Transforming Teaching and Learning with New Digital Technologies

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Transforming Teaching and Learning with New Digital Technologies

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A brief on findings from school case studies conducted under the project ‘Situational analysis on the use of frontier technologies in teaching and learning in primary and secondary education’

How are digital technologies supporting innovation in teaching and learning? Are they making any difference in schools in the Asia-Pacific region? While claims of the power of new and emerging digital technologies to transform education and learning abound, the evidence that supports such claims has been equivocal. As the report of UNESCO’s International Commission on the Futures of Education points out, ‘there is tremendous transformative potential in digital technologies, but we have not yet figured out how to deliver on these many promises’ (International Commission on the Futures of Education, 2021, p. 3).

This brief presents snapshots of teaching and learning practices taking place with new digital technologies in some of the schools studied under the project ‘Situational analysis on the use of frontier technologies in teaching and learning in primary and secondary education’ implemented by UNESCO.  It also discusses a number of factors and conditions that may be contributing to the development of innovative technology practices in these schools. It will conclude with four recommendations for education authorities to consider as they seek to incorporate digital technologies in education and learning. 

Twenty-two primary and secondary schools in Bangladesh, China, India, Kazakhstan, Philippines and Thailand were studied from late 2020 to early 2022 in order to obtain an understanding of the ways in which new technology practices may be emerging and making impacts in teaching and learning in some of the schools in the region. Employing semi-structured interviews conducted with teachers, students and school leaders, researchers in the six countries collected data and information under a common framework. Two research questions were asked in these school case studies:

• How are new digital technologies used and making impacts in teaching and learning in the school?

• What helped or enabled the school to generate such impacts?

The term ‘new technology’ in these school case studies is understood as a technology that is new in the context of the school. The returns of an online survey conducted in preparation for the school case studies showed that technology situations vary greatly from school to school – not only between countries but also within a country – thus warranting a contextual understanding of ‘new’ or ‘frontier’ technology for the school case studies.   Furthermore, based on the survey results, it was decided to include different types of schools, such as private and public, rural and urban, and well-resourced and under-resourced, so as to reflect diverse contexts.  

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