|Education Endowment Foundation
In 2019, the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) commissioned an evidence review on the impact of education technology on student attainment. The review highlighted the challenge of keeping abreast of research developments in the field of digital technology, which continues to evolve rapidly (⇡Lewin et al., 2019). Since the publication of this review, teachers across the world have turned to technology to ensure learning continuity for over 1.6 billion learners in lockdown (⇡Karboul, 2020). In England, over two-thirds of schools have introduced, upgraded, or increased their use of technology in this period (⇡CooperGibson Research, 2022).
In the wake of pandemic-induced school closures, teachers have been expected to select and implement new EdTech models without guidance on what works for what students. At present, the evidence base on education technology presents mixed messages about when and how to use technology in the classroom. For example, existing research indicates that disadvantaged students can benefit more from technology than advantaged students (⇡McNally et al., 2016; ⇡Takacs et al., 2015). At the same time, evidence indicates that the use of education technology can exacerbate learning inequality as disadvantaged students have less access to hardware and software (⇡Vicentini et al., 2022).
In this context, we are working with the EEF to analyse how the use of education technology can raise student attainment across subject domains, with a focus on disadvantaged pupils. The scope of the project goes beyond testing whether EdTech interventions and approaches work, to instead examine how they work. To do this, this research will identify the ‘active ingredients’ of interventions and approaches involving EdTech, from the design of the intervention to implementation.
Through a systematic review, the project uses a sequential mixed-methods approach to identify the mechanisms of EdTech interventions that improve attainment for pupils. The final report will aim to underpin EEF work on digital technology and could potentially serve a variety of purposes, including school facing outputs, future EEF research agendas and an update to the EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit.