The SANKORE PROJECT heralds digital transformation in our schools. The standard IV were the priviledged ones to give the kick off to this peoject in 2011 following the digitalisation of the standard IV curriculum. Hopefully, this year the project will be extended to standard V . Prior to 2011, it was unthinkable that the digital teaching and learning tool would be at the disposal of the Mauritian teachers. This has been made possible by the implementation of the SANKORE PROJECT. Teachers must seize this golden opportunity to be in phase with the digital era. In fact the SANKORE PROJECT offers a powerful technological tool to revolutionise teaching and learning in our classrooms.
The SANKORE PROJECT aims at digitalising the whole primary school curriculum. We are therefore making our way towards digital teaching and learning. As such, at the very outset, it is important that the MIE seriously envisages the inclusion of a module “Digital Teaching and Learning” in the Teachers’ Education Programme. Whereas, for the teachers already in post, frequent formation sessions and workshops should be organised to assess and evakuate the success of the project.
The success of this project requires a real transformation in our teaching practices. Head Masters as leaders of schools have a key role to ensure this transformation through their transformational and instructional leadership. School efficiency cant be achieved by just expediting administrative services. A common complaint is that administration is time consuming and hardly allows Head Masters sufficient time to focus on pedagogy. With the digital transformation in the wake of the SANKORE PROJECT, our Head Masters are called upon to demonstrate a new style of leadership which we may term as Educational Technology Leadership. Henceforth, Head Masters must demonstrate their ability to implement and sustain an effective educational-technology program. This can only be achieved through a holistic and dynamic approach with a shared school vision. No Head Master can ensure school efficiency staying away from what is happening in his own school. The “Laissez-Faire” type of management will compromise the success of the digital transformation. Educational Technology Leadership focuses on the integration of technology into teaching and learning strategies. Head Masters must be convinced about the powerful tool that technology represents in the enhancement of learning, school performance and efficiency. Through their transformational and instructional leadership, Head Masters can lead the required transformation.
2007 was procalimed as the year for the integration of technology into the teaching strategies in our schools by the then Minister of Education. The buzz action then was the creation of Mediatechs in our schools. Interactive white board technology was not yet available in Mauritius. At my school. with the help of the school PTA, we made the acquisition of a projector. a laptop and a photocopier. Through web searches, we had learnt about the interactive smart board. Drawing from this knowledge, we used our technological equipments as a substitute for an interactive white board by projecting in-house prepared lessons on powerpoint. The projection was done on a white board. With the white board marker used as stylus our learners could interact by working out fill in the gap exercises, multiple choice or cloze tests or do mathematical problems. One of the handicap was that the white board marker could not scroll. We overcame this problem by scrolling with the cursor. Text readings were facilitated by highlightings and underlining, options that are available by the powerpoint software. Those highlightings could be either saved or not saved if originality of the power point lesson was to be preserved. This practice created a lot of enthusiasm in our learners and the result was that our school performance was always on the rise year by year. With the advent of the SANKORE technology there is no need now to use any subsitute. This new technology offers us with a library of tools which facilitates the real digital teaching and learning. I personally advocate the use of this powerful tool.
Teachers and the school management teams must without any hesitation grab this opportunity as the use of digital technology is becoming an imperative teaching strategy of the 21st century. Practising teachers who feel uncertain about the use of ICT technology need to acquire the necessary skills through self development.
To ensure a successful school digital transformation, I would recommend five key changes from my personal experience while we used our technological equipments as a substitute to the interactive board, as follows:
- Creating a learning focused environment through an efficient instructional leadership.
- Providing support and motivation to teachers and learners to use technology.
- Re-organising and re-culturing the school where the focus of Head Masters, teachers and learners is on improving teaching and learning. Power instructional leadership and curriculum modeling must be given more priority to increase school effectiveness.
- Crafting and ownership of a shared school mission through a school development plan stating how to achieve the required school transformation.
- Using the learners’ performance data and evidence to continously and constantly improve school practices and efficiency.
It is an accepted fact that success can be planned and failure is failing to plan. My dream is that through an intranetting system learners could access the digital learning in their homes. This is just the begining of the digital era for the Mauritian learners.
Mr. Yassin Fokeerbux.
7 January 2012.