Jingxian Wang, PhD at ICLON, examined the integration of technology in primary and secondary education. Defense on July 6.

The integration of technology in schools has been recognized as essential for achieving digital equity in education as well as improving schools, teaching and learning of high quality. However, we still see inadequate or inefficient use of technology in teaching and learning. There are several gaps in how the integration of technology can be addressed in policy plans, implemented in educational practices and adopted by teachers and students.


Rural schools in China

One of the objectives of this thesis is to examine the integration of technology in the context of rural schools in China. For a long time, there have been significant educational gaps between the eastern and western regions and between urban and rural schools. The Chinese government has therefore provided funds and special projects for schools located in western and rural areas since the beginning of the 21st century, in the hope that technology can support disadvantaged groups and equalize educational opportunities.

Mobile learning environments and student outcomes

Over the past decade, many schools have incorporated mobile technology into their daily teaching practices. But when and how can these mobile devices be used to maximize their potential? To gain a more complete picture of the various conditions for improving student outcomes in mobile learning environments, this thesis combines three research approaches (an exploratory mixed-methods study, a systematic review study with meta-analysis, and a multi-level exploratory study) to assess the effects of mobile technology use on student outcomes.

Role of teachers

The results of empirical studies show how different variables at different levels influence teacher practices in the context of rural schools. Most importantly, more attention needs to be paid to factors related to the teacher, such as expertise, self-efficacy, knowledge and skills, motivation, attitude and teacher’s credential. . In addition, the role of these variables may differ depending on the context. Teacher practices are also influenced by school context or ICT policy plans, although their effects appear to be relatively small.

Although teachers’ practices are highly dependent on their motivation, self-efficacy, knowledge and skills, their teaching practices are also influenced by factors at the school or system level. Also, we cannot assume that every teacher uses technology in different contexts in the same way.

Effects of mobile technology

The results of a systematic review study with meta-analysis suggest that students of average to high socioeconomic status achieve higher cognitive learning outcomes when using multifunctional mobile devices alone. When it comes to student engagement in tablet-integrated classrooms, the results indicate that not only the use of technology, but also the quality of teaching (i.e. connectivity and cognitive activation) and teacher and student contextual factors can influence student engagement.

In addition, the effectiveness of mobile technology in schools tends to show positive learning outcomes for elementary and secondary students compared to traditional technology groups (e.g. desktops and whiteboards) and non-technological (for example, pen and paper). However, the main effects of mobile technology are not the same for all groups of students and all learning contexts.

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