Thursday, June 23, 2011

ICT in Education: The Threat of Implementation Failure

I am evaluating a few projects looking at the application of ICTs in Education. 

Although my job is to measure the learning outcomes of the projects, it seems that implementation failure is a very real risk. Projects break down even before they can be logically expected to make a difference in learning outcomes. Infrastructure problems and limited skills are some of the big threats. It seems that my projects aren't the only ones dealing with these kind of implementation challenges.

Greta Björk Gudmundsdottir wrote an interesting article in the open access journal: Internationl Journal of Education And Development: Using Information and Communication Technology. The article is titled:From digital divide to digital equity: Learners’ ICT competence in four primary schools in Cape Town, South Africa. It speaks to specifically computer skills which would be necessary for ICT solutions. She says:

The potential of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) to enhance curriculum delivery can only be realised when the technologies have been well-appropriated in the school. This belief has led to an increase in government- or donor-funded projects aimed at providing ICTs to schools in disadvantaged communities. Previous research shows that even in cases where the technology is provided, educators are not effectively integrating such technologies in their pedagogical practices. This study aims at investigating the factors that affect the integration of ICTs in teaching and learning. The focus of this paper is on the domestication of ICTs in schools serving the disadvantaged communities in a developing country context. We employed a qualitative research approach to investigate domestication of ICT in the schools. Data for the study was gathered using in-depth interviews. Participants were drawn from randomly sampled schools in disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape. Results show that even though schools and educators appreciate the benefits of ICTs in their teaching and even though they are willing to adopt the technology, there are a number of factors that impede the integration of ICTs in teaching and learning.
It would make sense to build teachers' and learners' skills to work with ICT while they are required to use ICT for learning, but this may require that the projects deliberately look at ICT skills building as part of delivering the learning solutions.

No comments: