Page 1


Information Technology in Education


in high - middle and low income countries

• Singapore • USA • Netherlands • Finland • Germany

11 snapshots reveal broken promises of computer technology when introduced too fast $32,000 average high income countries

lly ua n a nt e p ss n o lli bi

A realistic policy is selective The blessings of computer technology are mixed. The digital library and access to the world wide web have changed a lot in education. But IT has hardly contributed to better teaching. After two decades this can be concluded in rich countries.

• Slovenia

Snapshots 5 to 11 reveal that it is idle to believe that what is failing in rich countries will succeed in middle and low income countries. > $12,000: high income countries

Information Technology (IT) that works has to be introduced. What is marginal or negative in effects on learning results can be postponed until appropriate technology and didactics are developed and teachers are ready for it. Today much more effective forms of ICT can be used at lower costs to support their daily work.

Gross National Income per capita: yearly total value of production + incomes divided by population

• Hungary • Slovakia • Mexico

< $12,000: GNI p/c middle income countries


• Turkey • Russia • Uruguay Namibia • Surinam • • Serbia Bosnia • Peru ••Albania Ukraine ••

$6,000 Drs Jan Krol, director Visual Teach large screen presentations

lower middle income countries


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low income countries

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ICT is more than IT

• • India

low income countries Rw

< $ 980:

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In the last two years Jan Krol visited many schools and ministries in Africa and on the Balkans.

< $3,850:

How to improve education in middle and low income countries?

Does IT contribute

1 European Union policy without impact assessment

a reality check

A pan-european EU study* reveales that the computer/pupil ratio is 1 to 9. Nordic countries, the UK and Netherlands score highest with 1 to 5. Computer labs are the starting point for most schools. 96% of the EU schools are internet connected, 67% via broadband. Many teachers have appliences in their classroom but 70 to 80% rarely use them. Teachers who think that computers support teaching but not use it, complain mainly about the lack of computers. Even well equipped countries such as Norway are faced with a lack of technical support.


Nordic countries wealthy information societies

Finland has according to each OECD Pisa Report the best results and best educational system in the world. This quality is not related to the use of computers. The use of computers in the classroom in Finland is effectively declining since the late 90s.*

Typically on other continents also, most research on IT in education (as this investigation to support EU policies) is not done by educationalist but by IT specialists, supportive of the grand idea: computers boost education. The tone in reports is promising - computers enrich education - but the learning results of the investments are not measured. ‘Is there enough?’ is the leading question. Monitoring success of IT impementation follows a returning hierarchy of relevancies: 1 computer/pupil ratio: need for more? 2 maintenancy, is support availability? 3 is educational software available? 4 do teachers have enough IT skills? - their age

* OECD study on digital learning resources as systematic innovation - Country case study Finland, 30 dec 2008 p.6

In Norway: research shows that few teachers use available computers for teaching. Teachers use computers for lesson preparation (like they do in other Nordic and most West European countries). The build up of portals and online sites, since the 90s harvesting useful teaching and learning materials, has not been as succesful as expected by teachers and students - the whole system will be reorientated. * OECD - Country case study Norway, 2009 p 6 + p 8

Impact assessment is rare, although this should be the basis for any policy. * Benchmarking Access and Use of ICT in European schools 2006, by Gesellschaft für Kommunikations- und Technologie Forschung for the EU ‘DG Information Society and Media’

1 2 United Kingdom did invest most in IT




British teachers hold the EU top score in using computers in class and interactive whiteboards were nationwide installed after 2002. Nationwide study* concludes: vast spending on IT has little or no effect on learning standards Key phrases • ‘more entertainment than education’ • ‘utopian fantasies about the transformation of education’ • ‘superficial attempts to import technology into schools or combine education with digital entertainment’ Interactive computers might harm learning, other research confirms, due to the flow of information and distraction by visual or sound effects.





* Beyond Technology 2007, by David Buckingham, professor at the Institute of Education London, director at the Centre for the Study of Children, Youth and Media

7 India and what is

computer assisted teaching: 11 key snapshots across the globe 2

GNI p/c World Bank 2008 High income > US$12,000 - av.$38,000 Upper-middle income < US$12,000 Lower-middle income < US$ 3,850 Low income < US$975 down to $110

Here, as for most parts of the world, there is no up-to-date and comprehensive documentation of the impact of IT and a lack of evaluation, with negative repercussions*: - on planning: countries and donors struggle to keep track of projects over which they have no control and too little knowledge to draw lessons from.

to better learning results? 4 USA The quick fix: “enrich education with computers”

(common IT phrase)

In no country so much money is spent on education as in the USA, 60% above the OECD average. Much is invested in IT - with poor results according to Pisa Reports, consistantly deep below average.

