INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AS A VEHICLE FOR PROMOTING ACTIVE LEARNING IN A RESOURCE-CONSTRAINED ENVIRONMENT (THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCES)

T.C. Oketch

Makerere University, College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (UGANDA)
World over, trends in education are seeing a shift towards the integration of Information Technologies (IT) in teaching and learning. In some instances, institutions of learning have gone as far as redesigning and repackaging sections of their curricula to embrace aspects of IT. (Dori & Belcher, 2005). This shift is widely motivated by the inclination to move away from the prevalent passive teaching methods used in many institutions, to more student-centered active learning approaches. Current generation research indicates that this integration of technologically enhanced active learning environments fosters better student understanding and performance (MacDonald, 2005).

However, whereas the use of technology as a vehicle for promoting active learning may be both agreeable and desirable in many institutions, the actual implementation still poses numerous challenges (Gulati, 2008). This is particularly true for resource-constrained environments, such as in many developing countries. There is therefore a need to develop innovative solutions that address the challenges of integrating this next generation of education methodologies in such environments.

This paper discusses the approach being undertaken at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), Makerere University, Kampala to transition from a passive teaching methodology to a student-centered active learning methodology. In this resource-constrained environment, the transition is being phased, and a number of strategies are being incorporated, including: the use of shared Internet laboratories, incorporation of multimedia and interactive presentations in the learning environment, and the adoption of web-based learning platforms.