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In December 2022, the Oxford Internet Institute announced that their researchers had been awarded ESRC funding to research the impact of technology in schools. The project “Towards equity focused approaches to EdTech: a socio-technical perspective”, is a collaboration between the Department of Education and the Oxford institute.
Researchers will conduct seven ethnographies in secondary schools in England in order to understand the ways that technology in the classroom shapes educational and social inequity.
Professor Rebecca Eynon, who is leading the project, has argued that while technology has long been hailed as a way to address inequality in schools, more research is needed into how and when it is being used. The study will look at how Edtech use varies between schools and contexts, and how implicit biases and values might be passed on.
The study’s outputs are going to be public facing and available in a variety of formats; from blogs, to podcasts, papers, reports, and conference presentations.
Those of us in the commercial research sphere will be able to easily access, and use, their findings.
One of the project’s main aims is to engage with Edtech companies, policy makers, and the wider public so that the research can have a real-world impact. As such, the tools they produce will be valuable resources for those of us working in kid-focussed industries. They’ll give us a better understanding of how to develop the best educational content to address inequity and how to use the most appropriate tools for the job.