Third Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (VI). Seugnet Blignaut: ICT development in South Africa, a comparison between Finland and South Africa using SITES 2006 project data

Notes from the IPID ICT4D PG symposium 2008, Mekrijärvi Research Station, Joensuu University, Finland. 8 and 9 September, 2008.

Keynote speech
Seugnet Blignaut: ICT development in South Africa, a comparison between Finland and South Africa using SITES 2006 project data

Sometimes education (specially syllabuses designed in the “North” for the “South”) do not takes into account everyday skills, skills and literacy used during daily tasks: reading, writing, numeracy skills, social skills, information literacy, communication, Internet browsing, etc.

So we have to design — as South Africa is doing right now — an e-Education Policy that aims at the achievement of such ICT or digital skills for everyday life. And a priority of this policy is equity: poverty and equal opportunities is a must.

SITES

SITES, fostered by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), studies measure the evident of impact of ICTs in education, based on a comparative international quantitative studies.

  • How ICT affects learning and tgeaching in schools
  • Is there any indication taht education policies make any impact on pedagogy

Main problems found in Module 1:

  • Computers not connected to the Interent
  • Lack of peripherals (e.g. printers)
  • Licensed copies of software
  • Teachers’ inadequate ICT knowledge and skills

Module 2 was more based on a constructivist approach, which means the design of surveys and activities followed this pedagogical model too.

Findings
  • Major concern in preparing students to use the Internet “responsibly”
  • Out of five, most countries score around 3.3 in ICT vision, connectedness,…
  • Almost 100% of kids in the sampled schools had access to both a computer and the Internet
  • But the student/computer ration varies within a wide range depending on country and even inside each country
  • A majority of teachers believe they need more computers and, actually, more technology in general, as e.g. smartboards

There is content, there is technology… but it does not reach the non-initiated (non-geek) teacher. So more effort should be put not in creating more content or installing more infrastructures, but on making the existing ones more findable, known, accessible, etc.

ICTs in Education is still an add on at two levels. First, it has to be integrated in curricula. Second, it has to be integrated in the teachers’ mindset by, among other things, providing them with digital literacy too.

Third Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (2008)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2008) “Third Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (VI). Seugnet Blignaut: ICT development in South Africa, a comparison between Finland and South Africa using SITES 2006 project data” In ICTlogy, #60, September 2008. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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