DEEP Impact: How ICT can improve teacher education
scale of the demand and need for primary school teachers far outstrips existing
In pursuing the Millenium Development
Goal of universal basic education, 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.
Education Enhancement Project (DEEP), part-funded by DFID, 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.
What is DEEP all about?
Open University research project in the Eastern Cape, South Africa and Egypt is
exploring what actually happens at classroom level when ICTs are
It's looking at the ways in which ICT can improve teaching and learning
through research on how ICTs change the way teachers teach and how pupils
respond to ICT-enhanced teaching.
In the Eastern Cape, poverty is severe in rural locations. The project
teachers work in schools representative of the region as a whole; half have no
telephone, one third no electricity and the majority have few if any resources
and certainly no ICT provision.
Most of the Eastern Cape teachers had never used an ICT before and many were
working in communities with no conception of what a computer might be. Most of
the teachers in the project are women and fall into the 35 - 45 age group.
DEEP highlights the potential of ICTs for transforming teacher development
and learning, as well as providing school-based professional support, in poor
areas with limited resources.
The project shows that the impact of using ICTs extends further than pupil
achievement and enhanced classroom practice. Confidently using ICTs also
benefits a teacher's professional identity and standing in the community. Other
- Project teachers quickly developed confidence in using computers for a
range of purposes
- ICT use extended teacher's professional knowledge by extending subject
knowledge and by enabling more efficient planning and preparation for
- Enabling new forms of teaching and learning: all teachers introduced ICT
into planned lessons with their classes
- Students showed improved learning and high levels of motivation in using
ICTs. The confidence and positive engagement of girls was particularly
striking. Improvements in literacy and science learning were reported by
teachers, school principals and parents for both boys and girls
- Teacher to teacher co-operation: Working together and sharing laptops can
result in effective peer support, create more enthusiasm and ensure high
levels of equipment usage
- DFID gave £50,000 to this project between 2001 and 2004.
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