Clear statement of purpose required for ICT implementation in schools

Friday, June 5th, 2015 | Computer Usage, technology | Comments Off

When an attempt is made to take technology into schools without clearly stating how the technology is to be used, one can hardly expect success.  “Doing so because it seems the right thing to do” is not enough reason to launch such an initiative.  It must first be determined what purpose the technology will serve in the school.

  • Is it to improve administration?
  • Is it to improve communication?
  • Is it be to make learners digitally literate?
  • Is it be to improve teaching?
  • Is it be to improve learning?
Why do we do this?

Why do we do this?

A lack of purpose is often the result of a lack of understanding on the part of those initiating and driving e-learning projects.  It is important to determine and agree, up front, what the desired outcomes of technology implementation in a classroom, school, or group of schools will be. This must then be clearly documented to serve as a constant reminder of the purpose of the undertaking.

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Project management essential for ICT initiatives in schools

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 | education, technology | Comments Off

This won't happen successfully in the absence of project management

This won’t happen successfully in the absence of project management

It is a mistake to think that information and communication technologies (ICTs) can simply be procured, dropped at a school … and that the school will then be magically transformed into a state-of-the-art educational center.

Technology implementation in schools is a multi-disciplinary activity, requiring the integration of tasks performed by diverse professionals:

  • artisans must create an environment in which technology can operate
  • technology experts must install the equipment
  • communication experts must create a networked and connected environment
  • subject experts must ensure that relevant content is available
  • trainers must train teachers in the usage of all aspects of the system.

To make sure that all project activities are delivered on time, in the correct sequence, within budget and meeting quality criteria, project management capacity is required.

A lack of such capacity has resulted in haphazard and failed projects in the past.  Let’s learn from our mistakes by making sure that adequate project management procedures are in place when contemplating ICT implementation in schools.

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Why should ICT implementation in a school not be attempted without project management?

Sunday, June 12th, 2011 | Implementation Issues | 2 Comments

Implementation of ICT in schools is labour intensive.  An aspect often over-looked is that of project management.  Here are a few thoughts to ponder when you consider bringing ICT into your school for the first time, or when you plan to expand your current technology facilities:

ICT implementation projects require extensive project management – these projects will not succeed by themselves.

Prepare an individualized project plan for every new ICT implementation in the school – each roll-out is unique.

If project management capacity to implement an ICT project is not available in a school, obtain it from outside.

ICT projects involve infrastructure, hardware, software and training – a project manager is required to pull them all together.

An ICT project plan sets out who must do what, in what sequence it should be done, and how much it will cost.

These thoughs were tweeted by @e4africa with the tag #ictschooltip.

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Keep your projects small

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 | Projects | 2 Comments

The process of bringing technology into a school, from the beginning up to the point where teachers use it for teaching and learners use it for learning, is huge!  The extent of this task is often under-estimated – a common mistake is for the whole process to be seen as a single, big project.  You should rather view it as a programme of smaller projects, where each project has a particular objective, a start date and an end date.

When a project is too big, the principal and staff may become negative when they contemplate all the work that must go into it.  You can stuff a project with so many features that it is crushed by its own weight.

The introduction of technology into a school typically involves:

  • preparing the environment
  • selecting, procuring and installing  hardware
  • choosing appropriate e-content
  • initial computer literacy training of teachers
  • making teachers comfortable in using technology as a teaching tool.

The secret lies in setting small goals for the school.  Take the last point mentioned above: Making teachers comfortable in using technology as a teaching tool.  Break this up into smaller projects.  For example, one project may be to help all Grade 3 teachers to use technology to support numeracy.  Draw up a brief project plan for the project, which should address the following:

Decide on the objectives of the exercise. Be specific.  How many teachers will participate?  Identify them by name and get their buy-in.

Identify the deliverables of the project. What must the teachers be able to do at the end of the project?  Must they be able to take a class into the computer room?  Must they be able to use an interactive electronic whiteboard in the classroom?

Identify the tools. Which hardware and software products will be required?  Are they available or must they be procured?

Identify the training needs of the teachers.  Do some of them need additional computer literacy training?  Would they need product training?

Set the time to start the project.

Set a target date to reach all the objectives.

Draw up a project plan, including a schedule of events.

Determine up front how you would measure project success.

Follow the principle of ‘divide and conquer’.  Don’t let your project become so big that it implodes on itself.  If you find that technology implementation at your school is not getting off the ground, stand back, tackle a smaller project, and make that work.  To succeed, think big, but implement in increments.

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