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03.05.2018 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 4/2018

TechTrends 4/2018

Kopano Virtual Forum: Using Cultural Norms to Develop Online Communities of Practice Environments

TechTrends > Ausgabe 4/2018
Perien Joniell Boer, Tutaleni I. Asino


The development of technological solutions often consists of a small group of experts selecting the type of technology and how it is to be used, regardless of the culture of the user. This practice excludes practitioners from the decision-making process, and can lead to frustrations and an unsustainable community of practice. This paper addresses the problem of selecting and developing appropriate technologies to advance best practices through communities of practice for teachers in the lower grades in Namibia. Considering cultural norms and practices common to Namibians and applying it to a technological solution of a virtual forum, reduces the feeling of technology inadequacy and the desire to be part of a “meeting of the elders.” Consultative meetings with teachers in our sample group resulted in data on the technology use of lower primary school teachers. Results indicate that, even with an appropriate choice of a technological solution, coordination or leadership is essential for success. The cultural notion investigated in this paper is related to, and may be dependent upon, the headman/chief model of providing active leadership by continually pulling the “meetings” together, consistent with the cultural norms of participants.

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