UNESCO Evaluation highlights student achievement increases by combining professional learning

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Technology, when integrated with interactive digital content, teacher training and community involvement, has a positive impact on student learning and performance, according to the results of the “Interactive Class” project evaluated and released today by UNESCO. Dell announced that it will extend research on technology’s impact on teaching and learning in emerging and developed countries.

Participating middle school students improved their performance in math by 20 percent — seven times better than a non-participating study group. According to the study, 44 percent of students said that lessons using technology became more interesting and 54 percent said the lessons encouraged interest in studying.

The 18-month evaluation initiated by Dell in partnership with the Secretary of Education of SãoPaulo State, and with participation from University of São Paulo and management from Eldorado Institute, evaluated the impact of professional learning, interactive content and technology in the classroom. The evaluation spanned 23 schools in Hortolândia, São Paulo, Brazil and included approximately 6,000 students and 100 teachers. The evaluation also identified factors that have a critical impact on optimizing the degree to which technology can enhance student performance: Teacher interaction and professional learning: The more teachers interact with students in the classroom, the greater the students’ interest in studying, collaborating, sharing knowledge and taking initiative. Through more frequent use, teachers begin to develop and refine the skills they need to use technology and digital content to promote more attractive instruction, reducing the gap between students and teachers and promoting a collaborative learning environment in the classroom.

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Digital Content readiness: Interactive lessons offer a great opportunity for creating autonomous material with new learning objects aimed at assisting students in developing the 21st century skills such as creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration. The availability of classroom-ready digital content is a determining factor in a teacher’s ability to integrate interactive learning methods into their curricula.

Community Involvement: Educational technology is most effective when communities, including parents and educational decision-makers, actively support the use and dissemination of educational technology, including digital content.

Public Policy: The “Interactive Class” project’s lessons reinforced “a need for a public policy that effectively implements the use of ICT in the classroom.” Policymaking that encourages the adoption of classroom technology is a key component of enabling skills and knowledge that prepare students for a 21st century workforce.

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