4 8 10


9 snapshots 8 to 11 see next pages

‘Oversold and overvalued’ warned Prof. Cuban of Stanford University already in 2001, as do other independent studies on effects of IT on teaching and learning outcomes. ‘Are we there yet? Research on schools' use of the Internet’ is a US survey conducted in 2004 for National School Boards Foundation which reveals startling gaps between the promise and reality of technology use in schools. The pedagogy (strategy to achieve teaching goals) is fit to the technology - a trap: the technology is just too tempting, starts to take over and subject related teaching goals get vague or disappear. Teaching and learning becomes ‘edutainment’. Distraction affects poor pupils most. In ‘If it quacks like a duck. Emerging technologies for learning’ 2008, Emma Tonkin makes memorable statements: ‘There is no Google generation (able to learn via searching) and no shortcut to understanding’ - ‘People are still people’ - ‘IT in education is evolution – not a revolution’ - ‘With every advance there is a rush of hope and hype’. In the USA improving poor education with the quick fix of computer solutions seems counter productive. Teachers’ routines get distorted, standards go down with the increasing role of computers. A similar trend of declining quality parallel with the emerge of computers is apparent in Europe, e.g. in the Netherlands. Like in the USA, students in Teachers Training don’t know how to make simple calculations, how to spell and lack basic general knowledge e.g. in geography and history. “A rush of hope and hype” is especially true for interactive whiteboards (IWBs) which in the USA after 2000 got placed on schools in waves, firstly by Washington State and Arizona. This inspired policies in other states and other countries like Great Britain and even Mexico in 2005. They have become a status symbol, yet their contribution to learning is questionable.* * ‘The Interactive Whiteboards, Pedagogy and Pupil Performance Evaluation’, University of London 2007: Its pedagogy has to be developed - the value of the IWBs is not fully understood; ‘Interactive Whiteboards: Real beauty or just “lipstick”’, Educational Department Eastern Cape University Capetown, 2008 Advise: “Leap-frog” (skip) this generation of IWBs 5 Asia-Pacific until its pedagogy is developed.region

IT in teacher education



A snapshot of low and lower middle income countries - from Thailand and Mongolia to Samoa.* The report emphasises the value of IT and of small successes. It also shows the persistent enthousiasm of IT implementers but inevitably describes a considerable range of “challenges”, including: - lack of electricity and internet access - organisational challenges constitute critical barriers - important follow up activities by the government are not implemented - ongoing costs are a major concern - teachers having developed basic computer skills are not able to use technology to improve teaching and bring about pedagogical change. * ICT in teacher education: case studies from the Asia-Pacific region 2008, E. Meleisea, Eldis - Unesco Bangkok

6 Asian Tigers Malaysia and Singapore

South Asia actually happening? - no information: data occur scattered and are often not accesseble, or out of date. - Need for coordination of data collecting and use as a minimal requirment for policy. - Teachers and schools struggle to clarify roles - Lack of infrastructure, materials, know how * Survey of ICT in Education in India and South Asia 2009, Dr. Tim Kelly - World Bank

“Investing in ICT is an expensive business”, concludes the Minister of Education of Singapore*, with a GNI p/c of $48,000 in the top 10 of highest income countries. Although his claims of progress in IT use on Singaporian schools might be (partly) justified*, as in Western countries, 70 to 80% of the teachers regularly ignore the expensive IT applications in their classroom and e-learning is declining. In Malaysia** courses for teaching how to implement IT fail: knowledge is not applicable - teachers feel that they did not learn how to integrate IT in their teaching. Even here teachers who try to use IT face malfunctioning of the computer, server and router, despite available technical assistance. * Opening address at the International Conference on Teaching and Learning with Technology (Suntec Convention Hall - 1800 visitors) Aug. 2008, by Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen **Conditions and level of ICT integration in Malaysian Smart Schools 2009, by Wan ZWA, Hajar M, Azimi H in: International Journal of Education & Development using ICT - Vol 5 No 2


8 Mexico interactive whiteboard disaster

Does IT contribute

2005 Mexico, a middle income country with oil revenues. The Fox government installed 150,000 interactive whiteboards, firstly in primary schools, with computers, digital projectors and nationwide teacher training, an investment of nearly a billion dollars. After this pilot the plan was cancelled to equip another 40,000 classrooms in secondary schools. Today most of the 150,000 whiteboards are not in use. A Harvard Study revealed that where they were used learning results did not improve. As with all IT, a sound pedagogical understanding is needed on how to use it to reach the curriculum goals. Fraud, corruption scandals and political plots came with the multiple million dollar project.* Meanwhile on IT conferences, also in middle and low income countries, the possibly biggest educational mis-investment in recent history goes unmentioned while advisers persuade ministers with the endless possibilities of the IWBs to spend their limited budgets on. * The Mexican Digital Wave, Jo Tuckman The Guardian 6-5-2007. More on p 6.



‘One Laptop Per Child’ OLPC - at US$200 per laptop

Haiti 13,800 laptops so far, India 720, Rwanda 110,000, Uruguay 300,000. Visiting the OLPC website gives a real positive impression of the laptop and its possibilities. Clicking through to a supporting website as in Uruguay shows that the digital curriculums to download by children, still are to be developed for each school year. The know how to do so seems limited. It leaves the teacher with a ‘monumental task’. Yet, for children it is great to get a laptop - a step towards a computer literate society. Children pick up IT skills amazingly fast.* “They can teach their parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents to use the machines”. This might be true if, as Rwanda tries to at the moment, a solid internet infrastructure is provided to tap on to, free of charge. The Ministry also has started to sell the laptops at cost price - obviously a good idea. Or the OLPC approach can provide a basis for education in developing economies, is the next question.

8 10

* Hole-in-the-Wall. Lightning the spark of learning, Saguta Mitra / Hiwell


“When a country tries to fly before it even knows how to walk” The Peruvian government is one of the low and middle income countries so far persuaded by the founder of OLPC, Prof. Negroponte: “... to leap-frog decades of development ... Children in emerging nations will be opened both to illimitable knowledge and to their own creative and problem solving potential”. In 2006/7 Peru purchased and distributed 260.000+ of his ingenious laptops among children. In 2009 Kiko Mayorga identifies an “amazing non-connectness between reality and publicity”: The government claims that reading comprehension on primary level has been improved by 50% since introduction. In reality, at the ministry there is no e-mail list of teachers involved and no system to write them. Less than 5% of the laptops is connected to the internet. On the web there are virtually no OLPC communities, forums nor blogs - there are no feedback or user reports. Nor can children get their software updated. It is amazing how little communication teachers get or initiate. Laptops are isolated and deeply lost - many kids and teachers use them in trial and error style*. Now the discussion is on or the government should buy the new software ‘XO-2’ for the laptops or stick to the old ones which they bought 260.000 times 3 years ago.


* OLPC Peru is Still Far From Our Goals, 2009 Kiko Mayorga on Digete Esculab.

The Ministry of Capacity Building, GTZ (German) and EduVision (Swiss) coordinate the implementation. Researchers find that, despite being introduced with care, many laptops become little more than distracting toys in the classroom*: Pupils tend to play with them, largely by taking photos with the built in cameras. Teachers are left frustrated because pupils master the technology easier and play on them instead of listening to them. Students need more content and teachers are not adequately trained which in itself is described as “a monumental undertaking”. Matt Keller, director OLPC Europe, Middle East and Africa sees no danger in these problems. They are a part of this early stage of implementation: “Take a long term view and asses the impact of the project afterwards”. In Ethiopia (GNI p/c is $170) an OLPC approach for all 16 million children costs US$3 billion. “Ridiculous for such a poor country” concludes David Hollow, “Better teach children good basic literacy and counting skills”. * OLPC in Ethiopia, April 2009 David Hollow, Royal Holloway - on ICT4D Conference London.


© Daniel Drake flkr

Ethiopia 2007, donor project of 5000 OLPCs for ‘self-empowered learning’ Considering costs: In poor countries, in the first year the OLPC ‘One Laptop Per Child’ at $200 per child, takes c20% of the total national income plus 5% in each following year to maintain the programme. In effect, from the second year onward OLPC takes c50% of the budget available to the Ministries of Education to run the educational system with. Typically, governments in low income countries receive c50% of their budget from rich countries, directly or via other means made available for their policies.

to better learning results? 10 Caribbeans typical for low and middle income countries Promising reports, in which computers enrich education, foresee success after critical challenges are solved*. These are, to list a few: - organisatorial infrastructure fails, material infrastructure lacks, human resources fall short - running costs/maintenancy problems e.g only 40% of the computers function - access to IT on teachers training institutes is small, significantly lower than in other tertiary education institutes - from small and high profile “failures” so far is not - but should be - learned. * Critical Review and Survey of ICT in education in the Caribbean, Dr. Tim Kelly - World Bank

11 Africa’s untamed enthousiasm about IT potential Despite vast progress south of the Sahara over the last 20 years, most schools in urban and rural areas are still poorly equipped and lack the material infrastructure for IT applications. Half of the schools have electricity; c20% of these have a running computer lab; c15% of schools are connected to internet - broadband is a rare novelty. Based on a Nokia concept, the new hype is to use mobile phones to improve learning. Teachers earn up to US$300 a month and cannot afford a computer at home. To make students computer-literate, computer labs on each primary and secondary school are a necessity - in tertiary education computers are available, some lecturers use digital projectors. Ministries nor educational institutes have neither the capacity nor human resources to support IT projects. Most are busy with more basic activities, making education accessible for all in adequate buildings.



GNI p/c World Bank 2008 High income > US$12,000 Upper-middle income < US$12,000

IT pilot projects come and go. Unknown amounts of money needed to improve schools are lost*. The impact of IT on the development of Africa’s primary and secondary education is - after 20 years experiences worldwide - predictable when policies are based on the believe that IT will make up for the shortcomings of teachers and the lack of learning materials. On no other continent however, expectations are as high that IT, and “ICTs” only, will improve education to lift Africa out of its abject poverty. By now donor countries have become sceptical. But Africa’s IT community still rallies on it, stimulated by IT specialists from near and far. See page 9: their aim is not simply integrating IT in education to achieve computer literacy and access to the digital library and web, but to transform education as happened nowhere else. The effect is counter productive: IT strategies are not focussing on what is achievable, like first creating conditions to bring computer labs to schools, e.g. automatisation of the administration. And ICT opportunities are missed: feasable ICT offering direct help to teachers, like School TV or the overhead projector, are considered poor choices - out of date - inadequate. *“Nobody seems to want to learn from the other” is an observation in: Survey of ICT and Education in Africa” 570 pages Oct 2007, ICT4E - - World Bank; Survey of e-learning in Africa 2008, Tim Unwin - Unesco

Lower-middle income < US$ 3,850 Low income < US975 down to $110

What can be learned? Computers are great research tools for students and teachers, pushing up the level of education in e.g. North European countries. For teaching, IT only adds value when: a. teachers master the computer and know well what to do to reach their teaching goals; b. the hardware is working properly and the educational software is top quality. After 20 years investing heavily, these conditions are rarely met in rich countries. In conclusion: it will take another generation for e-learning and digital teaching to mature to its potential. Computers damage teaching of the traditional school subjects until useful pedagogy and didactics are mastered. This is not well understood in high and low income countries alike and widely under-estimated. In high income countries computers in the classroom often remain unused or decrease quality of teaching: in middle and low income countries nothing is lost when the introduction for teachers is postponed. On the contrary.

e-readers can hold 2000+ books

Regarding OLPC for schools A 20 dollar version of the e-reader might have better chances - as the contribution of computers on teaching and learning results is marginal or negative, see rich countries.

Hawky’s Law gains force in middle and low income countries According to Hawky’s law, confirmed by accountants in the 90s, from all money which governments invest in computer technology 50% is wasted at the start, 30% during implementation and only 10 to 20% yields output. Lower income countries perform worst case scenarios. Collateral damage by undermining effective teaching traditions lures. Therefore: creating conditions to introduce IT first and start the evolution via computer labs seems the safest approach.


‘Edutainment’ Research on IT and learning standards The ‘interactive whiteboard’ or ‘smartboard’: a digital projector projects on a large touch screen connected to a computer. Possibilities are infinite. Total price €3000 to 5000 per classroom. Placed in classrooms IWBs remain often unused because of their complexity for teachers and the supporting digital infrastructure is not well developed nationwide and on schools. The newness of the technology is initially welcomed by pupils, but any boost in motivation seems to be short-lived.* When used, the effects on learning prove to be disappointing, although 85% of teachers think otherwise. More often than not the smartboard leads to entertainment and overkill of information, not to systematic teaching: its pedagogy has not matured yet. Neither is its complex and fragile technology. Nonetheless, the reports of IWB producers which dominate the internet whether you

hunt for research in Korea, Hongkong or Mexico give - understandably - the complete opposite picture. Close monitoring reveals, that for most teachers the interactive pencil provides hardly any benefit above using the digital projector only (without the interactive whiteboard).

the first and only seen on the Balkans, is placed way too high

Countries considering to put money at risk by following the IWB hype, are warned: to use the interactive whiteboard a teacher needs to be a good presenter to begin with. Secondly, as with all IT, a sound pedagogical understanding is needed on how to use it to reach the curriculum goals. Any school is blessed to have a handfull of these teachers - even on teacher training colleges this new type of professionals is rare. Most purchases happen centrally, so regularly huge investments are (partly) lost, which middle and low income countries cannot afford. See also next page.

