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					Facilitating Expansive school Transformation Using ICT in the SADC Region: A Botswana
                                      Pilot Project


Pau T. T. Nleya (P hD
P/Bag P/Bag 0022
Gaborone
BOTSWANA
nleyapt@mopipi.ub.bw
Abstract
Many developing countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region are
following industrialized countries in efforts to restructure their educational practices through utilizing the
potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). The SADC Teacher Capacity Building
Project through the use of ICT was initially launched under the auspices of the World Information
Technology Forum (WITFOR) held in Botswana during 2005. The project placed emphasis on both
World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and Stellenbosch declarations which WITFOR sought
to pursue. The WITFOR pilot project unlike most ICT) projects in the African context has adopted a
socio-technical approach which is a more people-centred approach, compared to techno-centric models
that are biased towards the provision of hardware and software technology aspects. The purpose of the
pilot project based in Botswana is to develop and test methodologies for supporting teachers in the SADC
region in enhancing their competencies using ICT and collectively mastering the transformation of
instructional and learning practices which these contemporary technologies will bring about. The paper
elaborates how Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT), Developmental Work Research (DWR),
Change Laboratory (CL) and other associated conceptual frameworks are being used to bring about the
desired transformation in schools and communities using ICT.

Introduction

The expansive school transformation in SADC project is a continuation of the Botswana pilot
project that was launched under the auspices WITFOR 2005 held in Botswana. The project’s
emphasis is on aspects of developmental studies, challenges in methodological experiments, and
data analyses relating to collective school transformation efforts and ICT–related activities in
developing countries. The current application concerns research and development that is based
on the pilot study including ten (10) pilot schools in Botswana. This project has gained
sufficient support to propose further scaling up of the envisaged CL–based research activity, not
only in all the ten schools in Botswana, but to expand to other countries in the SADC region
with parallel activities of building self-sustaining research units lined up with the projected
future. The ten schools situated in different areas of Botswana have been selected as pilots of
CL-method in finding pedagogically and locally meaningful ways of ICT implementation. The
project has organized CL-workshops for teachers and local school officials in selected Botswana
schools. Representatives of the University of Botswana, Botswana Ministry of Education and
Skills Development and other associated ministries, Finnish and SADC researchers constitute the
collaborators of the project. The project collaborators are as shown in the figure 1:
Figure 1: Pilot Project Collaborators


  International SADC collaboration



     University of                    Ministry of MoLD, MoST
     Botsw ana                        Education

     Department
     of Educational
     technology


                                       Policy             ATIG
    Developer Research
    education collaboration
                                                 Policy

     University of
     Helsinki                                             Teacher
                                      Ten pilots chools   training
                                      & informal          and
     Centre for       Res earch and   education
     Res earch on                                         media
                      development,                        centres
     Activity,        4 CL
     Development
     and Learnning    interventions      in their
                                       communities




Project Collaborators’ List

        Helsinki University of Technology (HUT) – Life Long Learning Institute Dipoli
        Helsinki University (HU) – Center for Activity Theory and Developmental Work Research
        University of Cape Town (Republic of South Africa)
        University of Mauritius – Virtual Centre for Innovative Learning Technologies (VICILT)
        University of Botswana (UB) Department of Educational Technology (DET)
        Ministry of Education (MoE) – houses the ten (10) pilot schools and Teacher Training and
         Development (TT&D) serves as coordinator.
        Ministry of Communication Science and Technology (MCST) – houses MAITLAMO Policy
        Botswana College of Distance Open Learning (BOCODOL) – houses SADC-CDE
        Activity Theory Interest Group (ATIG)

The project also places emphasis on both World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and
Stellenbosch declarations which WITFOR sought to pursue. WSIS which took place in Tunis
during November 2005 was conceived as a Summit in two phases and later developed a strategy
for implementation at the level of these two phases. The process was guided by a comprehensive
implementation plan which encompasses the national, regional, international as well as well as
an inter-agency coordination component. Individual governments at the national level played the
leadership role. The Stellenbosch declarations on the other hand recommend that stakeholders
and decision-makers in ICT in Education focus on six (6) major areas that will shape beneficial
use of ICT in Education:

• Digital Solidarity;
• Learners and lifelong learning;
• Decision-making strategies;
• Networking;
• Research;
• Teachers.

