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By Janice Dean
As technology becomes more pervasive in education, universities and schools are transitioning their focus towards teacher training and addressing how teachers can best integrate technology into learning and lessons. Unarguably, Pedagogy goes before technology use – horse before the cart. From the various cases we have seen, there is, on one side, the minimally-invasive education, techno-centered, and constructivist approach that has seemed to work well in some contexts and fail in others. On the other side, there is the more objectivist, institutionalized, teacher-directed approach which may seem to deliver desired results in some circumstances but seem too rigid in other cases.
Below is a matrix that charts the range of projects featured in this wiki and where they fit on the scale of constructivist vs objectivist approaches as well as individual and collective learning.
There is no approach that always works best, or no one-size- fits-all – but certain approaches work well for specific contexts and specific lessons with specific media.
One-laptop-per-child may not have worked so well due to the fact that Westerners were imposing a Constructivist, tech-centered approach in an area with more traditional objectivist practices in education. The area also had lack of teacher training and support so that teachers were not guided on their role. One could argue that if teachers were trained in integrating the technology with a knowledge of pedagogical uses, the teachers would be better able to integrate both objectivist and constructivist learning approaches at the appropriate time.
The Israel/Palestinian videos unfortunately do not have evaluation built-in and "Sim Sim Hamara" was stopped after only one season. So it is difficult to measure success. While these two approaches come from opposing sides there are common elements about them that can help see why they would be successful: 1) They both develop their programs from the local culture and participating people- Sim Sim Hamara worked with local educators and government officials to form the programs, and StreetGriot uses the students' differing backgrounds in the formations of the projects. 2) They both have clear educational goals 3) They did not assume that the students themselves had the technology: StreetGriot brought the technology on their mobile media lab, and Sim Sim Hamara was available on a variety of platforms: television, radio, and an interactive website. 4) They allow some individual flexibility with the technology, StreetGriot allows students to experiment in creating the videos, and Sim Sim Hamara lets student interact with the website, and watch the program as desired. Unfortunately for a program like Sim Sim Hamara, there can be no guidance or help from a teacher. But the hope with Sesame Street programs is that the parent will also watch with the child and be a guide.
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