Editorial: ICT for capacity building and knowledge communities
The University of the West Indies, Barbados, West Indies
Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
Welcome to the third issue of the International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology (IJEDICT) - an e-journal that provides free and open access to all of its content.
IJEDICT emphasises collaboration across disciplines, across professions, across institutions, across sectors, and across continents in an attempt to freely share and promote best practice and best research. The journal is itself an example of the usefulness of such an approach, being the result of collaboration between two institutions, one in the Caribbean and the other in Cape Town, South Africa. Several articles in this third issue of IJEDICT continue the strong African linkage of the journal.
"Capacity building using an online training course" by Magagula reports on the findings of an evaluation of an online course for policy-makers in Southern Africa. The objectives of the study were to determine: appropriateness and effectiveness of the management process leading to the development and implementation of the online course; the use of the platform and CD for online discussions; quality of the online course materials; the user-friendliness of the online system; the worthiness of the different types of support systems; the learners' views of the online course.
In their article "ICT provision to disadvantaged urban communities: A study in South Africa and Nigeria", Herselman and Jacobs describe research to develop a sustainable ICT model in a Nigerian community, by evaluating ICT provision in South Africa's disadvantaged communities and comparing it with the Nigerian situation. Four ICT centres were involved in the case study. The authors argue that bridging the digital divide in disadvantaged communities requires adequate knowledge of the underlying causes of the divide, a favourable Government policy, a focus on the benefits of providing ICT, the provision of suitable infrastructure, and a committed management that is prepared to get round the various barriers or risks found in disadvantaged communities. In the second article by the same authors - "An ICT-Hub model for rural communities" - Jacobs and Herselman discuss how the ICT-Hub model or mechanism for integrated service delivery to rural communities can enable communities to manage their own development, by providing access to appropriate information, facilities, resources, training and services.
In the article "Wiring sub-Saharan Africa for development", Tokunbo Ojo discusses the uses of ICT, the dimensions of access and the digital divide, and the development of telecentres in the Sub-Saharan African region. The article shows how technical access to ICT is often seen as the only prerequisite to economic and social development, whereas social access to literacy, content, housing and health are not given much consideration in the development agenda. The author discusses experiences at one of the telecentres, the Nakaseke Multipurpose Telecentre in Uganda, by drawing on data from the evaluative report of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)-sponsored telecentres in Africa.
Sander, Bell & Rice, in "MIS Sustainability in Sub-Saharan Africa: Three Case Studies from The Gambia", discuss how failure to correctly employ ICT systems has resulted in the wastage of scarce development funds and the diverting of scarce local skilled personnel away from other, productive tasks. They propose a phased implementation project model that includes, in addition to the provision of hardware and software solutions, ICT awareness building and training of user personnel as well as ongoing monitoring of the system's impact.
Moving from Africa to Asia, "Peer assessment and Computer Literacy for Junior High School Students in Geography Lessons in Hong Kong", by Wong and Ng, discusses an interdisciplinary approach to teaching geography to junior high school students. Computer literacy lessons were given to 166 grade eight students for a geography assignment. The students submitted their work onto a central server at school using secure file transfer software. Then the students assessed one another's work using an online survey tool. The results revealed that in general, the students were satisfied with the use of online assignment submission and networked peer assessment.
"Development of a multi-scaled virtual field trip for the teaching and learning of geospatial science", by Arrowsmith, Counihan and McGreevy, discusses the development of a virtual field trip to facilitate action learning and action research to enhance the field experience obtained by undergraduate geospatial science students when preparing for fieldwork. Preliminary evaluation indicates that students are able to obtain a general overview of the area into which they will be working and obtain background information in an interactive three-dimensional model that will enable them to maximise their experience when away on fieldwork.
Continuing the online learning theme, "Elemental analysis of the online learning experience" by Kevin Carmody and Zane Berge compares four contemporary methods of online teaching and learning: 1) student-centered, 2) subject-centered, 3) teacher-centered, and 4) teaching-centered. Their paper argues that the most effective methods are those that engage six dimensions of human existence: physical, social, emotional, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual. However there is no golden rule or single instructional model that will guarantee effective teaching or learning in every situation. The objective of this paper is to present and define four contemporary teaching models, their expressed or applied engagement of the dimensions listed above in the online environment and provide foundational concepts which may serve as starting points in the evaluation of one's own methods, philosophy, and practice.
IJEDICT provides open access to all of its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Such access is associated with increased readership and increased citation of an author's work. For more information on this approach, see the Public Knowledge Project, which has designed this system to improve the scholarly and public quality of research, and which freely distributes the journal system as well as other software to support the open access publishing of scholarly resources.
IJEDICT seeks to support the community of researchers and practitioners involved in ICT for education and development, and we welcome feedback and suggestions as to how the journal can better serve this community.
Stewart Marshall and Wal Taylor
Chief Editors, IJEDICT
Copyright for articles published in this journal is retained by the authors, with first publication rights granted to the journal. By virtue of their appearance in this open access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings.
Original article at: http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu//viewarticle.php?id=117&layout=html