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A Sri Lankan one-to-one computing initiative and its impact on formal learning in primary School
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
2012 (English)In: Herald Journal of Education and General Studies, ISSN 2350-2177, Vol. 1, no 1, 016-021 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

One-to-one computing has lately become a frequently used buzzword in the discussions on e-learning in primary education. The main idea in one-to-one computing is to provide every student with a personal computer. This has often been combined with Internet access and the idea to share content but not to share the computers This study has been focused on the Sri Lankan OLPC initiative and data has been gathered from three selected primary schools in the project. In the Sri Lankan OLPC model there is no focus on Internet connectivity and the emphasis is on content development in local languages. Schools chosen in this first one year pilot project are to be classified as to be “the poorest of the poor” and located in rural areas. The research question in this paper is, if and why the introduction of one-to-one computing has had an impact on the formal learning outcomes. All the visited schools have had technical as well as pedagogical problems during the first year, but findings show that there has been an impact on formal learning in subjects like Mathematics and English. We believe that the Sri Lankan emphasis on content development is part of the explanation but also that the strong commitment amongst teachers and parents has contributed. Our recommendation is that this pilot project should be extended but that the focus should be kept on poor schools in non urban areas. We also give some suggestions on how to improve the content development and how to extend the support.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 1, no 1, 016-021 p.
Keyword [en]
One-to-one computing, One Laptop Per Child, OLPC, E-learning, ICT4D, Technology enhanced learning, Sri Lanka
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-82205OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-82205DiVA: diva2:567182
Available from: 2012-11-12 Created: 2012-11-12 Last updated: 2014-11-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Education for All in Sri Lanka: ICT4D Hubs for Region-Wide Dissemination of Blended Learning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Education for All in Sri Lanka: ICT4D Hubs for Region-Wide Dissemination of Blended Learning
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

ICT4D, here defined as the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in developing regions, can be seen as one of the most powerful and cost efficient ways to improve the standard of living in the developing world. Many regions in Asia have shown a rapid but heterogeneous development where information technology had a drastic impact on development but often with the problems related to ICT4D 1.0: lack of sustainability and lack of scalability.

This study analysed the Sri Lankan infrastructure for region-wide dissemination of blended learning in the 21st century based on the exploration of some selected ICT4D hubs and educational initiatives. The overall aim of the research was to observe, describe and analyse how the selected ICT4D initiatives and the creation of ICT4D hubs in Sri Lanka might support region-wide dissemination of blended learning and local development. A longitudinal case study has been the overall approach where a number of embedded thematic units were explored in long-term fieldwork conducted between 2006 and 2012. Data has been collected from a combination of observations, interviews, group discussions, surveys and document analysis.

Findings showed that several of the studied ICT4D hubs have contributed to the general development but the country’s internal digital divide has in fact grown, as urban growth has been so much faster than the growth in rural areas, leaving the country with geographic as well as socio-economic gaps. Some of the former war zones have definitely been left behind and there is a need for further support of the Eastern and Northern regions of the island. Sri Lanka has had an outcome that must be classified as better than average compared to other developing regions with increased opportunities for education and with some ICT4D hubs as multipurpose meeting points. Contributing factors to the successful development are the high literacy rate, the chain of ICT4D projects rolled out in the right order and a committed implementation of educational eServices. On the other hand there were other, more negative findings indicating that sustainability, knowledge sharing and inter-project cooperation and coordination have often failed.

The identified strength in the Sri Lankan model, which can be recommended for other parts of the world as well, is the way top-down management of infrastructure sometimes is combined with bottom-up grass-root activities. Other recommendations, that also are global, are to extend existing ICT4D hubs and upgrade them to more intelligent, autonomous and multi-service ICT4D routers that could also handle the future need for eServices in the fields of eHealth, eFarming and eGovernance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, 2014. 120 p.
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 14-017
Keyword
ICT4D, ICT4D hubs, Digital divide, Sri Lanka, Blended learning, Education for All
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-109061 (URN)978-91-7649-042-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-12-11, Lilla hörsalen, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kista, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-11-19 Created: 2014-11-10 Last updated: 2014-11-13Bibliographically approved

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