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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

    Are Prisoners Serving Time or Wasting Time?

    A comprehensive literature review enabled the examination of the association between correctional education and reductions in recidivism, improvements in employment upon release from prison, and the cost-effectiveness of correctional education.

    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

  • News Release

    Early Education Plays Role in Bridging the 'Digital Divide'

    Technology literacy plays an important role in a child's ability to succeed in school and later life. Incorporating technology into early childhood education help close the “digital divide” that separates low-income students and their more-advantaged peers.

    Mar 3, 2014

  • Report

    Developing Army Leaders: Lessons for Teaching Critical Thinking in Distributed, Resident, and Mixed-Delivery Venues

    Evaluated the effectiveness of the Common Core -- the first phase of the U.S. Army's system for developing critical thinking skills in its officer corps -- and the extent of differences among distributed, resident, and mixed-delivery course venues.

    Mar 3, 2014

  • preschool teacher with students around a laptop

    Report

    Early Education Plays Role in Bridging the 'Digital Divide'

    Digital literacy plays an important role in a child's ability to succeed in school and later life. Incorporating technology into early childhood education help close the “digital divide” that separates low-income students and their more-advantaged peers.

    Mar 3, 2014

  • News Release

    Prison-Based Education Declined During Economic Downturn; More Work Is Needed to Better Focus Spending

    State-level spending on prison education programs declined sharply during the economic downturn, with the sharpest drop occurring in states that incarcerate the most prisoners.

    Feb 18, 2014

  • College students attending a lecture in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi

    Commentary

    India Embraces MOOCs, but What if It Is a 'Lousy Product'?

    One hundred engineering colleges around India will rely heavily on virtual instruction under a new program. Given the amount India is investing, it is important to make the best possible use of the complex and evolving Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) model.

    Jan 8, 2014

  • high school students using computers, boy blue plaid shirt

    Blog

    Cognitive Tutor: Encouraging Signs for Computers in the Classroom

    A first-year algebra curriculum that blends tutoring software with conventional textbook learning had a positive effect for high school algebra students. Researchers found significant improvements—a change equivalent to moving from the 50th percentile to the 58th on an algebra posttest.

    Nov 19, 2013

  • group of students working on computers

    Research Brief

    Does an Algebra Course with Tutoring Software Improve Student Learning?

    A “blended” approach that combines traditional textbook learning and computer-based instruction could help improve performance among algebra students.

    Nov 18, 2013

  • News Release

    Education and Vocational Training in Prisons Reduces Recidivism, Improves Job Outlook

    Inmates who participate in correctional education programs have a 43 percent lower odds of returning to prison than those who do not. Employment after release is 13 percent higher among prisoners who participated in either academic or vocational education programs than those who did not.

    Aug 22, 2013

  • prisoners attending a class

    Report

    Education and Vocational Training in Prisons Reduces Recidivism, Improves Job Outlook

    Inmates who participate in correctional education programs have a 43 percent lower odds of returning to prison than those who do not. Employment after release is 13 percent higher among prisoners who participated in either academic or vocational education programs than those who did not.

    Aug 22, 2013

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