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Digital technology in education: Selected reading

Written By: Cat Scutt
10 min read
A collection of articles, blogs and resources about education technology, teaching and learning

Education technology is a huge industry, with schools spending large amounts of money on everything from infrastructure to devices, management systems and a wide range of software. However, there remains debate over the value of technology use in the classroom, as well as potential unintended consequences. This page includes links to a range of articles, blogs, research reports and resources from different sources (all freely available or available through Chartered College membership) that explore ideas relating to the use of education technology. These resources may be a potential starting point to help you reflect on your use of technology.

The resources collated here will not provide a recipe for what you should do. Some of the articles will also present opposing viewpoints, and ones which may contradict your own viewpoint or experience. The views within linked resources do not necessarily represent those of the Chartered College, but should provoke thought, debate and discussion. Evidence-informed practice requires teachers and school leaders to make expert decisions based on their local context, professional experience and available research evidence.  It’s also important to remember the role that implementation plays; the Education Endowment Foundation’s implementation guidance is a useful starting point for this.

Education technology is a vast field, and not all aspects are covered here. Future updates will include a section on assistive technology, as well as more on assessment and feedback.

Approaches to technology use in education

The Education Endowment Foundation’s guidance report on using digital technology in education, with an accompanying poster and evidence review.

A report from the Nuffield Foundation looking at technology use in schools in terms of both pupil learning and on the development of pupils’ digital skills.

A report from Nesta on making the most of digital technology in education, including case studies and examples from around the world.

The impact of technology use in education

Nesta’s ‘Decoding Learning’ report looking at the impact of digital education; this is from 2012, so many technologies have changed but lots of the principles explored here still apply.

A blog post by Robert Slavin that looks at the outcomes of very three different digital technology interventions in Peru, Costa Rica and Chile.

A 2015 literature review commissioned by the Scottish government looking at the impact of technology on teaching and learning.

A working paper looking at the impact of 1-1 device programmes in Sweden, from the Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.

A long blog by Robert Slavin summarising some of the outcomes of research technology that have been reviewed for Best Evidence in Brief.

Research by the Reboot Foundation looking at whether technology helps learning; an addendum with updated data is available too.

Technology and research evidence

A BJET journal article by Melissa Bond and colleagues, exploring themes in education technology research published in the previous 5 decades.

This journal article by Fiona Hollands and Maya Escueta is looking at Higher Education, but has interesting findings about the extent to which research evidence is used in decision-making around education technology use.

A blog by Blake Harvard questioning whether we know if edtech has an impact in our classrooms and arguing that technology companies need to conduct more research into the effectiveness of their products.

A Tes article by Professor Rose Luckin making some suggestions for how to spot false claims about AI use from edtech companies.

Technology, teaching and learning

A New York Times article by Daniel Willingham explaining why pupils still need to memorise things in the age of Google. This echoes a longer article by ED Hirsch Jr for American Educator – whilst from 2000, the arguments presented are still very relevant!

A journal article by Benjamin Storm and colleagues reporting on research looking at adults’ tendency to retrieve information from the internet to answer trivia questions, compared to using their memory.

A Learning Scientists blog that looks at whether pupils ‘explaining’ something they have read to others seems to aid learning; this also includes reference to paywalled research looking at the impact of pupils creating video explanations.

A Tes article by Cat Scutt looking at the range of ways in which technology might be used to support evidence-based approaches to teaching.

A three-part Impact article looking at how technology can support pupils’ metacognition in a range of different settings.

A blog by Daisy Christodolou reflecting on what the PISA 2018 scores tell us about ‘digital natives’ and their digital skills.

A report of the findings from the IEA’s International Computer and Information Literacy Study, looking at pupils’ skills in using technology for a range of purposes.

A blog by David Didau challenging the notion of 21st century skills.

Multimedia learning and dual coding

An Impact article by Richard Mayer (based on a book chapter) outlining some key principles of multimedia learning.

A blog by Paul Kirschner and Mirjam Neelen exploring and challenging 10 rather more dubious arguments sometimes made for using multimedia.

short blog from Dan Williams outlining some key ideas for why using graphics can be helpful, based on his reading of Ruth Clarke and Chopete Lyons’ book.

journal article by James Clark and Allan Paivio, introducing dual coding theory and some implications for education.

video of Oliver Caviglioli introducing the concept of dual coding as part of a FutureLearn course.

A blog by Adam Boxer that exemplifies how he uses a visualiser to support modelling and dual coding.

A LinkedIn article by Greg Hughes suggesting some possible tools to use to support multimedia learning and dual coding.

An Impact article by Andy Tharby looking at how slideshows can be improved through the application of cognitive load theory.

A meta-analysis by James Baker and colleagues looking at whether whether using Powerpoint is more effective than a traditional lecture format; this article is not freely available online but the abstract summarises some key ideas.

