System-wide priorities for stakeholders

Chapter 4

System-wide priorities for stakeholders

Students require new skills in the 21st century, while educators and other stakeholders require new measures of performance. Education technology has the potential to fundamentally increase efficiency and effectiveness throughout the closed loop, as well as a unique potential to facilitate the teaching of 21st-century skills beyond foundational literacies.

However, in most places, education technology has been deployed only recently, with outcomes highly dependent on how well technology can be integrated holistically to address an individual country’s context. In the most developed countries, the primary focus should be on scaling successful approaches, while expanding technology’s ability to address new skill needs such as competencies and character qualities. In the least developed countries, the development of foundational literacies is often a much more pressing problem. The main focus in many of these countries should be on adapting and experimenting with some of these promising, albeit early-stage technological solutions from the developed world.

To understand how stakeholders can move forward in many of these directions at once, it’s helpful to come back to our closed-loop model. In addition to operating at the level of the classroom and the school network, the closed loop also operates systemically – whether at the country, state or the district level. For example, at the country level, policy-makers can help define the learning objectives and policies tied to the overall aspirations for a knowledgeable and economically productive citizenry. Educators then design the standards and specific curriculum, deliver selected models and assess their efficacy.

Policy-makers and educators have a particularly useful role to play at the system level in embedding 21st-century skills and education technology across the closed loop. But fulfilling the promise of the closed loop will require a multistakeholder approach involving not just policy-makers and educators, but also educational-technology providers and funds. These stakeholders can take a number of actions.

Stakeholder group Primary role Actions/capabilities needed
  • Assess and realign educational systems and standards for the development of 21st-century skills
  • Agree on definitions and globally uniform standards to measure 21st-century skills
  • Incorporate all 21st-century skills into learning standards, including competencies and character qualities
  • Certify new instructional content such as OER and align it to 21st-century skills standards
  • Direct assessment towards 21st-century skills, incorporating new metrics beyond foundational literacies
  • Identify and prioritize key skills gaps, paying attention to the needs of local economies, available resources, and unique country-level constraints
  • Track performance in relation to peers and over time
  • Prioritize gaps, set clear targets and develop action plans to address gaps and overcome country-level constraints
  • Work in collaboration with the private sector to improve skills critical to the workforce of the future
  • Create incentives for education technology providers to develop products and services that develop competencies and character qualities
  • Create a learning environment that supports innovation, both from schools and from education-technology players
  • Give schools the autonomy to innovate while maintaining accountability for high learning standards
  • Provide funding for innovative school networks that demonstrate improved outcomes
  • Create a dialogue with innovative players to accelerate the spread of best practices into the mainstream
Educators (such as teachers, school principals and local and regional administrators)
  • Scale up, transfer and promote the most successful models
  • Scale up effective new models within countries by identifying core elements of success, securing stable funding sources, and creating a dialogue with policy-makers to ensure a continuous integration of innovative approaches into the mainstream
  • Promote and transfer effective models in new markets by standardizing key instructional and operational model elements, adapting to local needs, and using data to continuously track and compare both output and outcome metrics
  • Evaluate whether education technologies can be adopted throughout the closed loop, given unique country contexts
  • Develop and promote understanding of and expertise in technology
  • Focus investment on the technology infrastructure with the strongest potential, such as the hardware necessary for blended instruction, effective computer-based learning programmes, and integrated assessment and data platforms
  • Ensure interoperability between instructional strategies, assessment systems and learning platforms to enhance decision-making related to students, teachers and administrators
  • Develop and promote technology expertise among teachers
  • Incorporate 21st-century skills proficiency into teacher qualification and professional development
  • Provide teachers with ongoing support to effectively integrate technology solutions into the classroom
Education technology providers
  • Develop products to fill gaps in 21st-century skills measurement and instruction
  • Develop tools and business models that are financially viable in the developing world, that address its unique environment and constraints, and that work to overcome the digital divide
  • Build tools that go beyond foundational literacies and specifically target competencies and character qualities
  • Support the development of comprehensive global assessments and measurements for 21st-century skills
  • Help shape the public education agenda
  • Engage in the public debate about education and promote the need for the development of skills most demanded in the job market
  • Promote the scaling up of proven innovations through partnerships, dialogue and advocacy
Funds and alliances
  • Accelerate the development and implementation of global measures of 21st-century skills
  • Support metrics development and greater integration of measurements for both 21st-century skills and factors that constrain their development
  • Help increase coverage and comparable performance data collection in developing countries
  • Provide the funding needed to research and develop metrics necessary to identify effective technology-based solutions at an early stage
  • Provide funding to pilot, transfer and scale up technology-enabled models
  • Accelerate the migration of technology-driven models from developed to developing markets, once key instructional and operating features have been standardized and models have been adapted to local needs
  • Focus seed funding on solutions with both a high impact on outcomes and sustainable financial models
  • Invest in innovation incubators for education technologies in the developing world
  • Provide resources and advice to pilot technology-enabled models for the development of competencies and character qualities