Integrating Educational Technology in East Africa: One Size Does Not Fit All

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14515/monitoring.2021.1.1895

Keywords:

educational technology, low connectivity, Africa, online learning, internet access

Abstract

Globalization and the post-industrial economy, combined with a growing number of the youth, has increased the demand for higher education in Africa. Online learning breaks down temporal and geographic barriers creating a digital learning community that offers an opportunity to expand access and meet skills and training demands. Deployment of technology is a principal consideration in implementing an online learning programme, given its centrality in the teaching and learning process. The integration of technology requires a decision-making matrix that provides a phased review of the suitability of solution as well as locally placed contemplation of relevance and user accessibility. Higher education institutions in low connectivity areas need to be deliberative and innovative in selecting which technology best fits their environment and accommodates their students’ limitations. This paper discusses the decision-making process of integrating technology for an online learning pilot project analysed through Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) theory applied to educational technological adoption. The approach of the project considered local infrastructure, university ICT capacity, and user Internet accessibility in the selection of online learning solutions. The process provides insights and understanding of the decision matrix, not only on online learning solutions but also in the broader issue of integrating technology into brick and mortar institutions.

Acknowledgements. The paper is based on online learning program implementation in East Africa as part of the university partnership between the U.S. and East African universities funded by the U.S. government.

Author Biographies

Azeb Tadesse, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

  • University of California, Los Angeles, USA
    • PhD Candidate, Department of Education

Allen Walter, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

  • University of California, Los Angeles, USA
    • PhD, Distinguished Professor, Department of Sociology, Department of African American Studies
    • Allan Murray Cartter Chair in Higher Education

Claudia Mitchell-Kernan, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

  • University of California, Los Angeles, USA
    • PhD, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology

Published

2021-03-04

Issue

Section

SOCIOLOGY OF LABOR, ORGANIZATIONS AND PROFESSIONS