The project 'Situational analysis on the use of frontier technologies in teaching and learning in primary and secondary education' aims to explore how new or emerging digital technologies can help countries to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all and make progress towards the achievement of SDG 4. It is a component of the umbrella project 'Supporting the implementation of the SDG 4–Education 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific' implemented by UNESCO Bangkok.
There is no universally agreed definition of 'frontier technology'. A report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) states: 'What is deemed to be "frontier" depends on context.'1 The present project understands the concept of 'frontier technology' contextually as well, and interprets it as a technology that is considered new or emerging in the context of the school and the country, while also taking into account prevalent notions at the regional and international levels such as those mentioned in the ESCAP report, e.g. Artificial Intelligence(AI), Virtual Reality (VR), robotics, drone, blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), 3-D printing, etc.
With a view to obtaining a broad sense of the kinds of digital technologies used in schools in the Asia Pacific region, the project conducted a quick informal survey among teachers through social media asking the question "What is the most advanced technology used in your school?" The responses received through this survey gave indications that in several countries in the region,2 there seems to be some schools at primary and secondary levels that are using a 'frontier technology' mentioned in the ESCAP report. Moving forward, the project will undertake case studies in selected schools in some of these countries that are deemed successful in introducing and applying new technologies in teaching and learning to make impacts in these countries towards the achievement of SDG 4 – ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all.