The Role of Ict in Enhancing Education in Developing Countries

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Journal of Education for International Development 4:2

December 2009

The Role of ICT in Enhancing Education in Developing Countries: Findings from an Evaluation of The Intel Teach Essentials Course in India, Turkey, and Chile Daniel Light Education Development Center This paper presents findings from case studies of the introduction of the Intel® Teach Essentials Course—a professional development program focused on integrating information and communication technologies (ICT) into project-based learning—into six schools in Chile, India, and Turkey. We describe four common dimensions of change in learning environments that emerged across the countries: changes in teachers’ knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes; changes in how students engage with content; changes in relationships among students, teachers, and parents; and changes in the use of ICT tools to promote students’ learning. Three of these dimensions relate to shifts in pedagogical paradigms that appear to be prerequisites to effectively using ICT to support students’ learning. Our findings indicate that these shifts must not just occur at the teacher level, but must take hold throughout the educational system and must accompany sustained investment in infrastructure, human resources, curricular frameworks, and assessment. Key Words: ICT, developing countries, education reform



Understanding how technology fits into the complex realities of classrooms has been a critical factor in creating real change in schools in the industrialized nations (Cuban, 1993; Honey, McMillan Culp, & Carrigg, 2000; Somekh et al., 2003), yet little is known about educational technology projects in the classrooms of the developing world. This paper examines the influence of an information and communication technologies (ICT)-focused professional development program—the Intel® Teach Essentials Course—on classroom learning environments in six schools in Chile, India, and Turkey. Over the years, program evaluations have found that teachers across a variety of countries value their experience in the Essentials Course and report using ICT and/or making changes in their teaching practice following the program (Light, McMillan Culp, Menon, & Shulman, 2006; Light, Menon, & Shulman, 2007). However, the evaluations have also suggested that the ways in which teachers in different countries follow up vary, depending largely on factors in their school contexts. The research presented in this paper sought to examine more deeply the nature of the changes that schools in different contexts have made to integrate ICT and student-centered practices and how these changes affect the classroom (Light, Polin, & Strother, 2009). In all three countries, we found that the educators we interviewed and observed felt they had been able to implement new ICT activities and teaching approaches with their students after the Course. We also identified a consistent set of programs and policies that, combined with the motivation and skills of educators, enabled these schools to innovate. We selected the six schools in the study (two from each country) which key local stakeholders—the training agencies, the ministries of education, and the Intel Education Managers—considered to be “good examples” of using the Essentials Course to create school-level change within their national Light 1

Journal of Education for International Development 4:2

December 2009

contexts. In pursuit of the ideals established by their ministries, the teachers and administrators in these schools are attempting to transform the instructional strategies and the educational tools they use. Although each country is unique and each school is at a different starting place, all are moving toward more student-centered, project-based, and ICT-rich classroom learning activities. Across the diversity of their situations, educators in each school connected the ideas and tools offered in the Essentials Course with their own needs....
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