* ‘On interactive whiteboards (again!)’, Scott Thornbury/British Council, 2007. Based on experiences and reports: “The delivery capability of IWBs while impressive, is of only marginal utility” - “The introduction of (this) technology ... does not necessarily lead to a more interactive pedagogy”. This has to be developed first. ‘Doubts over hi-tech whiteboards’, BBC News 2007/1/30. Summary of a study commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills, mentioning “...relative mundaine activities being over-valued” - “IWBs can even slow the pace of the whole class learning” - “Physical interactivity with the IWBs was seldom harnessed to produce significant shifts in understanding” - “Tech-savvy children feel frustrated when they see their teacher struggle with simple taskes”- See also notes snapshot 4: USA The quick fix.

Regularly nationwide studies confirm marginal role IT on learning standards described by Prof. Buckingham as ‘more entertainment than education’ (snapshot 2: UK) For instance, in 2004 two American reports on effectiveness of billions invested in internet access in deprived schools concluded similarly: access to the worldwide web did not enhance the achievent of teachers’ goals. The e-programme ‘Fast For Words’ gives already within 10 to 15 hours spectacular results, reported two neuroscientists in the authoratative Science Magazine. Used by hundreds of thousands of pupils to increase their reading skills, two American economists completed a vast statistical survey and came to a completely different conclusion: no positive effects on learning outcomes. The same became evident in that year in Israel after the introduction of thousands of new computers: the money would have been better invested in smaller classes or extra teachers. Many teachers ignore the IT provided. “If teachers do not use the computers in their classroom, parents should be happy: non-use increases learning results” concludes Oosterbeek (Cito) in the Netherlands. Computers bring to much distraction. He researched a specific computer project on ‘black schools’ and found a negative effect on exam results. The outcomes of these studies is challenged by IT believers and promoters, calling this research poorly conducted and shallow.


interactive whiteboard

Photo Interactive boards are outdated much faster than these computers. They are just replaced by newer ones in this computer lab of a gymnasium in Serbia.

Who gets in the Trojan horse?


Pop. 10 mln GNI p/c US$11,600

€200,000,000 for interactive whiteboards Digital education has become the priority in Hungary and also in Slovakia this is the trend. Traditional time proven teaching aids are suddenly outdated, and will continue to be so for a while. In the UK it took until 2004 before extra budgets of c£60 mln were made available to bring non digital tools back again in schools and resource centres. Lázló: Lázló Z., former school director and now “Excellent director of Meló-Diác, the largest teaching aid teaching tools supplier in Central Europe, is cynical on IWBs: remain


“Entertainment without learning, a financially costly affair and no way back”

Teachers don’t feel comfortable with it and regularly don’t use it. Lots of software bought and prepared by the government are not downloaded. This looks like a financial drama. From a didactical point of view the picture is not much better: ineffective use and too much entertainment without learning. In China, Lázló says, a new law forbids teachers to use the interactive whiteboard for longer than 10 minutes per lesson - in the entire country!

The more countries I visit and the more situations I get to understand, the picture emerges that IT, computer-based teaching, is driven by senior politicians and a consensus in society believing that computers will help, but this does not follow a demand from teachers nor schools. By now awareness of the complications has deminished the enthousiasm although regularly IT still means status. What becomes apparent is: ministers get chiefly advised by IT consultants, not curriculum specialists or subject didacticians, and they inform one another at international meetings in inspirational settings where leading educational computer suppliers demonstrate the latest technologies. Critical remarks about complications, failures to implement and poor results are not heard. An example is the conference in Tunis for African ministers in December 2008. Here the interactive whiteboard was demonstrated for days without reference to the disaster in Mexico nor to independant reports revealing negative results of IWBs. Consequently a mindset is created which especially affects decision makers of middle and low income countries, because here the desire to develop and modernise education is most urgent. Implementing computer-based teaching in schools in a weak socio-economic setting – a proven failure, or at best, controversial in results – becomes the norm. Yet, today it makes more sense to go for the time proven overhead projector and our innovative Visual Curriculum Kits of undisputed quality. They fill a void in what in education is needed to modernise, especially as support for teachers. See next pages.

