Educational Technology

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Educational technology refers not only to the hardware and software used in an educational setting, but how technological resources are used to support teaching and learning. RAND researchers form multidisciplinary teams to field rigorous studies of educational technology that provide actionable information to educators, policymakers, and product developers.

  • Chrissy Brackett and grandson Caidence Miller learn to navigate an online learning system at her home in Woodinville, Washington, March 11, 2020, photo by Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

    Q&A

    Schools Pivot Online in Wake of COVID-19: Q&A with RAND Experts

    Apr 2, 2020

    Nearly all school-age children in the United States are no longer in the classroom as districts shut down to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus. RAND education researchers discuss how this situation might exacerbate educational inequities, how districts and teachers are innovating and what they need, and what parents can do.

  • A teacher at a desk with a tablet and a laptop, photo by FluxFactory/Getty Images

    Report

    What Digital Materials Do Teachers Use?

    Apr 16, 2020

    Digital materials for lesson planning and instruction are becoming an increasingly important resource for teachers. A survey of English language arts, mathematics, and science teachers across the United States provides insights on which materials they use and what they consider barriers to use.

Explore Educational Technology

  • Report

    The Feasibility of Developing a Repository of Assessments of Hard-to-Measure Competencies

    This report explores the feasibility of and challenges associated with building a repository of assessments of hard-to-measure competencies.

    Nov 3, 2015

  • Teacher helping a high school student on a computer

    Commentary

    Recommendations for ESEA Reauthorization That Support Innovation

    As lawmakers consider the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, it is critical that in meeting their objectives they do not create unnecessary obstacles to the productive innovations being explored at schools, such as personalized learning.

    Jan 27, 2015

  • A toddler holds an electronic tablet

    Essay

    Tech for Tots: Learning to Use the Power of Technology to Enrich Kids' Lives

    When it comes to youngsters and technology use, how much is too much? How young is too young? RAND is on the case, to help prepare children for success in school and life.

    Jan 20, 2015

  • Periodical

    RAND Review: January-February 2015

    This issue of RAND Review reports on technology literacy in kids, self-driving cars, marijuana legalization, hacking and cybersecurity, monetary compensation for mass tragedies, and recent philanthropic gifts to RAND.

    Jan 12, 2015

  • A teacher helps a girl use a digital tablet

    Commentary

    Helping Teachers Overcome Technology Barriers in Early Childhood Education

    When it comes to helping children appreciate the benefits of using technology in a classroom setting, early childhood education providers play a critical role integrating that technology appropriately, intentionally, and productively. But these educators face myriad barriers to fulfilling these roles.

    Nov 21, 2014

  • Father and son using an electronic tablet on bunk beds

    Report

    Improving Family Engagement in Early Childhood Education Through Technology

    Technology may afford new opportunities to improve early childhood education outcomes by empowering families to become better educators at home, and strengthening the connection and communication between school and home.

    Nov 17, 2014

  • Three preschool children using a tablet on the floor

    Commentary

    Access to Technology Is Key to Early Childhood Education

    For children from all income classes to benefit from the proper use of technology in early childhood education, providers, families, and children themselves must have access to an adequate technology infrastructure, including devices, connectivity, and software.

    Nov 4, 2014

  • A kindergarten teacher with children at the computer

    Report

    Early Childhood Educators and Technology

    Early childhood education (ECE) providers are in a position to help ensure that technology is used effectively. While there are obstacles, there are also courses of action that might be helpful in creating ECE providers who can ensure appropriate, intentional, and productive use of technology among young kids.

    Nov 3, 2014

  • Young boy with tablet

    Report

    Identifying an Adequate Technology Infrastructure for Early Childhood Education

    Infrastructure (devices, software, and connectivity) should support technology's potential to improve learning and build digital literacy among young kids. But many factors make “adequate infrastructure” a moving target, such as the myriad of choices on the market.

    Oct 20, 2014

  • Preschoolers in a classroom looking at a tablet with their teacher

    Blog

    The Role of Technology in the Lives of Children

    On a typical day, children ages 3-5 spend an average of four hours with technology, and technology use is increasing among children of all ages. Debates about the role of technology in early childhood education are ongoing, with some providers, parents, and others yet to be convinced of its potential benefits.

    Oct 10, 2014

  • Little boy with tablet and mother

    Report

    Moving Beyond Screen Time: Appropriate Technology Use for Young Children

    Appropriate technology use by young kids has traditionally focused on a single, blunt measure: “screen time.” But technology and patterns of use have changed. A more comprehensive definition should also consider what technology and content kids use, how they use it, and why.

    Oct 8, 2014

  • Three preschoolers looking at a laptop with their teacher

    Report

    Identifying Goals for Technology Use in Early Childhood Education

    Technology use among young children is increasingly a fact of life. Establishing a clear set of goals that are broadly accepted by stakeholders is critical to planning for the successful integration of technology into early childhood education.

    Sep 22, 2014

  • High school students with teacher in class, using laptops

    Report

    Examining Competency-Based Education

    Competency-based education meets students where they are academically, provides opportunities for choice, and awards students credit for evidence of learning, not time spent studying a subject. Researchers identify lessons for policy, partnerships, and practice regarding this approach.

    Aug 4, 2014

  • A high school student gets instruction from her teacher

    Research Brief

    Competency-Based Education in Three Pilot Programs: What It Is, How It's Implemented, and How It's Working

    In 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation extended grants to three organizations involved with competency-based education approaches. RAND examined these organizations' implementation, student experiences, and student outcomes.

    Aug 4, 2014

  • Diverse group of kids looking at tablet

    Blog

    RAND Convenes Experts to Examine Role of Technology in Early Childhood Education

    The forum focused on several key issues underlying successful integration of technology into early childhood settings, including the goals that should be established for technology use, the infrastructure that is needed to support it, and the facilitating roles of teachers and parents.

    Jun 4, 2014

  • Journal Article

    Effectiveness of Cognitive Tutor Algebra I at Scale

    This article examines the effectiveness of a technology-based algebra curriculum in a wide variety of middle schools and high schools in seven states.

    Jun 1, 2014

  • Serving Time or Wasting Time?

    Infographic

    Correctional Education Can Make a Difference

    Inmates who participate in any kind of educational program behind bars are up to 43 percent less likely to reoffend and return to prison. They also are more likely to find a job, and the social stability that comes with it, after their release. Every dollar invested in correctional education saves nearly five in reincarceration costs over three years.

    May 22, 2014

  • prisoner graduating holding a diploma

    Report

    Prison-Based Education Declined During Economic Downturn

    Large states cut spending on prison education programs by an average of 10 percent between the 2009 and 2012 fiscal years, while medium-sized states cut spending by 20 percent. While the drop appears to have resulted from budget cuts prompted by the economic downturn, evidence suggests that the curtailment of prison education could increase prison system costs in the longer term.

    Mar 18, 2014

  • Pencil and notebook with crumpled paper

    Research Brief

    How Correctional Education Could Move Forward

    Correctional education improves the chances that inmates released from prison will not return and may improve their chances of postrelease employment. A survey of U.S. state correctional education directors and a review of programs offers recommendations for improving correctional education.

    Mar 4, 2014

  • kindergarten girls using computer

    Project

    “T” Is for Technology: Early Childhood Education and the Digital Divide

    Despite the central and growing role of digital technology for knowledge-based work, children in low-income families have relatively limited access to computer-based devices, software applications, and the Internet. “T” Is for Technology explored the potential for early childhood education to help narrow this digital divide.

    Mar 3, 2014

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