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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Creating Interactive and Collaborative Primary School Classrooms in Zambia with and without Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

Andrew Cross

Creating Interactive and Collaborative Primary School Classrooms in Zambia with and without Information and Communication Technology (ICT)


This research project investigated processes to develop interactive classroom practice in primary schools serving underprivileged communities in Zambia. The aim was to transform a traditionally static classroom in which the students are passive learners into an interactive and collaborative environment in which students work in groups, learn by doing both from teachers and peers, and become active participants in the learning process.

The project worked with four primary school teachers in two schools in Zambia. These two schools had small sets of information and communication technology (ICT) provided by a previous project including digital cameras, projectors, netbooks, and tablets. Leveraging the mobility and interactivity of the digital ICT, lessons were planned with the teachers based on the national Zambian curriculum. After a period of planning, the lessons were observed in action in Zambia and filmed, followed by extended conversations outside of class with the teachers collectively reflecting on the successes and difficulties of the lesson. The outcomes of the project included the creation of concrete lesson plans based on the national curriculum that promoted interactivity, and the development of a lesson template and accompanying collaborative process for creating future lesson plans. In review of the transitional process, conclusions and recommendations are presented here as a road map for spreading interactive teaching strategies throughout the country and region.

Future stages will partner with local teacher colleges in Zambia to develop a professional development resource using filmed lessons of interactive teaching. The films, based on the common curriculum and in the local context, will then become a professional development tool for other teachers outside the first phase of the project.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.