10 principles to consider when introducing ICTs into remote, low-income educational environments
This excellent article for the World Bank covers some great principles for ed-tech in low-income schools.
All the principles are great, but here are two favorites:
“4. It’s the content, not the container
All too often, educational technology initiatives focus largely on the technology itself. It is possible to become so enamoured with the technology (and so distracted by device-related questions: should we buy tablets or laptops?) that insufficient attention is given to how to use whatever devices are eventually deployed to their full effect. As we move to a greater proliferation of devices, combined with the fact that we will be accessing more content from multiple places, a greater value will be placed on the content, and how that content is used, rather than on any one particular device. Viewed from this perspective, the future of education is in the content, not the ‘container’. It’s about more than just content, of course — it’s also about the connections and the communities (students collaborating with each other, teachers supporting other teachers) that technologies can help enable, catalyze and support as well.
8. Put sustainability first
Often times, the first goal of an educational technology project is to show that it ‘works’. Only once this is demonstrated does attention turn to issues of sustainability. Sustainability should be a first order concern — especially in remote, low resource communities. If you design something to work for two years, and it does indeed work for two years, what have you really accomplished at that point? The incentives, tools and mechanisms for sustainability should be considered up front, and introduced and tested from day one. Donations of equipment can be vital in helping to initiate an educational technology project — they can rarely be counted on to sustain one. If something can break — it will. If a dependence is created on outside expertise — inevitably this outside expertise will disappear at some point. Plan for equipment to break, plan for outside expertise to withdraw, plan for novelty to wear off — what will happen then?”