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Office of Educational Technology (EdTech)

Research and Innovation

EdTech Goal 3: Leverage research and innovation in K-12 edtech that may provide solutions to persistent problems and support next generation learning.

Featured Resources and Partnerships

UMass Donahue Institute (UMDI)

In the spring of 2021, DESE contracted with the UMass Donahue Institute (UMDI) to research and summarize findings from a brief media scan, conducted in May and June 2021, focused on gathering insights about the promising uses of technology for students, families, and educators—based on their experiences this past school year in remote and hybrid learning environments. UMDI collected several insights that can help educators, districts, and the state thoughtfully leverage the use of educational technology in the coming years. There were four overall emergent themes that surfaced in their report, Remote Learning Technology Media Scan Summary :

  • Technology can facilitate a shift to more student-centered learning modalities;

    …well-applied EdTech tools show promise as part of broader strategies to differentiate learning experiences, build relationships, create flexibility, facilitate collaboration, and adjust teacher assignments and workload.

  • It can foster collaboration and support and bolster engagement;

    …educational technology has helped to build connections to schools, teachers and a larger support network; create opportunities for more individualized support; foster feelings of safety; and encourage self-advocacy.

  • It is most valuable if implemented in intentional ways; and

    …technology alone does not automatically create learner-centered experiences, equity, or collaboration.

  • Digital literacy and general core competencies around using technology are important for everyone involved.

    …Integrating educational technology is more likely to result in positive outcomes if schools and educators are also engaging in discussions of digital literacy, conducting training with students and their families, and if educators have sufficient training opportunities to ensure that they can implement these tools effectively.

LearnLaunch: Building Blocks of Equitable Learning

Building Blocks of Equitable Learning Logo

DESE is partnering with LearnLaunch to provide district and school leaders access to a planning framework: The Building Blocks of Equitable Learning. The Building Blocks support school & district leaders in implementing & sustaining innovation while delivering equitable, high-quality teaching and learning.

LearnLaunch is hosting a series of free virtual workshops throughout the school year on these critical components of equitable learning. Workshops feature content experts and are aligned with DESE's principles, priorities, standards, and guidance. Workshops are highly interactive to promote collaboration, idea sharing, and encourage productive discussion. Districts can learn more about and register for workshops by visiting the Learn Launch Massachusetts Workshops page.

Spotlights, Related Publications, and Additional Support


Related Publications

  • Carpe diem: Convert pandemic struggles into student-centered learning — Thomas Arnett of the Clayton Christensen Institute details in his three part paper what instruction looked like for teachers and across school systems during the 2020-21 school year (Part I), what survey respondents reported about their future plans for online learning and online-enabled instructional models (Part II), and trends that surfaced in the survey data and insights for steering pandemic-induced emergency online learning toward student-centered learning across K–12 education (Part III).

Additional Support

  • EdResearch for Recovery Project — Housed within the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, the EdResearch for Recovery Project taps top researchers from across the country to develop evidence briefs to inform recovery strategies, including those with implications for use of technology.

  • Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation — The Clayton Christensen Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to improving the world through Disruptive Innovation. Their "mission is ambitious but clear: work to shape and elevate the conversation surrounding these issues through rigorous research and public outreach."

Last Updated: March 24, 2022

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