For each of these areas, recommendations and proposals on a set of possible actions were
formulated as follows:

         ICT changes teaching & learning in a networked world
         Technology matters BUT good teaching matters more
         Teachers are key agents in educational systems and are instruments in the evolution of
          Education
         Teaching profession therefore needs to evolve strongly and quickly
          (http://www.terry-freedman.org.uk/artman/uploads/thestellenboschdeclaration.pdf)

    The human element in school reform, especially in ICT integration cannot be
    overemphasized. Scheingold (1990) has aptly put it when he wrote:

           … the challenge of integrating technology into schools and classrooms
           is much more human than it is technological ... it is not fundamentally
           about helping people to operate machines. Rather it is about helping
           people, primarily teachers, integrate these technologies into their
           teaching as tools of a profession that is being redefined through the
           incorporation process Scheingold, (1990) pp. 9-27).


This contention is worth remembering if teachers’ Continuing Professional
Development (CPD) in ICT is to be supported.

0bjectives Identified for the Project
The following have been identified for the project:


   i.        Training, application, adaptation and development of the Cultural Historical Activity
             Theory (CHAT) and other methodologies in the context of school and community
             transformation.


   ii.       Planning, developing and implementing training to support educational
             transformation among teachers in a pilot project of ten (10) secondary schools.


   iii.      Training of change agents for school and community transformation and new uses of
             Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)
   iv.     The establishment of a virtual community of practice network for enhancing the
           teachers in the pilot project and the SADC region.


   v.      Engagement in Developmental Work Research (DWR) on school and community
           transformation using Change Laboratory method.


   vi.     Diffusion of innovative learning and knowledge communities project to SADC
           region through collaborative projects


Conceptual Frameworks of the Project
The project has adopted a socio-technical approach which is a more people-centred approach,
compared to techno-centric models that are biased towards the provision of hardware and
software technologies. Aspects of Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT), Developmental
Work Research (DWR), Change Laboratory (CL) and other associated conceptual frameworks are
being used to bring about the desired transformation in schools and communities within the pilot
project through the use of ICT.

Research Methodology of Pilot Project
The most important method prescribed for the pilot project is the Change Laboratory (CL)
process that allows local communities to reflect on their present practices as well as engage in
deliberate design of ICT-transformed practices.
Figure 2: The Cycle of Expansive Learning – Change Laboratory Method




According to the CL method, the cycle of expansive learning associated with bringing
transformation can be outlined as follows:

1. Charting the situation
• Mirror for questioning the present practice
• Recognizing that something must be done
• Commitment to develop

2. Analyzing the situation
• Mirror for analysis, modeling contradictions in the activity system
• How did we work in the past?
• What are our present troubles and contradictions?

3. Creating a new activity model
• How are we going to work next year?


4. Concretizing and testing the new model
• What changes do we try next month?
5. Implementing the new activity model
• Putting first steps into practice
• Pushing the next steps

6. Consolidating and spreading the new practice
• Teaching others what we have learned
• Codifying the new rules etc.

Activity System of Project
The project collaborators intend to further organize in each SADC country (Botswana, Mauritius,
and RSA), two (2) one-week CL workshops during which participants analyze their respective
activity systems as well their history so as to plan appropriate changes that arise as a
consequence of starting to use ICTs. The activity system of the project is shown in figure 3:
Figure 3: Activity system of the Botswana Pilot Project



                             The activity system
                  ICT IMPLEMENTS
                  ICT SKILLS
                  CHANGE LAB
                  CHANGE OF MINDSET
                                            Instruments:
                                             tools and signs
                                                                            ICT INTERGRATION
                                                                            ACROSS THE
                                                                            CURRICILUM
                                                               Object
         TEACHER/
         STUDENT                                                   sense,
                         Subject                                                 Outcome       CITIZENS WITH
         MANAGEMENT                                                meaning
                                                                                               HIGH LEVELS
                                                                                               OF ICT
                                                                                               LITERACY




                     Rules                  Community             Division of labor
    A.    TIME TABLING (COMPUTER                                                     MINISTRIAL AND
          LABS)                       PROVIDERS OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL                   SCHOOL LEVEL
    B. TEACHING LOADS                 PTA                                            COORDINATION
                                                                                     (CDNE, DEPT SEC,
    C. OTHER COMPUTER                 POLICY MAKERS                                  SMT).
        REGULATIONS
                                      MOE DEPARTMENTS e.g. TT&D AND
    D. POLICIES                       DNFE




Towards a School and Community Transformation Model

The proposed model for school transformation used adheres to four historical types of schools as
exemplified in figure 4. The objective of the pilots is to discuss the vision of the participants
regarding which direction they want their school to develop in the long run. From the first CL
ideas, three ideas of experimenting were produced, firstly, student motivation and involved in a
new way of collecting and utilizing knowledge about individual students’ study history, situation
and special needs. Secondly, developing a form of collaborative teaching between teachers, and
thirdly, identifying a better way of implementing reforms in the school (that seemed often remain
unimplemented despite workshops being arranged). More work is to be done on these ideas so as
to adopt some operational model.

