Saturday, April 9th, 2011 | education, ICT in Africa
Orchid flowers have an enchanting beauty and allure, with incredible colours, shapes and scents. Many gardeners are disappointed that these plants won’t bloom in their gardens. The reason is quite simple: orchids don’t grow in soil like other plants. They need a special environment but when you provide the right conditions, you can make your orchid grow, thrive and bloom.
You must realize that not all orchids are the same. Each requires a specific climate in which they naturally flourish; so the right temperature and humidity levels are important. Then you must consider the environment; the amount of light and airflow must be just right, as well as the surface on which it likes to grow. And lastly, but most importantly, these plants need constant and loving nurturing; they must be watered and fertilized in the right way.
Making ICT flourish in your school is similar to cultivating orchids.
Schools need the right climate for ICT to grow. This climate is created by the education authorities. Sadly, a climate conducive to the use of technology in schools does not always exist. Sufficient budget, technical support and teacher training opportunities are lacking. The good news is that orchids from the Amazon rain forests can grow in the Karoo. How? By creating an isolated, in-door area with the right climatic conditions. Schools can make a success of ICT in spite of a lack of departmental support. With the help of donors, parents and other partners a climate which encourages the use of technology can be created.
ICT needs the right environment in which to grow. This environment is created when the principal sets the lead and trained and motivated teachers support the use of technology in the school. The importance of a safe and secure infrastructure should also not be overlooked. Creating and maintaining an environment conducive to the use of technology is not easy – but it is possible.
Nurturing is required for the ongoing success of ICT in a school. It is one thing to create the right climate (particularly an artificial one) and the right environment for technology in a school, but it is quite a different thing to sustain it. Much nurturing is required. Technology ages and must be refreshed. Principals and teachers tire and must be encouraged. New technologies must constantly be evaluated with a view to using them for teaching and learning support.
Who is creating the right climate in your school? Who takes responsibility for the right environment? Who does the nurturing?
It reminds me of a line in a nursery rhyme: Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?