emerged about the impact of technology on educational outcomes. Technology is no longer seen as a ‘silver bullet' but as a facilitating factor that can enhance teaching and lead to more effective learning.

A sharpened focus on the learner and the teacher, however, has established that learners' engagement with their own learning and teachers' willingness to challenge and stretch learners, are central to raising standards. Technology adds to the effectiveness of the learning process by providing tools for teachers to tailor challenge to the individual pupil.

At the learner-level technology allows students to produce professional outputs, the reticent to contribute to group discussions and, for those left behind, to practice core skills so that they can rejoin their peers. Technology also enables the student to gain formative feedback quickly and this has been shown to bring about changes in attitudes to school which, in turn, have stimulated more positive behaviours.


Research review

The impact of digital technology
A review of the evidence of the impact of digital technologies, on formal education. Includes sections on what the evidence says, and challenges for the future.

Teachers TV

Secondary school teachers show how they use ICT to help them deliver 'hard to teach' topics in English, Science and Maths


Supporting research

There is growing evidence that technology benefits learning. In the UK, studies such as Impact 2, ICT Test Bed evaluation and Understanding the Impact of Technology 2010 have identified accelerated learning in groups of students supported with technology. These findings are matched by international evidence such as the U.S. Department of Education's (2009) comprehensive analyses of the effectiveness of online learning.

The complexity of the educational process can make it difficult to attribute unequivocally any improvements to the use of technology and this, coupled with some findings of no impact and very rare examples of negative impact, have led some to doubt technology’s educational value. However, the evidence strongly points to a positive story about the role of technology in improving outcomes.

Research from 2009 - 2010
Research from 2005 - 2008
Research from 2002 - 2004

How it's made a difference in...

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Safeguarding learners

Technology is empowering, but it has its risks too.

Schools, colleges,children's services and parents all play a role in helping children and young people to stay safe online.