From 25-28 September, the Free State Department of Education hosted an e-learning summit, VVOB supported the event. The objective of the summit was to develop a comprehensive 5-year e-learning strategy for the province, based on White Paper 7 on e-Education: Transforming Learning and Teaching through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) (https://www.gov.za/documents/white-paper-e-education-transforming-learning-and-teaching-through-information-and).
Currently, there are many fragmented ICT infrastructure, technology integration, content development and distribution as well as ICT teacher related development initiatives in the province. These initiatives don’t always contribute to a coherent strategy that is sustainable and scalable.
However, access to the Internet and ICT infrastructure has the potential to be the biggest equalizer to a fully inclusive and modernised society, emphasizing the importance of the summit.
During “Operation Phakisa: ICT in Education” in 2016, national and international trends in the development of e-learning strategies were observed and following critical components were identified:
• School ICT Infrastructure and Connectivity
• ICT Professional Development
• Content Development and Distribution
• Learning Management Systems
• E-administration (EMIS)
Before the participants split up in different working commissions to address the above mentioned critical components, several experts gave presentations on the topics. Special thanks to Mr. Dries Vanacker from Arteveldehogeschool who gave a presentation on Next Generation Digital Learning Environment.
At the end of the 2-day summit, the outcomes of the working commissions were discussed in plenary and will now be used to construct a comprehensive e-learning strategy for the province. A core group still stayed on for a third day to discuss these recommendations. As a next step in the trajectory, a draft strategy will soon be shared with the participants with a request for feedback. By the end of 2017, the document should be finalised and ready for approval at senior management level.