Policymakers and development experts seeking to improve the quality of education are interested in the role technology can play. Not only do they want to use technology to directly aid learning, but they also want to ensure that students in developing countries - and poor communities everywhere - get the same exposure, and same education benefit, from technology as do their counterparts in wealthier parts of the world.
Bringing computers into the schoolroom is seen by experts as one way to do this. But just making technology available may not be enough. Policymakers and development experts need to know how to ensure the technology is used in a way that the best way possible. The World Bank is at the forefront of helping developing countries provide their students with the best educational opportunities, while working to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of ensuring primary education for every child.
To assist educators, policymakers and education experts understand how technology may boost the quality of education, the World Bank supported a two-year study of a program in Colombia that places computers in public schools. The study failed to find that the computers led to any measurable increase in student test scores. Researchers suggested this could be because teachers and students mainly used the computers to learn how to use computers, instead of using them as a part of the teaching process.
The results do not mean that computers and other information and communications technologies cannot raise educational quality. But it does offer a cautionary note to those seeking to increase the availability of such technology tools: being able to access technology is not always enough - people may also need training in how to use the technology to reach the stated educational goals.