UN Report Calls for More Ethical, Equitable Use of Technology in Education

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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A new United Nations report –  Technology in Education: a tool on whose terms? – is urging a rethink on how technology is used in education worldwide. The 2023 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report examines the impacts of educational technology, especially digital, on teaching and learning across the globe.

The wide-ranging report notes that technology has undoubtedly expanded access to educational resources for many disadvantaged groups. But it also warns tech has excluded many others, increasing inequality.

While some positive learning effects have been documented, the report argues there is still limited robust evidence that technology improves outcomes overall. It states commercial interests have heavily steered edtech growth, with insufficient evaluation of costs and long-term implications.

Alarmingly, the report highlights how the explosion in online content has occurred without enough regulation of quality or diversity. And it emphasizes how tech use has frequently failed to focus on meeting learner needs.

Key recommendations call for:

  • Prioritizing learner rights and pedagogical goals in all tech use
  • Directing tech to support marginalized and disadvantaged groups
  • Establishing independent bodies to impartially evaluate edtech
  • Protecting student data privacy, wellbeing and accessibility
  • Considering sustainability impacts of education technology
  • Focusing on learning outcomes rather than digital inputs

The report stresses that technology should complement and enhance human interaction in education rather than aim to substitute it. It argues decisions must be evidence-based and grounded in the interests of learners.

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Steven Galvin

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