Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Implementing Large-Scale Instructional Technology in Kenya: Changing Instructional Practice and Developing Accountability in a National Education System

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Implementing Large-Scale Instructional Technology in Kenya: Changing Instructional Practice and Developing Accountability in a National Education System

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Increasing numbers of large-scale, government-supported educational reforms have introduced information and communication technology (ICT) to address educational problems, including the need for higher quality classroom teaching and materials. For example, Peru, Uruguay, and Portugal implemented one-laptop-per-child programs, and more recently Turkey, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), and Kenya are turning to one-tablet-per child or digital textbook programs, with the Kenya program providing 1.2 million devices.1 A recent review (Tamim, Borokhovski, Pickup, & Bernard, 2015) found 11 national tablet initiatives under way, suggesting wide interest in large-scale educational tablet and laptop programs. Pouezevara and colleagues (2013) characterized the drivers of these one-to-one device large-scale distribution programs along four key motivations: political, social, economic, and educational transformation. Yet evidence is scarce as to whether the introduction of one-to-one technology can achieve these broad objectives.

The Kenyan government's statements about its Digital Literacy Program reveal economic and pedagogical aspirations (ICT Authority, 2016). By introducing tablets loaded with curricular materials and instructional content, the government hopes to "radically change teaching and learning in schools" while triggering economic growth and improved infrastructure. The Digital Literacy Program includes local assembly of the devices (ICT Authority, 2016).

The Kenyan Ministry of Education (MoE) introduced the National Tablets Program on behalf of coaches who support teachers implementing a new literacy initiative. The use of tablets for instructional support began with a pilot in 2013; by 2017 it had become a critical part of the interventions under the MoE's Tusome Early Grade Reading Activity.2 The National Tablets Program integrates ICT to support the goal of improving literacy in grades 1-3. In Tusome, teachers receive training on how to use textbooks and teachers' guides designed to improve literacy outcomes. Teachers are supported in public school classrooms by the government's Curriculum Support Officers (CSOs), and in low-cost private schools by Tusome-hired instructional coaches.3 These CSOs and coaches (called coaches going forward) often were promoted from the teaching or head teaching force prior to their coaching career. Each coach receives a tablet loaded with software for recording teacher observation findings and for providing feedback to teachers. The tablets are equipped with model teaching videos and a software application to support letter sound knowledge, as a way to help teachers improve their instruction (Piper, Zuilkowski, Kwayumba, & Strigel, 2016). The purpose of the software installed on the tablet is to assist the coaches to more effectively offer instructional support to teachers during their visits. Data from the coaches' use of the tablets is provided to county- and national-level leaders for accountability purposes. The context of our study is the national-level Tusome program, implemented through coaches, to improve teachers' skills in implementing Tusome's new instructional program.

The national survey data available from Tusome allow for an analysis of whether and how the tablet intervention is changing classroom practice and introducing increased accountability. This effort is, to our knowledge, the first program focused on improving instructional support on a national scale in a developing country through the use of ICT. Thus, evidence of its added value is important to compare to the recent spate of negative results from large-scale laptop and tablet programs, as discussed in the literature review below.

The objectives of the study were as follows. First, given the aforementioned mixed ICT results to date, for purposes of comparison, we examined the literature on the impact of ICT interventions on learning outcomes and on teacher practice, in education and in similar social science fields. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.