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January 2010

ICT & Education: Eleven Countries to Watch -- and Learn From

Michael Trucano's picture

KERIS looms increasingly large on the international ICT/education scene | image attribution at bottomAs part of engagements with ministries of education around the world, I am often asked to provide lists of countries considered to be 'best practice examples of ICT use in education'. I am asked this so often that I thought I'd provide a representative list here to help point people in some useful directions, in case doing so might be of any interest.

But before I get to the list ...

First, I'd like to say that I prefer the term 'good practice' to 'best practice'.  This may seem to be unnecessary semantic nitpicking, but in many if not most cases and places, learning from and adapting 'good' practices is often much more practical -- and more likely to lead to success. 

And: Given that many initiatives seem immune to learning from either 'best' or even 'good' practice in other places, I am coming to the conclusion that it may be most practical to recommend countries that have had 'lots of practice' (of any kind).  Is this ideal?  Obviously no -- but it tends to yield better results. For whatever reason, there appears to be a natural learning curve that accompanies large scale adoption of ICTs in the education sector in many countries, and that there is an important element of 'learning by doing' that appears to be important, even if this means 'repeating the mistakes' of others. (This is a process often known in international development circles as 'capacity building'.)

In Search of the Curious Doer

Robert Hawkins's picture

William's windmill | for image attribution please see bottom of this postWhat is the profile of the type of student who we hope will emerge from our schools?  Many have argued that our schools are stuck in a 19th century mindset and education for the knowledge age requires a complete rethink of teaching and learning for a globalized, connected, and rapidly changing world.  Educators around the world have been debating and working to define these skills and what has emerged is a set of “21st century skills” – the types of skills deemed essential to work creatively; problem solve; communicate; identify and analyze existing information; and create new knowledge.   

The UNESCO Prize on ICT use in education

Michael Trucano's picture

UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for ICT use in Education | image copyright UNESCO, please see bottom of posting for attributionThe UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize is perhaps the highest profile international award given to acknowledge excellence in the use of ICTs in education around the world.  Created in 2005 following a donation made by the Kingdom of Bahrain, it is meant "to reward projects and activities of individuals, institutions, other entities or non-governmental organizations for excellent models, best practice, and creative use of information and communication technologies to enhance learning, teaching and overall educational performance".

The winners for 2009, announced back in December, will receive their awards in a ceremony at UNESCO headquarters in Paris next week. The latest winners are Dr. Alexei Semenov, Rector of the Moscow Institute of Open Education, Russian Federation, and Jordan's Ministry of Information and Communications Technology  (acknowledging its work in leading the Jordan Education Initiative). 

In its short history, the Prize has has done a good job in drawing attention to important work being done related to the use of technologies in the education sector that is, in many cases, largely unknown outside the borders of the host country.

10 Global Trends in ICT and Education

Robert Hawkins's picture

 In the spirit of the new year and all things dealing with resolutions and lists, I submit below my first blog posting for the EduTech blog (checking off a resolution) with a discussion of 10 Global Trends in ICT and Education for 2010 and beyond (joining the crowded space of lists in this new year). 


The list is an aggregation of projections from leading forecasters such as the Horizon Report, personal observations and a good dose of guesswork.  The Top 10 Global Trends in ICT and Education are:

A new education sector strategy -- what role for ICT?

Michael Trucano's picture

 a fresh look at things in the new year | photo credit at bottomThe World Bank is developing a new ten-year strategy to guide its work in the education sector.  This new strategy will replace the World Bank Education Strategy paper of 1999 , which was updated in 2006 [note: link is to a pdf].

Fair enough, you are probably saying, but why should we care?  (If you haven't already registered your disinterest by clicking over to another web page, that is!) 

I am anticipating that this post will not attract the large readership of recent posts about e-books in Africa, the OLPC project in Uruguay, or come anywhere near generating the types of traffic we see for posts about the use of mobile phones in education(Note: Newcomers to this blog as a result of the Learning and Technology World Forum are directed to our list of top EduTech posts from 2009, which might be of greater interest.)

That said, I hope that this blog posting is more than just institutional navel gazing:

Top EduTech posts for 2009

Michael Trucano's picture

we look forward to serving up more food for thought in 2010 | image courtesy of the Wikipedian Lisarlena, used according to terms of its CC license, see bottom of post for more infoThe World Bank EduTech blog has just completed its first year of publication.

To celebrate our first birthday, we thought we'd look back at the top posts for 2009.