Technology is an essential component of the future of learning. It’s time to review its suitability and value to ensure a human-centred vision of education.
The report raises the alarm that Only 14% of countries guarantee data privacy in education by law. It also brings out important questions in terms of equity and inclusion, Quality and efficiency on digital technology.
Audrey Azoulay, the Director of General UNESCO during the launch said “While technology does have the potential to personalize learning, No screen will ever replace a teacher”
She emphasized that Digital technology cannot be a universal solution in education when only 40% of primary schools worldwide are connected to the internet or when 70% of the rural population in sub saharan Africa do not even have electricity.
Furthermore Increased screen time can have an impact on children’s physical and mental health. Learning needs focus and concentration which can be distracted by digital devices, and that is why we need to find a better balance between our use of digital solutions while avoiding unnecessary exposure.
As much as technology has its vices, it also brings education to learners who are hard to reach, especially those who are facing obstacles in accessing schools or qualified teachers.
The report shows that assistive technology helped in removing learning and communication barriers, with many studies reporting a positive effect on academic engagement, social participation and the well-being of learners with disabilities. However, such devices are unreachable and unaffordable in many countries, and teachers usually lack specialized training to use the devices effectively.
Technology also supported learning continuity in emergencies such as COVID 19 and During the Boko Haram crisis in Nigeria, as they used mobile phones and radios to support the learning continuity of 22,000 disadvantaged children, with recorded improvement in literacy and numeracy skills. However, there are significant gaps in terms of attentive evaluation of education technology in emergencies, despite some limited recorded impact, but millions were left out.
Nonetheless, During the launch the Director of the GEM Report Manos Antoninis said “We need to teach children to live both with and without technology; to take what they need from the abundance of information, but to ignore what is not necessary.”