Although the education sector has been designing and evaluating educational technologies since the 1970s, there are no systematic studies that have documented and evaluated the different methodologies for EdTech “testbed” design. Consequently, EdTech testbeds operate as “black boxes” with many of the processes and products rendered invisible to external audiences.
Alongside, the diverse and sometimes competing goals for EdTech testbeds leads to varying metrics for their evaluation. Most are rightly concerned with evaluating the impacts of the particular EdTech on its beneficiaries, rather than evaluating the EdTech testbed approach adopted.
However, there is a growing body of expertise and interest to unlock this black box as a means to better understand the diversity of goals, testbed design methods, stakeholders, funding models, timelines and timescales etc.
For end-users (educators, learners, parents, workforces)
It is increasingly difficult to discern when a product or service is “ready for use”, and if and how any educational impacts will be realised.
For teachers, lecturers and teacher educators
Staying abreast of emerging EdTech products and services, alongside technological innovations that impact education (i.e. artificial intelligence, data analytics, AR/VR/XR) is essential to maintain a teaching workforce that can prepare learners for their futures in life and work.
For EdTech developers
Most have limited connections with both end-users and educational researchers, which are crucial to support the evidence-based development of impactful tools. Also, EdTech developers are often unsure how to best design their products and services to realize high educational impacts for end-users. Moreover, EdTech developers often just focus on how the child uses the product, neglecting the role of the teacher, or broader stakeholders (school technicians, head teacher, government).
For governments, districts and institutions
Most are aiming to support educational institutions and workplaces with the processes of digital innovation, but often lack the knowledge and resources to facilitate this transition.
For investors and foundations
Decisions to invest and fund new EdTech products and services are increasingly becoming reliant on evidence of the potential (or actual) impacts on beneficiaries (teachers, learners, etc.).
- Surface existing EdTech testbed processes and products that are hypothesised and/or evidenced to be effective for different stakeholders within the global EdTech ecosystem.
- Produce a synthesis of these processes and products in a written report that both maps the landscape and summarises key features of different testbeds
- Produce the specification for an EdTech Testbed Design “Toolkit” – a knowledge resource for global stakeholders in high-, medium- and low-resource contexts that can support stakeholders to realise learning outcomes for children through the integration of EdTech in teaching and learning.
- Nurture a global community of EdTech stakeholders with a common interest in effective EdTech Testbed design, implementation and evaluation.