Technology, retrieval, assessment and feedback

An article by the Hechinger Report arguing that video feedback might be more powerful than written feedback, largely based on perspectives around how communication works.

An Impact article by Stuart Garner looking at how Plickers (an app that requires only one device per classroom) can be used to support retrieval practice in the classroom.

A compact guide on MyCollege by Tom Sherrington and Sara Stafford, looking at how technology can be used to support feedback and questioning.

Mobile learning and devices in the classroom

A selection of UNESCO case studies about mobile learning in a range of different settings.

Mark Pegrum’s collection of links to articles, research and more about mobile learning.

A short opinion piece by Jennifer Buckingham for the Centre for Independent Studies in Australia, that includes link to a range of research around the impact of mobile phones and advocates for limiting their use in school.

A journal article by Adrian Ward and colleagues looking at the impact the presence of mobile phones on cognitive performance of adults, even when not being used / checked.

An Impact article by Cat Scutt looking at both sides of the debate around banning mobile phones in the classroom.

An Impact article by James Mannion looking at the potential of AR and VR in the classroom.

Reading and writing in print and digital formats

A New York Times article by Daniel Willingham discussing whether listening to an audiobook is the same as reading a book.

An article for The Conversation by Patricia Alexander and Lauren Singer Trakhman, looking at how we read differently in print and on screen. Lauren Singer Trakhman also wrote about her more recent work in this area in Chartered College’s Impact journal.

An Impact article by Professor Daniel Oppenheimer looking at possible advantages and disadvantages of writing by hand vs on a device in educational settings.

A Science Daily summary of research looking at whether parents interact differently with toddlers when reading print vs digital books together (the original research is paywalled).

An Impact article by Paul Hopkins looking at the potential of interactive electronic books in education.

Technology and teachers

An article by Saro Mohammed arguing that it is the teaching, rather than the technology itself, that makes a difference to outcomes.

A report of a survey of teachers in the US, looking at their attitudes to innovation.

A Tes article by James Bowen that argues technology might be adding to teacher workload, not reducing it.

A blog by Simon Baddeley arguing that research-based practice and edtech are not at odds, but teachers need to take control of the rhetoric over how technology is used in the classroom, not technology companies.

A Tes article by Michael Tidd arguing that expectations are the issue for teacher workload, not the use of email itself.

A report by Tina Ehsanipour and Florencia Gomez Zaccarelli at Stanford University looking at the use of coaching as a means to develop effective use of technology in education.

An article by Neelam Parmar offering some suggestions for how to support training teachers in using technology.

An Education Development Trust report on the use of technology for teacher CPD, including case studies from a range of developing countries.

An Impact article by Amy Icke looking at how MOOCs can be used to support teacher learning.

A SchoolsWeek article by Hannah Tyreman looking at what matters in online CPD for teachers.

The final section of the Chartered College’s report on teacher CPD internationally is focused specifically on the use of technology for teacher CPD.

Communicating with parents

An Impact article looking at how one school emailed daily revision questions to parents to help them support their children.

A blog post by Alex Quigley reflecting on findings from an EEF project looking at an approach to texting parents to support literacy.

A FutureLab publication, supported by BECTA, looking at ways digital technologies might be used to support home-school relationships; this is from 2010, so technologies have changed substantially, but some of the principles are still relevant.

Research from Chile, published by the Department for International Development, looking at the impact of texting parents with pupil data on attainment.

A journal article by Janet Goodall looking at the use of technology for home-school communications.

Risks in technology use

A long-read article by Natalie Wexler for the MIT technology review that looks at how technology use might hold students back.

A blog by Michael Hobbiss reflecting on a range of things that can distract pupils’ attention in the classroom, including technology; this includes a range of interesting references. His older blog about technology and multi-tasking is also worth a read.

A discussion paper from the Behavioural Insights Team, looking at the behavioural science of online harm and manipulation; it is not about education, but includes provocations on a range of important areas including mental health, fake news, and attention and productivity.

A summary from Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and colleagues including links to a range of (often slightly conflicting) research about the possible impacts of screentime on children – while a much wider question than just around technology in schools, this is an important debate.

A Guardian article by two researchers from the University of Oxford that argues that until technology companies like Facebook share their data, we don’t really have the evidence we need to understand the impact of screentime on wellbeing.

Other resources

A special issue of the Chartered College’s journal, Impact, on the topic of education technology.

The Department for Education’s education technology strategy.

A Wakelet collection of content related to the Department for Education’s education technology strategy.

A free online course by the Chartered College on FutureLearn about the use of technology in evidence-informed teaching, and a further free online course about the leadership of education technology.

LendED, a platform run by BESA and supported by the Department for Education, that allows schools to trial technology tools before they buy.

A Wakelet collection of content around online learning, particularly focused on teachers, from Hannah Tyreman, Head of Online Learning and Community at the Chartered College.

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