Leach, Jenny; Ahmed, Atef; Makalima, Shumi and Power, Tom
DEEP IMPACT: an investigation of the use of information and communication technologies for teacher education in the global south: Researching the issues.
Department for International Development (DFID), London, UK.
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The scale of the demand and need for primary school teachers if the Millenium Development Goal of Universal Basic Education (UBE) is to be achieved far outstrips existing provision. The countries of sub-Saharan Africa face particular challenges: over 40 million children of primary school age are without school experience and the numbers are growing.
The Digital Education Enhancement Project (DEEP) is an applied research project exploring the ways in which information and communications technology (ICT) can improve access to, and the quality of, teacher education in the global south.*
It is focused upon three key research questions:
• What is the impact of ICT use on the pedagogic knowledge and practice of teachers and the communities in which they live and work?
• What is the impact of ICT-enhanced teaching on student achievement and motivation?
• How can teacher education and training be developed to ensure that teachers have the capacity to exploit the potential for ICT?
There is a dearth of research on the application of ICT to teaching and learning in developing country contexts, specifically in the key areas of literacy, numeracy and science at the primary level. In addition there are currently few, if any, examples of planned investigations into how mobile technologies can be used to support teacher education in sub-Saharan Africa.
The project’s aim is to inform policy makers, educational researchers and others interested in ways in which new forms of technology can enhance teachers’ capabilities and improve knowledge and professionalism in the global south. DEEP was funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and co-ordinated by the Open University (UK), with the University of Fort Hare (UFH), South Africa and the Programme, Planning and Monitoring Unit (PPMU), Egypt. The research was carried out in 12 primary schools in Egypt and 12 in South Africa with 48 teachers (two per school) and involved over 2,000 primary school students. Teachers worked in pairs to implement and evaluate a short, curriculum-focused, school-based professional development programme, using a range of new technologies including hand-held computers. Activities focused on the teaching of literacy, numeracy and science. ICT was used in some significant ways by schools as a whole, as well as many of the communities in which project teachers lived and worked.
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