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 International Journal of Education and Development using ICT > Vol. 1, No. 2 (2005) open journal systems 


The Shongololo Interconnectivity Pilot Project: A work in progress

Joy Rosario, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education and Culture
Lunga Molapo, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education and Culture


Abstract
The Shongololo project of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education and Culture in South Africa aims to endorse the notion that a school can quite effectively cross the digital divide with a single online computer that is accessible to both learners and educators and which is managed by an enthusiastic and committed information specialist/teacher-librarian or IT person. ELITS (Education Libraries and Information Technology Services: a Directorate in the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education and Culture) believes that a bank of networked computers is not necessarily a pre-requisite for online interaction, indeed this model brings with it attendant complications and expenses that can be prohibitive. The project was designed to run on a similar basis to the Global Teenager project with short relevant topics being set for e-mail discussion for set time periods. The initial plan called for the involvement of sixty schools: 20 developing/disadvantaged schools in deep rural KwaZulu-Natal, 20 technologically developed schools in the same province and 20 schools in and around Manchester in the United Kingdom. The main challenges experienced in the project relate to ongoing lack of capacity, insufficient technical support, problems with use of equipment in developing schools, differences between developed and developing schools and the collapse of the partnership with the UK-based NGO. The degree of success has ranged from a school that is operating on the most basic e-mail correspondence to schools which have had learners visit one another on a face-to-face basis. Many schools are communicating successfully despite problems such as stolen hard drives, unpaid phone accounts and the uninitiated interfering with settings.


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International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology. ISSN: 1814-0556