Beyond chalk and talk

The state of 
highschool teaching today
in middle and low income countries

chalk elephant
In middle income countries

Fact finding missions proof:  in 2010 most teachers work in classrooms
with no more tools as in the 19th century, the blackboard only!

Highschool in Macedonia

Teacher Training Centre in British Guyana

Result of chalk and talk: reproduction of knowledge.
No tools to develop thinking skills

In middle income countries most teachers are knowledgeable in their subject and (highly) skilled in traditional teaching. The pedagogical situation in classrooms, with mutual respect and the attitude to learn, seems better than in many rich countries.
Yet, teachers are not trained in visualisation and its possibilities for interactivity to train thinking skills. They need to be empowered. Computers (IT) are not the solution*.

Mind you  The blackboard is the most powerful innovation in education so far  

That is the conclusion drawn by educators measuring the impact on learning achievements (on traditional school subjects) of educational reforms of the last five decades including computer learning*. Independent research shows time and again that so far IT, computer technology, hardly adds to higher standards because its pedagogy is not matured yet. That is why, for the time being, the introduction of computers should concentrate on modernisation of school administrations and realising computer literacy via computer labs*.
A giant task in itself, necessary in preparation for future digital teaching.    

“We have GOOD teachers” claim all pupils asked in 14 countries
in the Caribbean and Balkan, see photos: "Thumbs up!"

Conclusion: do not disrupt qualities accomplished on your 'chalk and talk' schools. Introduce achievable ICTs in classrooms able to modernise education and to enhance teachers to prepare themselves for digital teaching in the future when this will be affordable. 

In low income countries

 In Africa better buildings, school uniforms and education for (almost) 
all have been achieved. Half of the schools have electricity.

Next step: modernisation of teaching

How?  Here starts the ICT - IT debate 
ICT = Information and Communication Technology 
IT = Information Technology, is computer based ICT

For middle and low income countries are hundreds of millions of donor dollars 
at stake and quality of education at risk for years to come.

* IT in education in high, middle and low income countries. 11 snapshots reveal broken promises when computer are introduced too fast. Jan Krol, 2009/10 (see: Reality Check 20 years IT) In conclusion: Until the didactics and technology of IT have matured and the infrastructure and teachers are ready for IT in the classroom, it is better to introduce IT in stages.  For more see "ICT and IT harmonised". 

IT - ICT confusion hinders modernisation
Three misconceptions of ICT
•  ICT is reduced to IT only (digital: computers, digital projectors,
interactive whiteboards, e-learning, laptops, mobile phones etc)

•  IT is able to improve teaching even if introduced to teachers in a 'chalk and talk' situation

•  analogue ICT's (overhead projectors, school radio and TV, video) are not considered within the policy of the ICT Department on many Ministries of Education.

Ignoring downsides of computer-subject teaching in the classroom, 
well visible in rich countries, leads to unrealistic expectations
•   Computer technology still malfunctions regularly
    and it increases the general costs to run a school.
    The budget for education in the UK, the leading
    'IT in education' country in Europe, has
    doubled in the last ten years (without
    noticeable increase of learning standards) 
    Increase of costs researched for African schools
    are at 63%: electricity, cartridges, paper, backup
    maintenance, internet connectivity.

•   loss of skills like counting, proper writing
    and basic general knowledge - especially on
    schools in a weaker socio-economic settings

•   ignoring the need of social learning
    (relevant group processes)

•  ongoing losses of investments - 40 to 80%
    is proven - due to immanent system failures
    (network breakdown, crashed hard disks,
    internet failures, theft) continuous updates
    of software and hardware - not to mention 
    the teachers who fail to apply these.

•   Emphasis on computer based teaching tends
     to lead to quality loss in teachers' capacities
     and their authority. This tends to undermine the
     quality of the educational system in the future.

It is easy to be caught by the IT-fever and to consider e-learning the panacea on the short term for the development of education. E-learning sounds thrilling, but can be a costly ambition - practically as well as money-wise. Digital teaching and learning take massive investments as we can see in the UK, USA, Honkong, Singapore etc. To avoid huge amounts of money put at risk, a long term planning is needed to solve the critical barriers first.  In the first stages, low-cost ICT teaching aids proven to work - like school radio and TV or the overhead projector - offer opportunities to modernise teaching. They endorse capacity building and the development of the infrastructure required - at low costs and without risk. That is why an harmonised IT/ICT policy is needed to bridge the digital divide systematically.

For more
see: ICT-IT harmonised 
see: Nationwide Visualisation Project  
see: 20 yrs IT in reality 

Teachers need in their classrooms robust and reliable tools.
The Visualisation Project introduces simple to use teaching aids.
Put on - take off.  Ultrasound 
 (Just ask: What tries this visual to explain?)

One of the 450 large screen presentations of Physics

From 'chalk and talk' (repetitive learning) to visualisation,
interactivity and training of thinking-skills for 5 key subjects:

For more see:
Nationwide Visualisation Project 
see also: ICT-IT harmonised 
and: 20 yrs IT in reality