Typically Countries reaching a GNI p/c of €10,000 are tempted to take huge World Bank loans or sacrifice stretched EU budgets on IWBs. But research on use and learning results indicate that it is wise to ‘leapfrog‘ (skip) this generation of IWBs with its immature pedagogy and technology. The advise is: let the experimenting (to get from abuse, poor use and entertainment to effective teaching) and further technical development for high income countries. Strengthening traditional teaching with modern didactics and appliances costs only a fraction and is a safe investment. This improves quality of education and lets teachers develop a sound pedagogy to use computer technology and IWBs as soon as they are matured, ready to support teaching.

GNI p/c Gross National Income per capita as indicator IT in education is expensive Who can afford to take risks by investing heavily in computer-based teaching?

High income countries av. $38,000 (in TOP 10: GNI per capita av. $50,000) Norway $56,000 Netherlands $46,000 Germany $43,000 Singapore $48,000 Slovenia: pop. 2 mln $21,000 (first to translate kits)

Middle income countries av. $2800 Reference: Latin America GNI p/c av.$5500 Croatia 4.4 mln $10,500 Romania 22 mln $6150 Bosnia

3.9 mln


Ukraine 47 mln $2550


7.4 mln


Russia 143 mln

Albania 3.2 mln


Belarus 10 mln $4400

Macedon. 2 mln


Slovak. 5.4 mln $9619



Poland 38 mln

8 mln

Hungary 10 mln $11,600


av GNI p/c


$9800 $11,000

Low income countries av. $578 Visual Teach offers a highly effective plan: achievable, effective and at low cost

Most sub-Saharan countries GNI p/c c$300 Ethiopia 70 mln $170 Tanzania 40 mln $350



False expectations on IT (computer assisted teaching)

The intermediate step

Emerging ICT in African classrooms

In June 2008 I was on my third East African tour visiting high schools with electricity and able to use ICT to improve teaching. I also visited an IT (“ICT”) conference in the Novotel Kigali with highly motivated educators from 15 African countries. See on the right for an impression of a similar event in Dakar. The contrast with reality was striking and alarmed me: can this high tech approach really work in chalk and talk schools like on the picture above? This I had taken for granted as computers continue to create miracles around us as they have for 20 years. The deeper cause to have a second look at IT for improving teaching in Africa stems from the ‘Nationwide Visualisation Project’. My firm developed this low tech innovation: the introduction in African classrooms of the time proven overhead projector - the most used ICT in education ever together with complete Visual Curriculums as developed over the last 15 years. With an alternative in mind (and there is no other) this allowed me to step back and take a critical look at widespread expectations, hopes and misconceptions about IT. My conclusion is a step in between: IT belongs in computer labs to make students computer literate. IT can be applied in classrooms in a later stage when teachers and computer technology are ready to improve teaching. We need an intermediate step.

IT better not yet in classroom

IT: Information Technology ICT: Information and Communication Technology

1 lem Prob

Drs Jan Krol director Visual Teach large screen presentations

Structural problems occur in modernisation of teaching with three misperceptions of ICT - a worldwide phenomenon:

• ICT reduced to IT (digital: computers, digital projectors, interactive whiteboards, e-learning, laptops, mobile phones etc) • IT is able to improve teaching even if introduced to teachers in a 'chalk and talk’ situation • analogue ICT’s (overhead projectors, school radio and TV, video) are omitted from the policy of the ICT Department.


blocks the modernisation of education in Africa 2 lem Prob

Threats of IT subject teaching in the classroom: side effects visible in rich countries

• on top of what regularly goes wrong with PCs it increases the general costs to run a school (researced for African schools at 63%: electricity, cartridges, paper, backup maintenance, internet connectivity) • ongoing losses of investments - 40 to 80% is proven - due to immanent system failures (network breakdown, crashed hard disks, internet failures, theft) continuous updates of software and hardware - not to mention the teachers who fail to apply these. • loss of skills like counting, proper writing and basic general knowledge • ignoring the need of social learning (relevant group processes) • Emphasis on computer based teaching tends to lead to quality loss in teachers’ capacities and their authority. This tends to undermine the quality of the educational system in the future.

