Deep Impact: an investigation of the use of information and communication technologies for teacher education in the global south

The scale of the demand and need for primary school teachers if the Millenium Development Goal of Universal Basic Education (UBE) is to be achieved far outstrips existing provision. The countries of sub-Saharan Africa face particular challenges: over 40 million children of primary school age are without school experience and the numbers are growing. The Digital Education Enhancement Project (DEEP) is an applied research project exploring the ways in which information and communications technology (ICT) can improve access to, and the quality of, teacher education in the global south.* It is focused upon three key research questions: What is the impact of ICT use on the pedagogic knowledge and practice of teachers and the communities in which they live and work? What is the impact of ICT-enhanced teaching on student achievement and motivation? How can teacher education and training be developed to ensure that teachers have the capacity to exploit the potentialfor ICT?

Key policy implications raised by the study: Policy planning for the development of national systems of teacher education should explicitly recognise the increasingly important role of ICT and its potential for increasing access and improving quality. ICT policy and practice must be closely matched to local contexts and needs, with a particular focus on classroom relevance and learner achievement. The potential of new, mobile technologies needs further investigation in a wider range of contexts and purposes. Further evidence is urgently required as to the way in which new forms of technologies, particularly mobile technologies, can impact on the logistics/costs of ICT provision for teacher education.

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