learning landscapes in southern africa

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The role of ICTs in addressing teaching and learning challenges in higher education

Shaheeda Jaffer, Dick Ng'ambi and Laura Czerniewicz, Centre for Educational Technology, University of Cape Town
 
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Many choices for using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in education are based on technological possibilities rather than educationally needs. In developing countries where higher education is fraught with several challenges, there is increasing pressure to ensure that technological possibilities are viewed in the context of educational needs. This paper argues that in South Africa, a central role of educational technology is to provide additional strategies which can be used to address the serious academic challenges faced by educators and students in higher education. Higher education is faced with numerous challenges: general, educational and specifically to do with teaching and learning. The latter challenges include lack of academic preparedness, multilingual needs in first language settings, large classes and inadequate curriculum design. Using case studies from one higher educational institution, this paper shows how specific and carefully considered interventions using ICTs can be used to address these teaching and learning concerns. This paper demonstrates by means of examples of curriculum projects at one higher education institution how educational needs shape educational technology enhanced curriculum interventions. The paper concludes that educational technology interventions should be based on educational needs as opposed to technological concerns.