3 lem Prob

Today quality decline in education in rich countries like in the UK and the Netherlands is badly felt. The last generation of teachers highly trained in their subject on semi or academic level in the 70s and 80s are retiring and leave the schools. This is a great loss for education. A new generation of teachers takes over, ‘able to teach any subject’. 85% of them feel happy in what they are doing, is reported in the Netherlands (Sociaal Cultureel Planbureau SCP, Aug. 2009). These teachers are unaware of any problem, although some complain about their lack of knowledge. Exceptions are Korea and Hong Kong - both high in Pisa ratings: here work discipline and teachers’ professionalism lead to high results. Teachers’ professional knowledge is key for using computers as tool. In many middle and low income countries teachers keep up surprising high standards considering their situation. On the other hand, many teachers need really to improve their knowledge and teaching methods as much as they need teaching resources. Here computer learning is not a solution as we can see in rich countries: not only but especially on deprived schools it lowers the results even further.

Not yet separate: INTEGRATING IT in education and IMPROVING teaching

Naive and potentially damaging optimism of IT community and industry 4th International Africa Conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training, May 2009, Méridien Président Hotel Dakar: 3 days organised by ICWE GmbH, a specialised private firm in Berlin sponsored fistly by NComputing plus Intel, SMART, Nokia and 16 more IT firms. These annual conferences are attended by 1300 to 1500 visitors. Half of them are educationalists and decision makers flying in from all over Africa - the others are IT specialists from elsewhere.*

“Highlighting eLearning: Africa's innovative approach and setting the tone for future conferences” In red: some quotes, typical for this IT hype, from the official press release after three days of “sessions with world-class experts” “eLearning Africa Conference Shows How ICTs Empower Education for All in Africa” “A Brilliant Mix of People, Opinions and Solutions”

“About the use of the vast potential of ICT to empower future generations of African children”

“Birthplace of numerous fruitful collaborations”

The usual pep talk rules supreme on the 4th International Conference in Dakar and excites the educators and desicion makers from all over Africa. No lessons seem to be learned. However: 66% of participants agree with the statement*: 'Over the past decade the eLearning situation in Africa has hardly changed for the better' © ICWE


Not yet separate: INTEGRATING IT in education and IMPROVING teaching

“Three conference days Photo “INTEL launches Unrealistic ambitions result from unreal expectations of computer technology to filled with action, a technology-based improve teaching school subjects. In middle and low income countries costly IT excitement, passion, programme that will applications for teaching should be be avoided in favour of improvements needed significantly improve heated debate and even controversy” prior to bringing IT in the classroom as effort to increase learning results. teaching in Kenia”.

* 32 issues checked on the previous congress in Accra, May 2008, in ‘eLearning 2020’ by Mike Trucano - InfoDev World Bank & Han Fraeters GDLN According to OLPC: 21% believe the ‘One Laptop Per Child’ project will be rolled out all over Africa within a decade; 71% do not think so.


Achievable IT today Bridging the digital divide systematically

A computer lab as below can be realised for c$20,000 A country with 300 schools can achieve this nationwide for $6 mn

Healthy IT policy to make students computer literate

DO’s • set up of IT school administrations • computer labs (computer skills, digital library, e-learning) • broadband internet nationwide and supporting education website Today one computer can serve 4 learning-stations School organisation has to be made ready and this can be expected from the schoolmanagement: this can be “PUSH”


in classrooms:

• computers and digital projectors • interactive white boards • e-learning Do not push IT onto the teachers: • no compulsary training nor laptops (proven failure) • postpone olpc and pilot projects on e-learning IT only works with teachers who were raised with computers. So: that is for the generation you now will train in how to use a computer.

IT for teachers: only “PULL” Specialist IT-departments best concentrate on the immense task to make the country and the schools ready for computer labs, as the basis of computer litercy and for e-teaching in the future. Prepare a solid basis for when the time is ready. Important is the set up of portals, well structured with quality teaching and learning resources. Purchases and ploads of teachers should be highly selective, managed by a team of curriculum specialists that fits new resourses in a logical teaching structure: the ideal lesson. These portals have to be harmonised with government websites into a simple management and information system as achieved by f.i. Austria. Developing a flexible model to be implemented in any country, could be a task for UNESCO. A tested model can provide a solid base to many countries and save a lot of money in the future.

Computer literacy for students In computer labs pupils are able to gather information from the web - have their own e-mail address and storage space on the server. Here they learn the office skills needed today. They can follow e-learning programmes advised by the teacher or animations and audio programmes. They might do exercises and repetitions on educational sites also from abroad, especially when broadband is available. A teacher confident with computers, can take his/her class to the computer lab after reservation. A teacher doing so regularly, might be ready for IT in the classroom.

For World Bank monitoring: InfoDev, Information for Development Program ( For more about what can go wrong with IT see also: “Knowledge Maps: ICT’s in education: What Do We Know About the Effective Uses of Information and Communication Technologies in Developing Countries”, more specifically chapters: “Impact of ICTs (read ‘IT’) on learning and achievement” and “School-level Issues”.


