How can education technology enhance learning outcomes?

Best Evidence in Brief Index

By Qiyang Zhang, Johns Hopkins University

As the COVID-19 pandemic forces schools to turn to remote teaching, education technology is being regarded as a promising tool to maintain education quality despite school closures, and this is adding to interest in educational technology in general. However, learning scientists often argue against computers’ benefits for students by saying that computers are “oversold and underused.” Focusing on developed countries, researchers from the Abdul Latif Jamel Action Lab (J-PAL) presented a systematic review to evaluate education technology and its promise.

J-PAL’s review solely included studies with large samples and rigorous causal designs to ensure review quality. In total, 126 randomized controlled trials and regression discontinuity designs were included. Major findings were:

  • Equipping students with a computer and internet access yielded mixed results. At the K-12 level, computer distribution generally had no effects on academic outcomes.
  • Computer-assisted learning programs were effective in mathematics…

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