Contextualising ICT benefits in an educational environment: the case of the DOC-WILS initiative
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The programme of the DoC-WILs is an initiative of the Department of Communication in collaboration with Telkom to enable human resources development at historically disadvantaged learning institutions. The Telecommunications, 1996 (Act 103 of 1996) establishes a Human Resources Fund to promote the provision of adequately skilled human resources at all levels of the telecommunications sector in numbers sufficient for the telecommunications needs of the country. The Department of Communication Web Internet Laboratories (DoC-WILs) emphasise skills development through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in areas such as network management, creating websites, use of e-mail and the World Wide Web, multimedia applications and intranet development. It is, however not known under what contextual circumstances this kind of ICT0usage could impact on educational outcomes desired by the DoC-WILs and on how these DoC-WILs could best go about taking appropriate actions to improve the possibility of achieving desired interactive learning benefits. It is argued that the ability of the DoC-WILs to achieve desired benefits successfully is crucially dependent on contextual conditions, policies or processes that apply to the DoC-WILs or their users. This is in the line with the social shaping of technology approach that local circumstances surrounding the deployment of ICTs in different sectors of society are more important in shaping the consequence of ICTs than technological variables.