Saide was pleased to have the opportunity to present twice on the first day of the 8th Annual Mobiles for Education Alliance Symposium: Using Technology to Scale Support for Teachers and Community Educators in Low-Resource Environments earlier in November. The primary focus of this year’s Symposium was “the central role of the teacher and community educator, and how technology can provide greater support for their professional development, motivation, networking, and delivery of instruction in traditional and non-traditional educational settings”. Dr Tony Lelliott presented at a Special Session on the first morning, and Dorcas Wephukulu spoke during a Gallery Walk in the afternoon.
The special session in the Great Hall at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington DC, was entitled Teacher Professional Development@Scale, presented by the TPD@Scale Coalition for the Global South. Saide has been commissioned to conduct a landscape review and research agenda on the current state of “TPD@Scale”, which is examining projects involving teacher professional development mediated by technology, and implemented at scale in the Global South. The aim of the study is to provide a picture of the various projects being carried out in developing countries, with a view to eliciting key principles which can be used by governments, funders, implementers and researchers to further develop future projects. The rationale for the review is the urgent need to train and professionally develop teachers, as there is a severe shortage of teachers across the Global South, which is predicted to deteriorate in subsequent decades. In his presentation, Tony drew attention to the substantial collection of research findings on TPD from the past few decades, as well as the lessons learned so far from ICT-mediated TPD at scale. Such lessons include:
- the need to focus on pedagogy rather than technology,
- to plan for scale from the inception of the project, and
- to form communities of practice to encourage teachers to implement what they have learnt and share it with others.
The second part of the plenary session involved obtaining feedback from the audience of approximately 170 delegates. Tony did this using interactive presentation software (mentimeter.com) which allowed delegates to answer questions that he posed. The feedback received was extensive, and he will make use of it in the landscape review. The final review and research agenda will be published as an openly licensed document in 2019, and will be available on the Saide website.
During the small group ‘Gallery Walk’ in the Great Hall , Dorcus Wepukhulu presented on Technology-Supported Multilingual Literacy: The African Storybook in Kenya and Ethiopia. She discussed the collaborative strategy Saide has adopted to implement the African Storybook (ASb) initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa in response to the shortage of multilingual literacy resources. She focused on Kenya and Ethiopia drawing on her experience as the Kenya-based ASb Partner Development Coordinator and from partner reports.
Both presentations were well received, and attending such symposia enables Saide to keep abreast of the issues and debates around technology-enhanced learning around the world.