TESSA: an open educational resource site for teacher education in Africa

Wolfenden, Freda (2008). TESSA: an open educational resource site for teacher education in Africa. In: eLearning Africa: 3rd International Conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training, 28-30 May 2008, Accra, Ghana.

URL: http://www.elearning-africa.com


Technology now offers us a plethora of tools, resources (including Open Educational Resources) and structures to support educational activities. But the value of the technologies to enhance these activities depends on our ability, as educators, to identify the tools and structures which best support our purposes and the needs of learners.

The issues facing teacher educators across Sub Saharan Africa are highly challenging: an additional four million teachers are required to meet the EFA goal of universal primary education by 2015; a large proportion of existing teachers have experienced little or no training; teacher supply is severely effected by both teacher migration and HIV / AIDs; and the inappropriate nature of many current teacher education programmes - focussed on theory with little emphasis on the development of teaching practices. (UNESCO 2008 etc).

It seems unlikely that it will be possible to meet these needs, at the scale of expansion required, without exploiting new learning technologies. The motivations to harness these tools are huge and at the same time we are beginning to see the installation of ICT policies across the region. ( ICT Africa report 2008). Working across nine sub-Saharan African countries the TESSA consortium has been exploring how a mix of contemporary technological developments can be brought together to support the construction of new teacher education programmes and enhance existing courses; increasing connectivity, interactive web tools and OERs. TESSA has created an extensive OER environment dedicated to school-based teacher education, supporting an international community of teacher educators in adapting, refining and improving teaching materials through use and re-use.

The TESSA session will offer narrative and analytical comment on our progress and future thinking in the different aspects of the programme outlined below, paying attention to ‘key lessons learnt’ that might be of value to others undertaking similar initiatives.

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