Michael Trucano is the World Bank's Senior Education & Technology Policy Specialist and Global Lead for Innovation in Education, working on issues at the intersection of technology use and education in middle- and low-income countries and emerging markets around the world.
At a practical working level, Mike provides policy advice, research and technical assistance to governments seeking to utilize new information and communication technologies (ICTs) in their education systems. Over the past 20 years, Mike has been advisor on, evaluator of, and/or working-level participant in, educational technology initiatives in over 50 middle- and low-income countries.
A frequent public speaker and interview subject on the use of technology in education around the world, and on ICT use for development (ICT4D) purposes more broadly, he is the principal voice behind the World Bank's influential EduTech blog. He also regularly serves as a 'master of ceremonies' or moderator at conferences and industry events, including the annual global symposium on ICT and education in Seoul, which he helped to establish in 2007. You can follow Mike on Twitter @trucano.
Mike co-leads the World Bank's global solutions group on 'technology and innovation in education', which maintains the World Bank's knowledgebase on related topics; provides technical support and guidance to large scale national education projects around the world, and sponsors numerous knowledge-sharing events each year, as well as the World Bank's EdTech Fellows program, and co-leads the World Bank's global edtech team.
He leads analytical work under the World Bank's flagship Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER) initiative as it relates to information and communication technologies (SABER-ICT), including a related working paper series. Recent short papers include Documenting national educational technology policies around the world and their evolution over time; Building and sustaining national ICT/education agencies: Lessons from international experiences (with Gavin Dykes); and Technologies in education across the Americas. Mike was a contributor to the World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends and, together with Birger Fredericksen and Sukhdeep Brar, was a co-author of the 2015 book, Getting Textbooks to Every Child in Sub-Saharan Africa : Strategies for Addressing the High Cost and Low Availability Problem.
In addition to his advisory work on projects funded by the World Bank and other international aid agencies and donors, including the EdTech Hub and the mEducation Alliance, he serves on a number of external advisory boards for non-profit groups, international development agencies and prize committees, including Digital Promise Global, Dfid's Digital Advisory Panel and the International Literacy Prizes of the U.S. Library of Congress. Concluded external advisory work included terms on the international advisory board of the International Institute for Communications in Development (IICD) in the Netherlands; NMC's K-12 Horizon Report; the education committee for the Mobile World Congress's GLOMO Awards, and the External Advisory Board for Education & Learning for the Toronto-based Mastercard Foundation. Mike is a Distinguished Fellow of the Research Centre of Fundación Ceibal in Uruguay.
Mike is also known for his work organizing off-the-record efforts to help groups learn from 'failed' projects and initiatives, in the hope that sharing lessons from 'failure' might make 'success' more likely in the future.
Mike previously served as the ICT and Education Specialist at infoDev, where he coordinated research activities related to the use of new technolologies in the education sector in middle- and low-income countries; led work exploring the use of various low-cost ICT devices to meet developmental objectives in the social sectors; and managed the program's mobile banking work. Highlights from this time include the influential Knowledge Maps: ICT and Education (what we know, and what we don't, about ICT use in education in developing countries); 75 country surveys of ICT and education in Africa and the Caribbean; a handbook on Monitoring and Evaluation of ICT in Education Projects; and the ICT in Education Toolkit for Policymakers, Planners & Practitioners (with UNESCO, used in national policy planning processes in over 30 countries).
In the late 1990s, Mike was a core member of the team that developed and implemented the pioneering World Links for Development program, a teacher professional development initiative which introduced educational technologies for the first time in education systems in 22 medium- and low-income countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. While at World Links, he initiated and coordinated related country programs in China, India and Southeast Asia.
Current and recent areas of notable activity and attention include:
- educational technology policy development;
- the development of national educational technology agencies;
- new directions in educational publishing and digital learning resources;
- the use of mobile devices (especially mobile phones) in education;
- online learning (including MOOCs) and assessment;
- developing standards for globally comparable data related to technology use in education;
- technology use to support teaching and teachers;
- evaluating and assessing the impact of technology use in education;
- 'new economy skills' and digital literacy;
- Internet safety, privacy and ethics in education;
- and low-cost 'ICT devices', especially those used in rural and poor communities.
The World Bank EduTech Blog
Mike is the principal contributor to the World Bank's widely read EduTech blog (http://blogs.worldbank.org/edutech). His essays and posts have been collected into seven separate volumes. Popular and/or influential posts include:
- Worst practice in ICT use in education
- 10 principles to consider when introducing ICTs into remote, low-income educational environments
- Ten things about computer use in schools that you don't want to hear
- Big educational laptop and tablet projects -- Ten countries to learn from
- Questions to ask (and not to ask) when your president tells you to buy 100k (or a million) tablets for students
- Textbooks of the future: Will you be buying a product ... or a service?
- Education & Technology in 2025: A Thought Experiment
- School computer labs: A bad idea?
- Searching for India's Hole in the Wall
- Educational technology and innovation at the edges
- Paying teacher salaries with mobile phones
- A short note to the new philanthropist looking to support education and technology initiatives in the developing world
- Promising uses of technology in education in poor, rural and isolated communities around the world
- Learning to code vs. coding to learn
- What's changed: Ten reflections on ten years of technology use in education