Rationale and Purpose
The introduction of technology into classrooms around the world has not been without controversy as educators, principals and education specialists debate concerns around pedagogies and appropriate devices. In a context like South Africa where infrastructure and technological support is not widely available to all, questions around access, affordability, adequate school-based support and teacher development pose very real challenges to the dream of having all learners connected to worldwide web.
BRIDGE’s National ICTs in Education Community of Practice is a multi-stakeholder forum of technology solution companies, service providers, school leaders, educators and innovators working in the country to provide usable and sustainable technologies that aid and support teaching and learning. Seeking to gain better understandings of each other’s work and the challenges common to all, this community is dedicated to creating and streamlining strategies and approaches that are real, sustainable and appropriate for a range of school contexts. In this way direct and measurable impacts on learning and teaching in the classroom can be ensured.
The community’s work also supports government’s commitment to e-education as a mechanism to improve teaching and learning across the country.
Action sub-groups have developed to deepen different aspects of the work started by the main Community of Practice as follows:
- The Teacher Professional Development focus group looks at creating and sharing appropriate and context relevant teaching frameworks for developing and supporting ICTs in the classroom.
- The Content and Curriculum integration focus group is involved with understanding and mapping the range of digital content for ICT provision, who provides these and the nature of access to these.
- The Research, Monitoring and Evaluation and Knowledge Management group is concerned with the development of guidelines for evaluating ICT interventions. This is aimed at helping efforts to maximise replication of successful evidence-based interventions, while reducing unsuccessful programmes.
Link to the BRIDGE Knowledge Hub for meeting highlights, presentations, tools and documented working practice from this Community.
In 2012, in partnership with the CoZa Cares Foundation and the Department of Basic Education, this Community of Practice undertook research into the current state of ICTs in South Africa, which has influenced much work and engagement in the field since. The research was informed by practitioners, government officials and companies working to provide, and support the adoption of, technology in the classroom. It formed the basis of a Conversation Starter Report, which catalysed the establishment of the Community of Practice and its subsequent action groups. The first meeting of this community, in November 2012, saw over 100 ICTs in Education stakeholders come together to commit to working together and sharing working practice in this field. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liQl3aqz39I for a summary of this meeting and its highlights. The community has continued to meet, and examples of working practice in this field are frequently shared in other BRIDGE forums and communities of practice.
If you are interested in joining the Community and collaborating on ICTs in education, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Having this high-level quality of debate and experience all in one room makes today’s BRIDGE community meeting historic.