Strategic Issues in ICT for Education

This is a summary of a blog entry at http://ibiztech.wordpress.com. The idea is a cursory look at some of the issues that face ICT development in educational sector in developing countries. Check the above address for details.

1. Web 2.0 may be disruptive …. but therein lies its potential. It is mass democratization in a traditionally power-imbalanced culture. I believe the collective IQ of students (although I prefer ‘learners’) amplified by passion for what they learn and brought together via Web 2.0 exceeds that of any single lecturer/professor/guru.

2. In the developing world - evolutionary strategies won’t get us there - we need revolutionary strategies that let us leapfrog years upon years of institutionalized mediocrity and obsolescence. Yes ... Revolutionary strategies will have lots of casualties (in terms of obsolete skills, out-of-touch and clueless people and old technology) - harsh maybe but sometimes the only way to new life is destruction (like the phoenix)

3. Effective strategies must focus on solutions to business problems, NOT infrastructure & technology.

When a strategy focuses on solutions and not technology, it becomes easier to make a business case for it (and more importantly you can get the buy-in of the usually technologically clueless CEO ). As an example, both the CEO and CIO may easily agree on the following :

‘We need to deploy a Virtual Learning Environment and online testing to improve quality of teaching and reduce over-burdened teaching corps. Such a a project will cost us $2 million.’

However, both the CEO Chancellor and CIO and especially the CFO/Bursar are not likely to agree on the following

‘We need to implement a broadband fibre optic network to connect all buildings of the university to the Internet.This will cost us $1m’

The fact is that a the first project may well involve the second! but the second is a ‘those guru’s thing’ as far as the business side is concerned while the first could well be ‘ … something that makes my job easier/makes me look good’

4.0 De-couple the new ICT Unit from the Core Organization: The IT department/unit/directorate represents a force that wants to change the status quo - something other parts of the organization/institution may not be very enthusiastic about. . This decoupling should largely free the unit of the stifling bureaucracy and enable it quickly learn from its mistakes and correct its course.

Finally, I couldn’t agree more with Tom Peters that the IT departments should increase their failure rate - yes …. the faster you try and fail at different things, the more likely you will stumble on the one that works. After all, strategy is useless unless it is executed to yield business results that are SMART (specific, measurable, attained/achieved, repeatable, and timely)

Full text at http://ibiztech.wordpress.com

Re: Strategic Issues in ICT for Education

[quote=Mukom mac TAMON]
4.0 De-couple the new ICT Unit from the Core Organization: The IT department/unit/directorate represents a force that wants to change the status quo - something other parts of the organization/institution may not be very enthusiastic about. . This decoupling should largely free the unit of the stifling bureaucracy and enable it quickly learn from its mistakes and correct its course.

Finally, I couldn’t agree more with Tom Peters that the IT departments should increase their failure rate - yes …. the faster you try and fail at different things, the more likely you will stumble on the one that works. After all, strategy is useless unless it is executed to yield business results that are SMART (specific, measurable, attained/achieved, repeatable, and timely)

[/quote]

This is interesting because we expect our IT units to be efficient and operate outside the realm of the usual "civil servant" work ethic and schedule but do not sufficiently incentivize the staff in many cases or provide a structure that that encourages the differentiation we require.

It is not only the business results that need to be SMART.... the goal needs to be SMART too. Let us deal with the specific for a start so this is focussed.

What form is this uber IT unit going to take? Who will staff it? what are the constraints and how do we surmount them? What will be it's responsibilities?

Re: Strategic Issues in ICT for Education

[quote] It is not only the business results that need to be SMART.... the goal needs to be SMART too. Let us deal with the specific for a start so this is focussed.[/quote]

Too true ... I can hardly imagine SMART results coming from a project with DUMB (Duplicitous/Dump Uninspired Mediocre & Bureacratic Wink ) goals. Good reminder there that we shouldn't take them for granted.

[quote]What form is this uber IT unit going to take? Who will staff it? what are the constraints and how do we surmount them? What will be it's responsibilities? [/quote]

Well --- I love the Google philosophy of business and work ethic. But here are some thoughts:
Form & Staffing: Small teams of brilliant but humble people of differing personalities. The leader here must be 'first amongst equals'. Team members should be very creative, highly competent people driven by passion and a desire to make a difference with what they do. Balanced combination of specialists and generalists and people who understand and belief in continuous learning and improvement. More importantly, these guys must be rounded geeks - yes the IT guru with business and managerial competence.

Constraints: - Huge bureaucracy, inability for people to bond as a team, leaders whose sole authority lies in their position (good luck to u if you think my kind of geek will respect you just because of your title) rather than their innate worth (moral authority). Bad renumeration and compensation (u can pay ppl with more than money - if u thing creatively, time is worth its duration in money) etc etc ...... (maybe I'll write a full blog about this?)

