Pedagogical Use of ICT in Africa: Teaching and Reflecting Strategies (IRCD, 2009)

Published nearly 40 years after the inception of the Internet, this multi-authored, bilingual book aims, through the observations made and the conclusions drawn from them, to identify ways of ensuring that ICT (computers, multimedia, audiovisual, telecommunications, etc.) is no longer perceived as a subject to be taught but rather as a tool with unique potential for transforming African education systems and the quality of curricula and teaching practices.

The ubiquity of ICT, in this century of rapid change, has an impact on perceptions of learning and teaching, and hence ICT training for teachers should focus on developing pupils’ skills. The book also points out that, paradoxically, whereas social and cultural life in Africa is increasingly marked by ICT, this is much less true of schools.

In addition to providing a classification of these technologies according to their uses within education systems, the study distinguishes between the majority of schools observed, where ICT remains a mandatory “object of learning”, and those where the use of ICT helps to improve learning of scholastic subjects.

Another chapter covers the key prerequisites for any appropriate use of ICT in teaching and learning activities, particularly the minimum requirements in terms of infrastructure, equipment and basic skills to be acquired by teachers. It was found, moreover, that where there is real take-up of ICT by teachers, the latter will be better placed to meet the specific needs of the context in which they work and to develop their pupils’ skills in an appropriate manner.

As part of their investigations, the authors also reviewed the challenges that Africa must meet for efficient integration and use of ICT in education. These constraints – be they political, economic, technological, human or cultural – can be overcome, opening the way for promising strategies that will offer African citizens the opportunity to enter fully into the 21st century.

In conclusion, the study notes the complexity of the process and emphasizes the crucial role of teachers in any successful integration of ICT in education. In order to innovate and improve teaching and learning practices, teachers must shift from a technology-centered approach to creative take-up of both the technology and its pedagogical uses, with support from the entire institution.

ICT integration is a necessity, both now and in the future, for teachers and learners and for Africa as a whole. The IDRC study can serve as a guidebook to this topic, an additional resource that highlights the conditions favoring such integration in order to contribute to improving the quality of education and to development.

For further details, the book is available here.