Achievable ICT today Modernise teaching with large screen presentations to instantly help teachers visualisation

a perfect combination screen AND blackboard


specify - expand add information make notes

interactivity question discover ready to use transparencies

What will bring the Nationwide Visualisation Project in traditional classrooms? ALL in ONE


proper visual clues

for each topic in the curriculum at all levels: encourage class discussion facilitate social learning

Visual Curriculums for 5 key subjects Geography • History • Biology • Physics • Chemistry at your fingertips: world’s top illustrations

- activate interest with clear visual clues - make students think backward and forward - save a lot of preparation and teaching time

better understanding visual reminders for better results - a solid basis for further study -

In this Visual Teach Project 5 Visual Curriculum Kits plus 2500 clean sheets and markers to also make own visuals plus 15 large screens (160/160 cm) and 15 strong 400 Watt projectors are the basis for implementing visualisation as nationwide teaching strategy - including trainings and institutionalising at all educational levels. Strong points: • easy implementation - no extra schooling needed • an one-off investment - a lasting improvement

ICT ble a v ie ach


ICT Information and Communication Technology

The intermediate step (model)

to modernise education today and to support teachers

Government Pedagogical supplies

IT (computer based) safe in computer labs for computer literacy, office skills, e-learning and as digital library


IT gy, olo n h ec ICT nT tio based a r rm nfo ute IT I comp

audio visual visual education


audiotape cd/mp3

Chalk & talk

school radio

film large screen video presentations dvd overhead projector school TV

software for projector

- in the classroom ICT appropriate to support teaching

IT, sensible to apply now when a school is (made) ready for it: - automatisation administration & internet - computer lab / digital library

the new Visual Curriculum Kits

- solving the schoolbook problem e-reader version, to develop for pupils: no distraction but learning

Achievable ICT for teachers

IT policy suggestions for middle and low income countries for high schools - emerging from the big picture* • First advise: prioritise the automatisation of school administrations and internet access. Ensure that websites of the ministry of education, the curriculum development centre and other key educational institutes are functionally designed and run properly - follow the WC3 guidelines. Clear warnings come from snapshot 3, Norway and 9, Peru. Internet has to support any step forward. • Set up computer labs on all primary and secondary schools, and integrate these as digital libraries in the learning experience. Teachers who like to, can take their class here for ‘e-lessons’. The few teachers who proof to be able to teach with computers can be provided with digital projectors. Do not expect other miracles from IT in your schools for the time being. Bringing computers into the classroom in this stage causes more problems than they solve - see snapshots 2 to 11. • Provide pupils with e-readers to compensate the lack of learning materials. 2000+ books fit in this simple, non distractive format. Prof. Negroponte is the right person to develop the low cost version. Features: A4 writeable touchscreen / multiple windows / uploads via USB or via bluetooth by the teacher. (An alternative for the ”One Laptop Per Child”: didactics are not far enough developed yet to base education on computer technology. This will take another generation - a lesson drawn from the rich countries) • To improve the work of teachers use low cost ICT solutions like School TV and the overhead projector with ready-to-use transparencies. By the time technology and didactics of computer assisted teaching are matured, your teachers are better prepared and already used to visualisation. (You don’t want to buy technology in development now, but purchase later what performs and lasts) • Be happy to miss the digital wave which in rich countries floods many teachers in their classes. So far the impact of IT on classroom teaching is questionable or even damaging on learning results. Even the assumption that Finland, the land of Nokia, has the best educational system in the world because of clever use of IT proofs to be a myth (snapshot 3): it is because of their good teachers. Invest first of all in your teachers, not in their digital abilities but in their status and professional qualities. * ‘Information Technology in Education in high - middle and low income countries. 11 snapshots reveal broken promises of computer technology when introduced too fast’, Jan krol Visual Teach, Sept. 2009

New by Visual Teach: The Nationwide Visualisation Project Visual Curriculum Kits for 5 key-subjects plus 15 large screens and 15 strong 400 Watt projectors per school are the basis for implementing visualisation as nationwide teaching strategy, including trainings and institutionalising at all educational levels.

For reactions or more: Visual Teach large screen presentations Gorterplaats 16 Nijmegen Netherlands - Tel +31243553-777 fax -180 e Drs Jan Krol direct: e m +31(0)653166714

Information Technology in Education  

A reality check on Information Technology in Educationin high - middle (and low) income countries 11 snapshots reveal broken promises of co...

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