Who failed?

Friday, April 29th, 2011 | Computer Usage, Maintenance

Imagine you’re a builder and are contracted to build a house.  The client approves the building plans and agrees to a budget and a completion date.  You start the building project and in the process you encounter numerous unanticipated problems.  The types of building materials you planned to use change, the client’s requirements change a few times, and you encounter serious problems on the site owing to land formation.

In spite of all the problems, you manage to deliver the house to the client on time, within the budget and exactly according to specification.  You even provide the client with a manual giving detailed maintenance instructions.

However, after you hand over the house, the client is not interested to live in the house, can’t maintain it and eventually the house falls into disrepair .  Neighbours are disgusted and conclude that the addition of the house to the neighbourhood was a failure.

Who is responsible for the neglect of the house?

Who failed?  The builder … or the client?

Can you perhaps see a parallel: when implementing technology successfully in a school (or group of schools) and after a year or two you find the facilities are not used, even dysfunctional, who failed?  The implementer … or the recipient?

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8 Comments to Who failed?

Sharon Hershaw
Friday, 29 April, 2011

It is always such a shame when this happens. The waste – time, effort, emotional energy expended in the project, never mind the waste of opportunities that are now no longer available to the youngsters for whom the laboratory was intended.

Friday, 29 April, 2011

Unfortunately, even an award-winning builder cannot ensure good stewardship by the client… a very sad indictment.

If only the client could see that house through the eyes of the builder… the care that was taken in positioning each window to let in the sunshine, and the door facing the neighbours… and the interior in the clients’ favourite colour scheme…

Mark C
Sunday, 1 May, 2011

There is a difference between a house and a home. While the house may be delivered according to specification, people make it a home by adding their own little bits of stuff. Lots of small things are done to make the space functional and livable. Otherwise it is just a dead space. The same goes for having a computer facility. Even in cyberspace you have to make things functional, attractive and “livable”. I would guess that the people that occupy the space must do it….but it would help if others assist them to create a comfortable space.

Sunday, 1 May, 2011

I cannot say it better than Mark !! Well done Mark C.

Mark as no 1 blogger.

Albie no 2

Ingrid Graham
Wednesday, 4 May, 2011

One could extend this analogy to the Khanya Project- delivered on time to specification according to the instructions of the authority. Who will make sure that the “institution” fulfills its long term purpose????

Adrian Marnewick
Sunday, 8 May, 2011

I think that with some people (schools/teachers) you can try until you’re blue in the face – they will just not budge from their routine. Perhaps in the days gone by teachers were always seen to be the most knowledgable – the source of all higher learning – and so never themselves thought that they needed to ‘move with the times’. I don’t know. It’s strange to me that there are many Khanya labs that just don’t get used, while others are used very effectively. At the end of the day, I believe the key to success of ANYTHING at a school lies with that schools management.

Forgive me for blowing my own horn here, but in my years at EvaluNet, I’ve probably visited more schools across the 9 provinces than most principals, teachers or department officials will ever visit in their life time. The pattern that emerges is clearly the stronger the leadership, the better the staff perform, the better the learners peform, and the more effective the school is in its ultimate goal – education.

An interesting approach to have tried from the beginning may have been to provide a small computer centre (10 computers?) for the exclusive use of the teachers at each school. Then provide the teachers with tools that focus on helping them with their daily tasks, administration and teaching. Once the teachers realise that this little computer centre is a tool to help them and they begin using it effectively – perhaps then move onto a larger centre for the use of the learners. And maybe by the time the learners get ‘their’ computer lab, the teachers would be so enthused and have a real ‘buy in’ to the concept.

Or maybe this is just too idealistic?

At the end of the day, just as with anything in life, you’ll NEVER get EVERYONE to share your point of view, no matter how right or good your point of view may be.

We (Khanya, software developers, hardware suppliers etc.) all see the immense value and impact ICT can have at a school. Maybe some of the teachers at some of the schools didn’t. Maybe some of the teachers at some of the schools are genuinely just too busy and preoccupied to care about ICT. Or maybe we must just face the reality that the management of some of our schools is really just poor.

At the end of the day, Rome wasn’t built in a day. I applaud the FANTASTIC work that Khanya has done in promoting ICT and implementing computer centres at all of our Western Cape schools.

You might not have touched the lives of all our teachers (because some are just too blind to see the value), but you’ve certainly changed the lives of thousands of teachers and hundreds of thousands of learners …

[...] past weekend I came across a very interesting analogy by Kobus van Wyk of e4Africa. In it, Kobus compares technology implementation at a school with building a house. This is what he [...]

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Monday, 9 May, 2011

My great appreciation for the great efforts you are doing here…Thanks for sharing great post..

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