Technology for Education in Low-Income Countries: Supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals

  • Daniel A. WagnerEmail author
Part of the Educational Communications and Technology: Issues and Innovations book series (ECTII)


Information and communications technologies (ICTs) are increasingly available, even in developing countries, leading to a number of pressing questions. Will ICTs for education (ICT4E) improve learning and educational quality? Might they increase the ‘digital divide’ with negative consequences for equity? What can ICT4E offer to help assist in the achievement of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals? The present review addresses these questions and uses of ICT4E in developing countries. First, a short overview is provided of how ICT4E intersects with the learning outcomes and the quality of education, including contemporary perceptions of what does and does not work in ICT4E. Second, an ICT4E framework is suggested as a way to reconceptualize the parameters currently in use that will lead to more effective ICT4E design solutions. Third, ICT projects in four key education subsectors – early childhood, basic as well as secondary education, and teacher education – help to disaggregate where and how interventions have been made in recent years. Finally, a set of investment domains in ICT4E is described, along with a set of specific suggestions to advance the field. The paper concludes with the suggestion that measurable, sustainable, and scalable design solutions in ICT4E are the best way to assist in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


Learning Technology ICT4E UN SDGs Framework Design solution 



This paper is adapted from a review originally commissioned by the International Education Funders Group (IEFG), in association with the Firelight Foundation. The author would like to thank the following individuals for their time on the phone or for documents and/or comments received in connection with the IEFG review, including: Nathan Castillo, Amy Jo Dowd, Ed Gaible, Matthew Kam, Katie M. Murphy, Benjamin Piper, John Traxler, Mike Trucano, and Steve Vosloo. The views in this chapter are, however, the sole responsibility of the author, and not that of any person named above, or any organization or agency.


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Literacy InstituteGraduate School of Education, University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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