Responsibilities - Simple, solve current business problems, anticipate and pre-empt future problems and then come up with the technological frameworks for those solutions to be sustainable.

________________________________________________________________
'There is a PEACE that can only be found on the other side of WAR ..
If you avoid that war, then you avoid real peace' - King Arthur in 'The Last Knight'

Re: Strategic Issues in ICT for Education

Tamon raises some interesting points which warrant further discussion. I see this post as an opportunity for forum members to discuss an area which has not been discussed MUCH here: How do the ICT Forum members develop effective strategies for leveraging technology to address educational problems? Most of the discussion has focused on building and maintaining ICT infrastructure, which is important, of course. However, it's time to talk about a revolution that supports usage. The revolution is needed to increase bandwidth utilization, improve services, and facilitate teaching and learning. I hope others feel that this disscussion is worth expanding upon.

First, do we view Web 2.0 as disruptive? Collaborative learning is quite different from lecturing. Individuals in this ICT forum have been exposed to several forums which emphasize active, lifelong learning. I don't think anyone needs to sell Web 2.0 importance here. What may be needed is to sell the new learning paradigm to individuals within each member institution. When lecturers learn about the quality improvements to teaching and learning which come about through engaging in learning communities, automating administrative tasks, and researching collaboratively, many may find the technology less disruptive. How and when do we systematically educate members within each institution about the benefits of Web 2.0?

History has taught us that even when institutions acquire new technologies, the real challenge comes with diffusion of innovations. How do you encourage students, staff, and administrators to use ICT to achieve educational goals? Revolution requires leadership with a clear vision about what the institution wants the technology to do. Before Walter Rodney wrote How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, few challenged the dominant development paradigm. More importantly all revolutions result from mass education. Rodney didn't only write. He taught and led by example. Towards that end, we need to develop strategies first to provide basic ICT training within each university community, to expose the university community to current trends in ICT for education, and to build an ICT culture, by example, within each institution.

If by decoupling the ICT unit from the university bureaucracy you mean giving them access to budgets, the authority to spend appropriately, and freeing them from bureaucratic restraints to project implemenation, then I couldn't agree with you more. Google attracks the brightest and the best because their business model rewards individualism, creativity,and passion. Members are rewarded financially. More importantly, they receive respect for their individual contributions to the team. Respecting ICT professionals and compensating them accordingly will require a major paradigm shift in most higher education institutions. The problem is not unique to developing countries; academicians and administrators can be equally snobbish elsewhere. Therein lies another challenge: How do you get ICT professional, university administrators, and academic staff to work together in teams to accomplish a single goal? A lot of excellent ideas are put on the chopping block because they were proposed by an ICT professional who did not have an administrator to champion the idea.

Applying For Online School/education For Your Future

Most of us invest the vast majority of their time doing the things in life that they must do, like studying in lieu of activities they wish to do like take a trip. As a result, many people want the ability to participate in online school/education for themselves and for their children. They will take majority of these courses to gain specialized skill-sets that could benefit their future.

There are numerous online institutions and education courses readily available on the internet. The good thing is that even if these kinds of courses are available using the net, the quality of the degrees online assures proper knowledge and education for all.

You'll find online school/education generally offer you courses on pretty much any field you are considering studying. Moreover, you will most likely see that they offer courses that may touch upon psychology and additional fields intended to prepare you for a career. However aside from a majority of these courses, they may also offer you education courses that can give you the credentials additional certifications to be a teacher.

These types of courses will be presented in a variety of forms, several have a tutorial format for those students who need guidance studying. In response to online technology, online students might get instructors from all around the world. The teachers offshore will most likely expand student’s points of views by sharing knowledge with regards to varied issues. Instructors may have knowledge regarding different issues that conventional school professors lack, as a result of his or her physical location.

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At the beginning of your study in a digital photography school, you would still be taught the basics using an analog or manual camera. The reason being, most of the functions in a digital camera are simply enhancements of the old analog model. The fundamentals of photography are better understood with a manual camera. By learning how to do things manually, you can achieve the same thing with ease using a digital camera.

Familiarizing yourself with your camera would allow you to achieve to create black and white photographs, negative images, tricks you can do with your exposure and shutter speed, and different exposures. You would be taught how to use different flashes to create the best photo expects. You will also get familiarized with the importance of lenses. By learning the differences between each lens and what scenario to use each, you would be able to produce stunning pictures.

Part of learning digital photography is learning how to make enhancements in your pictures with the use of your computer. As part of your curriculum, you would be taught how to do digital workflow and file management. You would also dive into basic digital image editing. Knowing how to make enhancements to your photographs is one of the essences of digital photography. The ability to put one or more photographs together as if it was taken as one is part of the whole learning process.

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Re: Strategic Issues in ICT for Education

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