10: Edtech and Equity in Panama: Mobile Technology for Levelling the Learning Playing Field

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Access to quality education in the Republic of Panama is a topic of growing concern. The COVID-19 pandemic served to highlight the importance of this issue and its connection with information and communications technology. As remote learning assumed a critical role during the global pandemic, education technology (edtech) became a familiar concept and a determinant of families’ abilities to access instruction for their school-aged children. The situation prompted complex questions about the political economy of edtech, digital inequality, and the future of learning. This chapter examines edtech and equity in Panama, focusing on mobile technology as a potential means to levelling the learning playing field. It discusses two collaborative low-tech projects to propel basic skills acquisition for children in their early years of schooling that were implemented nationwide in 2020 while schools were closed. It links the knowledge generated from the study of these projects to the broader discussion of global forces that shape education delivery and local responses that work to drive equity and inclusion.

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