Michael Trucano

Michael Trucano

Visiting Fellow, Brookings, and Global Lead for Innovation in Education, World Bank

Michael Trucano was 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 low- and middle-income countries and emerging markets around the world. He is currently on leave from the World Bank as a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, exploring topics related to the use of artificial intelligence in education.

Over the past 26 years, Mike has been advisor on, evaluator of, and/or working-level participant in, educational technology initiatives in over 70 low- and middle-income countries. Mike co-founded and co-led the World Bank's global EdTech team, which provided technical support and guidance to large-scale national education projects and coordinated assistance to governments around the world as they deployed remote learning programs in response to extended school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the World Bank's EdTech Fellows program.

He is particularly well known for his research and advice related to the development of national EdTech policies and the building of related government and quasi-governmental national EdTech agencies. For many years, he was the principal voice behind the World Bank's influential blogging on educational technology. Other notable areas of work and expertise include 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 directions in educational publishing and digital learning resources; EdTech startups; and digital safety, privacy, and ethics in education.

Mike co-authored the World Bank’s EdTech strategy, Reimagining Human Connections and led 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. Notable analytical work includes Documenting national educational technology policies around the world and their evolution over timeBuilding 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.

He has also helped found a number of nongovernmental and research initiatives related to the uses of new technologies in education, including the EdTech Hub and the mEducation Alliance, serves on the board of Digital Promise (originally known as the U.S. National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies) and is co-chair of the global reference group on education technology of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

A frequent public speaker and interview subject on the use of technology in education around the world, he regularly serves as a master of ceremonies or moderator at conferences and industry events, including an annual global symposium on ICT and education in Seoul, which he helped to establish in 2007, and the Education World Forum, the world’s annual gathering of education ministers. He 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.

Previous work at the World Bank

Mike previously served as the ICT and Education Specialist at infoDev, where he coordinated research activities related to the use of new technologies in the education sector in low- and middle-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 pioneering 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 low- and middle-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.

The World Bank EduTech Blog

For many years, Mike was the principal contributor to the World Bank’s widely read and influential EduTech blog. His essays and posts have been collected into seven separate volumes, and are now available via the World Bank Education for Global Development blog. Popular and/or influential posts include: