Operationalizing the UNESCO ICT competency framework for teachers' professional development in Kenya and Tanzania: Our experience with mobile learning in the SIPSE project

Ms Esther Wachira and Ms Ronda Zelezny-Green  | Presentation (PDF)

Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI)



The Strengthening Innovation and Practice in Secondary Schools (SIPSE) Project was created in response to poor student performance in Science Technology, English and Mathematics (STEM) in many developing countries. Analogous to this situation are the findings that these performances are often a consequence of a lack of training received by teachers in these subjects. 

The goal of SIPSE is to ensure that secondary school teachers in two countries in East Africa are equipped with appropriate ICT and pedagogical skills to raise the quality of teaching, in order to make learning more relevant. The key outcomes of this project will be enhanced teacher capacity to teach Science, Technology, English and Mathematics in a 21st Century context, and increased access to, and quality of teaching and learning materials. SIPSE will focus on preparing 120 teachers from the two project countries, Kenya and Tanzania, to equip learners with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in a new knowledge society. 

What makes this project approach different is a number of design considerations: The teacher training will leverage both ICTs (including mobile phones and computers) and face to face or a blended model which allows for flexibility on the part of the teacher and means the teacher can take most of the course at anytime, anywhere. 

The training they will receive is ICT teacher competency based design, heavily relying on the  UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers' Professional Development to build a set of teacher skills, knowledge and values through three phases of technology literacy, knowledge deepening and knowledge creation in the application and infusion of technology to improve and transform teaching and learning practices. 

The teacher training is directly linked to classroom practice: teachers who are trained will be supported to practice what they have learnt in the project and applied directly to their schools. And teachers will be empowered to find, create or customize their own teaching resources.

This presentation will share experiences developing the mobile learning component of this ground breaking teacher training project in Kenya and Tanzania. This will include the rationale as to why the decision to augment the eLearning component of the blended learning training with mobile phones. It will also share initial findings from the first phase of the project implementation. We will seek insight from people with similar experiences from the audience who might better inform the future phases of the project as it develops.



Ms Esther Wachira is an education technologist and has been the Country Project Manager for Global e-

Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI) since 2007. Prior to that, she worked as Computer for Schools Kenya, an organization closely associated with Computer Aid. Educated at Kenyatta University, the University of Twente and Dublin City University, Esther has extensive experience working throughout sub-Saharan Africa to help governments intelligently integrate ICTs into educational praxis.

Ms Ronda Zelezny-Green is a language educator, teacher trainer, researcher and learner who has lived and taught on four continents and visited more than 30 countries. She is a PhD student in Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) at Royal Holloway, University of London, the UNESCO Chair in ICT for Development. She is also a U.S. Fulbright Student Scholar. Ms Zelezny-Green 

is an expert in gender and mobile learning, and advocates participatory and sustainable approaches to the use of mobiles for educational purposes.



Twitter: @GESCI



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