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SRI Report Compares the Global Use of Technology in Education

two students working at a computerMenlo Park, Calif. — January 10, 2012 —A new report from SRI International's Center for Technology in Learning compares the use of educational technology for K-12 students in 21 countries. SRI researchers found that despite the recent global economic crisis, economically competitive countries continue to invest in technology to improve their educational systems. Twenty governments indicated that improving school access to the Internet is a major priority, and about half reported that increasing students’ access to computers is a top national priority.

In addition to cross-country analysis, the report, International Experiences with Technology in Education (IETE), profiles educational technology policies and programs for each of the countries included in the study. Some of the 21 countries, including Canada, England, and Sweden, are similar to the U.S. in their economic competitiveness and current implementation of technology. Other countries, such as Chile, Estonia, and Portugal, were included because of their innovative national approaches to educational technology.

The report presents findings from an extensive literature review of in-country and cross-country literature and research on national educational technology activities and interviews with country representatives.

"This report is unprecedented in the range of countries that were included and the compilation of success indicators that are being used across large-scale international studies," said Gucci Estrella Trinidad, educational researcher at SRI and manager of the research project. "Countries are exploring different mechanisms and avenues for making technology more accessible to students and teachers to support learning. By making cross-country comparisons, a wider audience can benefit from experiences and solutions of other countries."

Other key study findings:

  • Most governments have instituted teacher technology standards and provide online portals with learning materials and software tools.
  • Many countries offer online training and support Web-based communities, and about half assess teachers' technology skills.
  • To support continuous improvement efforts, about half of the countries have invested in information systems to systematically monitor student performance and regularly collect data on technology access or use, and are currently evaluating policies and programs.

The report was prepared for the U.S Department of Education (ED) under contract number ED-04-CO-0040, Task 0009, and under the guidance of ED's Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development and the Office of Educational Technology.

This project has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Dept. of Education under contract No. ED-04-CO-0044/0009. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.