Towards a better understanding of how to implement technology projects at rural primary schools : a case study

Motala, Tasneem (2015-03)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In South Africa, an increased effort is being made to integrate the use of technology into the public education system, as technology has proved to be beneficial to both teachers and learners. Technologies introduced in schools are not always adopted equally by all educators. There are differences in both the rate at which the technology is adopted, as well as differences in the extent to which each teacher is willing to integrate the technology into the classroom. iSchoolAfrica has extensive experience in the successful roll out and implementation of technology at schools. The objective of the research was to study iSchoolAfrica’s implementation approach, with a focus on educator engagement, to enable the generation of a set of guidelines that can be used by service providers who implement similar projects in the future. A secondary objective was to understand the reasons for resistance towards technology. Primary data was obtained via interviews with iSchoolAfrica employees. In order to include the views of a set of end-users and possibly the primary stakeholders in such projects, this study offers input from teachers at a school where iSchoolAfrica implemented a technology program. The attributes of a school have a significant impact on the success or failure of a technology project. Implementers must have a deep understanding of the management of the school and the challenges that the school faces before they undertake any technology projects. Resistance from teachers towards a technology change initiative arises for a variety of intrinsic and extrinsic reasons. The main reason why teachers tend to be unwilling to adopt new technology is their lack of self-confidence in terms of their competency in using the technology. Teachers are also overwhelmed by their existing workload and may resist a technology change that they feel adds to their workload. There is also a high probability of resistance from teachers who integrate technology into lessons under duress, after exposure to inadequate training programs. Appropriate training is the primary measure used to counter potential resistance. This training should not only focus on device usage, but rather on pedagogical practices so that teachers understand how to integrate the technology into existing lessons. The role of a facilitator is also important. Although facilitators lead the training effort, they also assume a supportive role and guide the teachers through their adjustment to technology. Although resistance towards change is expected, an implementer can take proactive measures to minimise this resistance and thereby increase the probability of success of the project.

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