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Title: Travel without visas : teacher perception of a technology intervention in the Dadaab refugee camp
Author: Telford Mansour, Rebecca Grace
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 3330
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2018
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As the numbers of people who are forcibly displaced continues to grow, education for refugee children is in crisis. More than one third of refugee children globally are missing out on primary education and the safety and education of girls are disproportionately affected. Teachers are crucial to providing quality education for these children. By focusing on teachers in the refugee camp and their perception of technology-based learning, this study aims to contribute to the global body of practitioner and academic knowledge which will be required to meet the needs of the refugee crisis globally. Teacher perception of technology-based interventions aimed at improving the quality of learning and teaching for refugee populations were explored through a case study on Dadaab, a refugee camp on the Kenya-Somalia border. This study considers teacher engagement with the Instant Network Schools (INS) programme, an initiative between UNHCR and the Vodafone Foundation that aims to embed technology into formal schools in Dadaab. Using the framework of Activity Theory, the research comprised bimonthly visits to Dadaab over 18 months and centred on 21 semi-structured interviews with teachers in INS schools supported by my own observation in schools and discussions with teachers and other stakeholders. This application of Activity Theory outside its historical domain is a potentially valuable contribution to knowledge and methodological innovation, responding to literature which questions the ability of Activity Theorists to engage outside of their own context, or with activity systems which are less linear. This study found that in-depth engagement with structural issues from the outset means that Activity Theory can be a valuable methodological tool in researching systems which include complex hierarchies of power. Analysis of the data revealed the following broad themes: 1) teachers perceived significant benefits of the INS programme, in spite of challenges which slowed the set-up of hardware and connectivity; 2) the ability to bring the outside world to refugee children who are isolated within the camp was seen as the greatest benefit, allowing the children to ‘travel without visas’; 3) there are many opportunities to develop the INS programme which centre on co-designing the training, curriculum and programme management with the teachers and schools involved; 4) many of the challenges to optimal use of the programme including impact on student learning outcomes relate to structural and macro-political issues which should also be considered in the programme design. Of these, the first was counter-intuitive and constitutes a novel finding, as teachers who had little or no access to the technology itself still reported the same levels of satisfaction with the intervention. This suggests that the technology has a symbolic value which is of significant importance to the teachers involved, and further understanding this value could improve our understanding of teacher priorities and how to better design meaningful interventions.
Supervisor: Edirisingha, Palitha ; Woodhouse, Joan ; Conole, Grainne Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available