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Appears in:
Pages: 2984-2990
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain

DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING A BLENDED LEARNING MODEL FOR MATHEMATICS TEACHERS: A SOUTH AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE

I. Mostert, M. van Heyningen

Stellenbosch University (SOUTH AFRICA)
Participation and performance in mathematics and science in South African schools and universities is matter of great concern and has even been referred to as a national crisis. One of the many reasons for the current state of affairs is the number of teachers who received poor quality schooling and pre-service training. In order to address this situation, teachers are able to enroll for continuous professional development (CPD) programmes. The design of these programmes must take into consideration the fact that the teachers who enroll will continue to teach throughout the duration of the programme and the fact that many teachers live in rural areas far from the institutions offering these programmes. One obvious solution is to make use of a blended learning model to present such programmes.

This paper discusses the design and implementation of a particular CPD programme for mathematics teachers offered by means of such blended learning model. The discussion of the design considers each of the four factors identified by Boitshwarelo (2009) as influencing the design of any blended learning model. These factors are the objectives, the type of content, the availability of technology and the demands of each delivery system on the institution and the learner.

For this particular programme one of the main objectives is to create a sense of community among the teachers. This sense of community can counter a sense of isolation, can encourage peer learning and will hopefully last after the teachers have completed the programme so that a long term support network is established. The content covered in the programme is primarily the mathematics that teachers are expected to teach in school as well as the pedagogy content knowledge necessary to teach this content effectively. The technologies originally available were a learning management system (LMS); an interactive telematic studio for broadcasting lectures to centres around the country and a bulk SMS system. Demands of the various delivery systems include the cost and effort required by the teachers to access the internet, especially for those living in rural areas; the difficulty of representing mathematical symbols using HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and the long distances that teachers and lecturers must travel for face-to-face contact.

The discussion of the implementation of the programme focuses on the adjustments that have been made to the model based on ongoing evaluations by students and lecturers during the past two years. The most significant adjustment has been a move to mobile technologies in an attempt to address the challenge of a lack of convenient internet access via computers. Other adjustments include an increase in face-to-face contact and a greater focus on facilitating meaningful discussions on the LMS.

The paper concludes by considering issues that will influence the design and implementation of the blended learning model in the future. These issues include scalability, the need for an increased focus on pedagogy as apposed to technology and the need for a means of measuring the impact that the programme has on the participation and performance in mathematics and science in South African schools and universities.

Boitshwarelo, B. (2009). Exploring Blended Learning for Science Teacher Professional Development in an African Context. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(4).
@InProceedings{MOSTERT2011DES,
author = {Mostert, I. and van Heyningen, M.},
title = {DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING A BLENDED LEARNING MODEL FOR MATHEMATICS TEACHERS: A SOUTH AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE},
series = {5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-7423-3},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {2984-2990}}
TY - CONF
AU - I. Mostert AU - M. van Heyningen
TI - DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING A BLENDED LEARNING MODEL FOR MATHEMATICS TEACHERS: A SOUTH AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE
SN - 978-84-614-7423-3/2340-1079
PY - 2011
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2011
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2011 Proceedings
SP - 2984
EP - 2990
ER -
I. Mostert, M. van Heyningen (2011) DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING A BLENDED LEARNING MODEL FOR MATHEMATICS TEACHERS: A SOUTH AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE, INTED2011 Proceedings, pp. 2984-2990.
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