ICT-based teaching and learning in Ghana: OpenSTEM Africa

Addae-Kyeremeh, Eric; Cullen, Jane; Mallet, Joshua and Owusu-Agyemfra, Augustus (2021). ICT-based teaching and learning in Ghana: OpenSTEM Africa. In: UKFIET Conference Building Back Better in Education and Training?, 13/09/2021-16/09/2021, Online.

URL: https://www.ukfiet.org/events/building-back-better...

Abstract

Reimagining learning spaces involves an increased focus on the opportunities and challenges implicit in ICT-based teaching and learning. OpenSTEM Africa: Ghana, is a collaboration between The Open University (OU) UK, Ghana’s Centre for National, Distance and Open Learning (CENDLOS) and the Ghana Education Service (GES), in an initiative guided by the Ministry of Education (MoE) to help improve teaching and learning in the sciences and, given a near doubling of the SHS student population since 2017, to address the pressure on laboratories and science equipment in many Senior High Schools (SHS). The partnership has worked on co-creating PC-based onscreen science applications to develop skills in practical science; on co-designing continuous professional development materials for science teaching and learning, and on co-developing a leadership programme for heads of science to create ICT-focused communities of practice. Covid 19 has presented significant challenges to progress, as schools in Ghana closed in March 2020, only starting to re-open January-March 2021. We planned further face to face co-design and review for our first materials, planned to be loaded onto the ‘iBox’, a CENDLOS-designed local server intranet in each of 148 low-resourced upper secondary schools.

Arguably the landscape is changing. During school closure the Government of Ghana launched an internet version of the iCampusgh platform used on the iBox, and while this could negatively affect disadvantaged, rural or more remote contexts, it opens up the possibility to engage a higher proportion of Senior High School science teachers and students via laptop, tablet and/or mobile phone as well as PC. It opens up engagement via connectivity outside as well as inside the classroom - via the online teaching and learning formats developed by MoE and schools during school closure, in informal leadership groups, with coaches or mentors, in student study groups, with friends and independently. Implementation is delayed, but the OU and Ghana academics and learning designers have continued to produce and review materials via an OU ‘sandbox’ website and video conferencing. This paper examines the co-creation and co-designing of the OpenSTEM Africa resources and the extent to which remote working has enhanced new ways of collaboration.

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