EdTech Hub rapid evidence reviews

COVID-19 resulted in global challenges to formal schooling and increased dependence on educational technology. In this context, the EdTech Hub, a research partnership supported by the UK government and the World Bank, asked REUK to produce rapid evidence reviews on the use of technology in refugee education, education in emergencies and girls' education.

Radio and tablets particularly stood as out as successfully filling in educational gaps in previous emergencies, particularly in conflict-affected settings and the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, when children were unable to physically attend school. The review on EdTech in emergency contexts also found that technology can play a critical role in supporting children's transitions back to school in post-crisis settings after being out of school, an insight particularly relevant in the context of COVID-19 educational challenges.

As education decision-makers around the world responded to the educational challenges posed by COVID-19 and resulting social distancing policies, accessible evidence on good practice in specific areas of educational technology (EdTech) was important. There were relevant and transferable insights from evidence on the existing use of EdTech in refugee education, education in emergencies, and girls' education. The REUK research team conducted rapid, systematic reviews of the literature on these topics in low- and middle-income contexts.

The reviews revealed a number of important insights. For refugee learners, EdTech was found to have the potential to facilitate access to education and support learners' psychosocial well-being during periods of disruption. EdTech can also support the development and practices of refugee teachers and educators, but they may need support in using technology and adopting learner-centred approaches often necessitated by EdTech. The review revealed the importance of EdTech interventions being adapted to each refugee context and being developed in collaboration with refugee communities and education stakeholders.

Our rapid evidence review on EdTech and girls' education demonstrated ways in which technology can facilitate increasingly equitable access to education. Access to technology was found to be disproportionately empowering for girls than boys, with benefits expanding beyond formal education. However, the review also emphasised the impact of gendered assumptions about girls’ competence and enjoyment of technology, in some cases preventing girls from accessing education. The review emphasised the importance of engaging parents and teachers, as key gatekeepers to girls' use of technology, as EdTech interventions are developed.

Read the full rapid evidence reviews on the EdTech Hub's website: