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Themes: Assistive & Accessible Technology, Inclusive Educational Technology

Publication: ICT Landscape review - The use of ICT in improving the educational participation & outcomes

Information and communication technology (ICT) tools can have a catalytic effect in advancing both educational access and learning outcomes for children with disabilities.

GDI Hub are delighted to have partnered with the World Bank to design, conduct the research and author ICT Landscape review: The use of ICT in improving the educational participation and outcomes of children with disabilities.

Despite tremendous potential, a gap exists between technology advancements and their large-scale application in educating children with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries. This review seeks to understand the current status and trends in the practice of educational technology (EdTech) and the use of ICT in improving the educational participation and outcomes of children with disabilities.

Exploring what factors enable or restrict this improvement within the wider EdTech ecosystem, the review looks at how ICT supported the continued learning of children with disabilities during COVID-19 related school closures, and insights from the experiences of teachers, parents and caregivers, government officials, and civil society.

Six key challenges were identified...

  • Products: are too expensive for families and schools, limiting their affordability and accessibility. Many products do not serve more complex needs, are poorly aligned with national curricula or are inappropriate for the context of use.
  • Pedagogy: a lack of simple and reliable assessment practices to assess the educational needs of children with disabilities, or what approaches (and tools) will be most effective.
  • Policy: often poorly integrated, which makes it difficult to coordinate actions across government bodies.
  • Place: inclusive and mainstream schools struggle to access the necessary equipment, and teachers often lacking inclusive-education training, leading to a risk of further marginalization.
  • Provision: funding is often project-based, rarely resulting in a comprehensive attention to all the necessary components, from creating adequate technological infrastructure to providing training and maintenance for the correct use of devices.

The review identified four key recommendations...

  1. Strengthen systems and shape markets to systematically improve the provision of inclusive education and reduce the cost of assistive ICT for inclusive-education products.
  2. Develop a “massive-small” technology and service infrastructure for inclusive education to enable massive-scale distribution of evidence-based, small-scale innovations.
  3. Strengthen community, family, and out of-school learning supports to ensure continuity of learning across different settings.
  4. Capture better data and evidence vital to policy making, identification of learners, early intervention, and mapping of progress.

A global knowledge product from the Inclusive Education Initiative (IEI)—a multi-donor trust fund on disability-inclusive education managed by the World Bank, with support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).