Michael Trucano

Michael Trucano

Michael Trucano is a visiting fellow in the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, where he explores issues related to effective and ethical uses of new technologies in education. Current areas of inquiry include the use of digital educational credentials, generative artificial intelligence in education, and, more broadly, emerging edtech policies, initiatives, and institutions after the pandemic.

Trucano comes to Brookings from the World Bank, where for 26 years he provided policy advice, research, and technical assistance to governments seeking to utilize new technologies in their education systems. In this role, he was adviser to, evaluator of, and/or working-level participant in large-scale educational technology initiatives in over 70 countries, including China, India, South Korea, Uruguay, the United States, and in many countries across Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.

He most recently served for eight years as the World Bank’s global lead for technology and innovation in education and co-founded its edtech team, which coordinated assistance to governments around the world as they deployed remote learning programs in response to extended school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. A co-author of the World Bank’s edtech strategy, Imagining Human Connections, he also led research under the World Bank’s flagship Systems Approach for Better Education Results program related to the use of new technologies (SABER-ICT), edited a related working paper series and co-authored a book on Getting Textbooks to Every Child in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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 agencies. 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. 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, and serves on the board of Digital Promise.

Trucano is a frequent public speaker and interview subject on the use of technology in education around the world quoted in publications such The Economist, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, and The Verge. He was the principal voice behind the World Bank’s influential EduTech blog, which featured over 200 of his articles exploring trends in technology use in education around the world, including Worst practice in ICT use in education. He has regularly served 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.

  • Current Positions

    • Chair, GPE Global Reference Group on Technology in Education
    • Board, Digital Promise
    • Executive Committee, Global EdTech Hub
    • Advisory Board, mEducation Alliance
    • Technical Expert Group, UNICEF-UNESCO Digital Pathways
    • Advisory Board, Global Cities Education Network
    • Advisory Committee, TeachAI
  • Past Positions

    • Global Lead for Technology & Innovation in Education, World Bank
    • Sr. Technology & Education Specialist, World Bank
    • Researcher, infoDev
    • Team Member, World Links
    • Webmaster, IFC
    • Member, DFID Digital Advisory Panel (UK)
    • Prize Committee, International Literacy Prizes
    • Prize Committee, GLOMO, Mobile World Congress
    • External Advisory Board, Mastercard Foundation
    • International Advisory Board, IICD (Netherlands)
    • Distinguished Fellow, Research Centre, Fundación Ceibal (Uruguay)
    • Technical Expert Group, ICT in Education Indicators, UNESCO Institute for Statistics
    • Advisory Board, NMC K-12 Horizon Report
  • Education

    • M.S., Georgetown University, 1996
    • A.B., Bowdoin College, 1992
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