Figure 4: A School Transformation Strategy




The participants have agreed that the future direction has to focus on a community developer
school model given the prevalent problems caused by HIV/AIDS as well as other pressing
community related problems which necessitates some boundary crossing. Molefi School has
adopted a strategy where all stake holders work together to contribute in resolving these
prevalent challenges. The CL continues to experiment with the above mentioned three innovative
ideas so as to establish authentic models that could lead to some real transformation.

Outcomes of the Project
The present project will produce scientifically sound data, and thus knowledge, concerning
applicability of CL methodology for facilitating educational transformation in developing
countries linked with their starting to use ICTs. The proposed investigations will help to specify
challenges and constraints regarding ICT-related educational transformations, and, thereby, assist
in designing new interventions. Further, the project will produce information concerning current
practices of learning and instruction in schools in the SADC region. The results of the present
project will be published in a series of symposiums and conference presentations (e.g., AAA,
AERA, CSCL, EARLI, ICLS, IFIP) as well as scientific articles. We will produce one co-edited
book regarding how to support ICT-based educational transformations by change-laboratory
interventions in developing countries as well as a guidebook concerning change-laboratory
intervention. The results will be disseminated through national and regional conferences and
workshops in SADC area and WITFOR conference
Other Outcomes
There will be a wide range of other outcomes from both the pilot project and the SADC-wide
continuation component. Individual collaborators are working on individual proposals to be
integrated into the National Development Plan 10 (NDP 10). The following is a list of some of
the intended outcomes:



   1. Center for Activity Theory and Developmental Work Research within the University of
      Botswana responsible for carrying out Developmental Work Research based on Activity
      Theory on the educational activities of schools and teacher education in Botswana.


   2. Post graduate training of change agents for school and community transformation and
      new uses of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) at the University of
      Botswana.


   3. Adopted Developmental Work Research (DWR) and Change Laboratory methodologies
      as authentic “Action Research’ model for Botswana schools, institutions and
      communities.


   4. Virtual community of practice serving SADC-wide region in eLearning, school and
      community transformation using Activity Theory and Change Laboratory.


   5. Links with best practice centres of Activity Theory in the world (i. e. Center for Activity
      Theory and Developmental Work Research in the University of Helsinki, Centre for
      Activity Theory and Socio-cultural Research, University of Bath, UK and Center for
      Human Activity Theory, Kansai University, Osaka, Japan.


   6. DWR projects based at ‘Kitsong ICT Community centres to promote eLearning in line
      with MAITLAMO and Vision 2016 ideals.


   7. A network of school developers applying the Change Laboratory method in SADC region
      after the pilot.


Application and Utilization of Results
CL involves a structured method of intervention; consequently, the resulting data, rigorously
collected and properly analyzed, are the basis for advances in scientific knowledge. Such
knowledge is not only academically interesting, but will also assist other developing countries in
pursuing corresponding educational improvements through ICTs. Moreover, the present
investigation will contribute to the advancement of Botswana’s, Mauritius’ and South Africa’s
own multi-disciplinary research network concerning ICT-based educational transformation.
Beyond strengthening collaborators’ own research network, it will create an international
network of teachers and school administrators for supporting, creating and the building of a
global knowledge society. Furthermore, the collaboration will have a scientific understanding of
the process of their creation.


References

Engeström, Y, Engeström, R., & Suntio, A. (2002). Can a school community learn to master its
       own future? An activity theoretical study of expansive earning among middle school
       teachers. In G.Wells & G. Claxton (Eds.), Learning for life in the 21st Century.
       Sociocultural perspectives on the future of education. Pp.211-224. Cambridge, MA:
       Blackwell.

Engeström, Y., Virkkunen, J., Helle, M., Pihlaja, J., & Poikela, R. (1996). The Change
       Laboratory as a Tool for Transforming Work. Lifelong Learning in Europe, 2/1996, 10-
       17.

Scheingold, K., (1990) Restructuring for learning with technology. The Potential for Synergy. In
       K. Sheingold and M. Tacher (Eds), Restructuring for learning with technology, (pp. 9-
       27). New York: Bank Street College of Education: Center for Technology in Education.

Stellenbosch Declaration (2005) 8th IFIP World Congress on Computer Education (WCCE)
       http://www.terry-freedman.org.uk/artman/uploads/thestellenboschdeclaration.pdf
       retrieved on 15/04/2009

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