Last week, et.lakes had its first public event at Science Park, the roadmap workshop. About 30 people attended the workshop and contributed to the discussion. But before the discussion, we learnt more of the potential of et.lakes from three international presentations. Dr. Abbi Nangawe, of College of Business education in Dar Es Salaam, made the case of the need of Finnish expertise for the development Tanzanian Higher Education sector. His presentation highlighted 5 areas for possible collaboration, quote:
Conduct STUDIES in collaboration with African academic institutions to determine the real educational technology challenges that Africa countries are currently facing;
Collaborate with African academic institutions in the REVIEW of the currently used curricula to incorporate educational technology components.
Also, to collaborate in DESIGNING the new education system which will enable African teachers and learners change from traditional way of teaching and learning;
Participate in PRE-TESTING of the newly designed educational technology system (EdTech System) in order to ensure compatibility in its application to African education environment; and,
Collaborate with academic institutions in MONITORING AND EVALUATION the implementation of the new EdTech System in Africa;
While most of his proposals are based on research and theory of educational methods, it is his call for collaboration in designing new educational systems that has more potential to benefit other countries and the development of an edtech industry in Joensuu and surroundings.
Next Mr. Nkundwe Moses Mwasaga, from Dar Es Salaam Institute of Technology, presented the Commonwealth perspective, ppt, a fragmented market with plenty of opportunities. From his point of view the main opportunities for et.lakes would be, quote:
- Development of education contents
- Development of Education Management Information Systems
- Educational games
- Specialised education systems
Finally, Anton Troynikov from Geddit Ltd, joined us in Skype to explain who the start-up he co-founded went from Australia to Silicon Valley, with stops in Berlin and Joensuu, where they took part in the city's Science Festival. It was a great opportunity to have him telling us the steps they took before landing some venture capital. He also highlighted the positive aspects he found in Joensuu. Namely, the close link with educators and with the university high school. These aspects allow for a quick way to get the products and services in the hands of pupils to test them.
In preparing the workshop, the first idea was to carry a short Foresight activity to gather participants' interest and ideas. However, at the end we used a variation of the Outcome Mapping methodology, which is widely used in the development world. Outcome mapping aims to identify the changes that the community wants to see happening and identifying the actors that will make them possible. In this short session, we focused on the future outcomes of et.lakes and the strategies needed to implement them.
We were quite lucky as we got participants quite engaged in the group work and in the discussion afterwards. The result of the work can be seen in the working and evolving draft of the roadmap. Next steps should include longer 1-to-1 interviews with some of the participants to better concretize the ideas and actions to include in the plan.