Excerpted from the infoDev publication, Using Technology to Train Teachers: Appropriate Uses of ICT for Teacher Professional Development in Developing Countries.
ICT projects in education may entail great expense and complexity. The key considerations outlined here increase the likelihood of effective project design, cost-eff ective implementation, and impact.
Know why ICT is being used
- Focus the use of ICT on enhancing the scope of learning activities in the classroom or the scale of TPD initiatives—not on learning to use computers and the Internet.
Incorporate specific tools to meet specific needs
- Every technology enables specific actions and incurs limitations. Tools must be appropriate to program objectives.
Match ICT to infrastructure
- Each ICT tool off ers its full range of capacities when it is supported by adequate infrastructure. Select tools that will work under the conditions that exist in schools where they will be used.
Match ICT to human resources and learning resources
- Enlist the aid of experts to analyze requirements in advance. Push for comprehensive analysis.
Combine different tools for enhanced impact
- Use familiar and proven tools whenever possible, but always think creatively about technology problems and about combinations of tools that can solve them.
Prepare for complexity
- The introduction of any ICT solution to a TPD program increases the complexity of the entire system. Behavior in complex systems—which include both schools and IT projects—is diffi cult to predict.
- Start small, monitor and assess results every step of the way. Plan “adaptation waypoints” at which projects will be modified to address problems.
Commit enough time and money to allow ICT to realize its potential
- Every program of change in education takes time. Supporting change through ICT may increase the number of teachers that are reached, and may make changes in teacher behavior more profound. However, introducing ICT means adding more steps—for delivery and installation, content development, training of trainers, hiring of mentors, and guidance for end users in adoption of the new tools. Introducing ICT may increase the time required for results to emerge.
Keep in mind that ICT supports solutions; it is not the solution
- ICT fails to live up to its promise when planners and policymakers focus on technology to the exclusion of more important contributors to eff ective education. ICT can help increase teachers’ capacities but will do so only when it is used to support programs that meet the full range of human, instructional and physical requirements for successful TPD.