learning landscapes in southern africa


Building a virtual community of practice to enable ICT take-up in schools in the Grahamstown District

Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams and Ingrid Brandt, Rhodes University
Breeze Presentation View attachment
Slideshow with narration (16 min)

Higher education institutions are largely built on the assumption that learning is an individual process that is best encouraged by explicit teaching that is, on the whole, separated from social engagement with those outside the university community. This perspective has been theoretically challenged by those who argue for a social constructivist learning theory and thus a more collaborative approach to learning.

The advent of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) provides an exciting opportunity for extending the boundaries of a learning experience, not merely beyond the lone individual, but beyond the limits of lecture halls and even the specific university community, through engagement across distance and social spaces. ICTs can provide opportunities for developing collaborative learning between higher education institutions and the local community.

In this presentation we will share our experiences of the development of collaborative learning in a naturally unfolding virtual and physical community of practice to enable ICT take-up in schools in the Grahamstown District. Hopefully this discussion of the developing e-Yethu Project will provide an example of how ICTs, underpinned by the insights of social constructivism are serving to broaden the vision of a particular HEI with respect to teaching and learning practice and community engagement. While there is much still to be achieved, we hope to show that the establishment of the e-Yethu Project has provided a sufficiently stable community of practice to take our vision forward.