Niall Winters on Education Technology

Education Technology or edtech refers to the use of digital or electronic technologies and materials to support teaching and learning. This video shows a presentation on edtech by Niall Winters from University of Oxford. Niall contributed to a Topic Guide that was based on edtech, which was launched by HEART on 13 November 2014. In this video Niall discusses the main findings. The guide explores the evidence on relationships between the use of edtech in education, and learning outcomes. It offers recommendations to support UK Department for International Development (DFID) advisers to strengthen the design, implementation and evaluation of edtech programmes.

The main recommendations included that edtech programmes should focus on enabling educational change, not delivering technology. In doing so, programmes should provide adequate support for teachers and aim to capture changes in teaching practice and learning outcomes in evaluation. In addition, DFID advisors should support proposals that further develop successful practices or that address gaps in evidence and understanding. Advisors should discourage proposals that have an emphasis on technology over education, weak programmatic support or poor evaluation. It is also recommended that in design and evaluation, value-for-money metrics and cost-effectiveness analyses should be carried out.

The guide aims to contribute to what we know about the relationship between educational technology (edtech) and educational outcomes by addressing the following overarching question:

What is the evidence that the use of edtech, by teachers or students, impacts teaching and learning practices, or learning outcomes?

It also offers recommendations to support advisors to strengthen the design, implementation and evaluation of programmes that use edtech. Recognising that technology alone does not enhance learning, evaluations must also consider how programmes are designed and implemented, how teachers are supported, how communities are developed and how outcomes are measured.

About the speaker

Dr. Niall Winters is an Associate Professor of Learning and New Technologies at the Department of Education, University of Oxford and a Fellow of Kellogg College. He is joint convenor, of the Learning and New Technologies Research Group and currently supervises eight PhD students. His main research interest is in understanding how educational interventions can help to address inequality, especially for people who are marginalised, by focusing on how technology can support the strengthening of education and training capacity, particularly in health. More specifically, Niall works to design, develop and evaluate technology enhanced learning (TEL) interventions that support the professional development of learning practitioners, primarily healthcare workers in the Global South and in the UK. He is motivated by the need to improve TEL intervention design to provide new insights into learning practices, in support of equitable access to educational opportunity.


The hashtag #Edtech4dev can be used to join in the conversation with others who have accessed the guide. Tweet to us at @HEART_RES with any comments you might have. Niall can be found on twitter at @nwin.

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