Teachers Talking (TT) is an introduction to ICT (Information and Communication Technology) for teachers in rural Africa. It is an inservice training course which ran for the first time in 2004 at Fantsuam Foundation. It has taken various forms over the years, and has also been presented in Kenya thanks to support from CoL (Commonwealth of Learning).
Pamela McLean designed and presented the course at John Dada's request when local teachers started asking to become computer literate. It is particularly unusual for its involvement of a support group, which the teachers meet online. This gives a flavour of the Internet in its role as the home of various world wide collaborative communities.
TT is based firmly in the realities of under-resourced schools in rural Africa. It is recognised that most of the course participants have few books in their schools, no electricity, and therefor little chance of using a computer in their classrooms. However their pupils need to know about computers, and be ready to use them if ever the chance presents itself. This is not just a matter of operating a computer, but of having a wider vision for the potential of digital technology, both for information processing and for communication.
The No-Computer Computer Course (NC3)
TT includes an element called the No-Computer Computer Course (NC3). It offers practical information-handling activities and teaching resources about computers and their uses. The NC3 course builds from the known to the unknown in ways that are appropriate for rural schools. Teachers practice the NC3 activities, and prepare lesson plans, during the TT course.
Cyber cafe follow up - not computers in school
TT also accepts that course participants may never have seen a computer before the course. It is possible that they may not get a chance to use one again, unless they visit an urban centre where there may be a cyber cafe. This means that if they do use a computer after TT they can probably expect to seek help from cyber cafe staff, but it helps if they have some idea of what they might try to do. Even if they don't ever use a computer after TT, they will teach more confidently about computers if they have had practical experience during the course.
The part of TT known as Hands-On Computers, is designed to give teachers confidence as computer users. They are not expected to become skilled operators. Instead they are expected to experience the feeling of being a computer user, to become confident at touching the equipment and using it for simple tasks, to know that (given the chance) they could become as skilled as anyone else in using computers.
The final element of TT is related to Internet use and is known as TT-Online. Teachers register for a yahoo address and start to experience being part of an online community. We have done this in various ways on different courses, depending on the resources available:
- Joining a supportive yahoo group with participants in various countries
- Collaboration with London University Institute of Educationfor a webinar connecting London University, North Central Nigeria and a representative form a project in Ethiopia
- Collaborative activities with schools in Northern Ireland
- Use of a chat room where Pam's online friends are able to greet the participants.
- Use of instant messaging, VOIP (voice via the Internet), chats including video, and involvement in audio-graphic conferencing.
More about TT
There are more details of TT here.
The original TT course and its online activity is still marked annually at an online celebration (now known as Dadamac Day).