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Sara Hennessy and Björn Haßler, Centre for Commonwealth Education, University of Cambridge, UK, Mark Bennett and Clare Stead (iSchool Unisa, Zambia), Collins Kaluba, Zanzini Ndhlovu, Joseph Ngandu and Godfrey Mwewa, (University of Zambia), Edgar Zulu (National In-Service Teachers College, NISTCOL, Zambia), VVOB, OER Africa, Esvah Chizambe (Principal Education Officer for Teacher Education, Zambia Ministry of Education).

Pilot Project

OER4Schools team

This CCE-funded 'OER4Schools' project started in August 2009 with a pilot phase, that was completed in May 2010. Through this pilot, we assessed the feasibility of providing Open Educational Resources (OER) to ICT- and Internet-equipped primary schools in Zambia, and of supporting interactive forms of subject pedagogy with the new resources. It identified the needs of school-based professional development adapted to the local context. The project is conducted in a North-South partnership between the CCE and institutions in Zambia. It uniquely combines stakeholders from various sectors (including educational research, ICT for development [NGOs], government, and the ICT service sector) as a basis for developing methodologies that promise lasting transformation in Zambian primary education. While the project is conducted in Zambia, it is anticipated to be relevant to a wide range of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Key outputs include models for OER-Pedagogy-ICT adoption in poorly resourced educational systems, and guidance on implementing better learning environments.

School students and laptops Zambia

In the pilot phase the primary aim of the project was to conduct the necessary research to build a further proposal for external funding over a longer period. We worked with teachers in 3 schools, developing, supporting and trialling uses of OERs combined with new pedagogical approaches for teaching mathematics. There were opportunities for peer observation and reflective practice. The research element recorded classroom practice and assessed participants' reactions and learning, eliciting messages for embedding basic ICT and OER use in teacher education. Findings were presented at the e-Learning Africa Conference in Lusaka in May 2010.

Phase 2

Boys at desk, Zambia

The second phase started in June 2010, and draws on outcomes of the pilot phase. We developed a professional learning resource for teachers and student teachers, focussing on interactive teaching and learning - with and without ICT. A key element of this resource is the use of unique video clips illustrating interactive practice (produced in Zambian and South African primary classroom contexts) as a stimulus for discussion.

The resource is freely available for re-use under a Creative Commons license. It supports different modes of learning, including collaborative and individual use, as well as blended learning as part of a course. It will be available in a number of formats, appropriate to the varied African environments in which teachers find themselves. It is being embedded in various teacher education and professional development courses administered by teacher colleges and universities in Zambia and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa; "taster workshops" have been run successfully with lecturers and students in three higher education settings.

The second phase culminated in trialling the resource with all teachers in Grade 4 to 6 at Chalimbana Basic School throughout 2012. A Zambian teacher facilitated regular workshops with his colleagues.

Phase 3

In the third phase (2013-), the programme has now broadened to all grades at the school, involving all 35 teachers and all pupils (around 1,000). Workshops are again being facilitated by teachers who participated in earlier phases.

Professional Development Resource and Videos

Click here to access the OER4schools professional learning resource.

A collection of video clips can be accessed at These depict classroom practice in Zambia and form the basis of a professional learning resource for teachers and teacher educators across sub-Saharan Africa.

The collection also includes conference presentations of our work. A clip of one primary teacher, Agness, co-presenting with us at the e-Learning Africa conference in Lusaka is May 2010 is accessible here.

A collection of our Phase 2 lesson clips and sequences is also viewable at

Briefing document

The project team have produced an informative, colour illustrated OER4Schools briefing document (download as a pdf) summarising the key ideas of the project, the findings of our trials so far and future plans for carrying the work forward. We also have a full size poster summarising the first two years of the work. Click on the poster image (right) to download the full size pdf. OER4Schools poster image


Two papers covering Phases 2 and 3 are forthcoming (please email us at for updates):

Hennessy, S., Haßler, B., & Hofmann, R. (under review). Pedagogic change by Zambian primary school teachers participating in the OER4Schools professional development programme for one year.

Haßler, B., Hennessy, S., & Hofmann, R., with Makonga, A. (in preparation). Sustainability and scalability of pedagogic innovation in sub-Saharan Africa: The case of the OER4Schools professional development programme.

Published work includes:

Hennessy, S., Haßler, B. & Hofmann, R. (2015, in press). Challenges and opportunities for teacher professional development in interactive use of technology in African schools. In J. Tondeur & J. Voogt (eds.), Technology, Pedagogy and Education: Special Issue on "Capacity Building for 21st Century Learning in Africa: A Focus on ICT Integration in Education."

B.Haßler, S. Hennessy, A. Cross, with E. Chileshe and B. Machiko (2014). School-based professional development in a developing context: Lessons learnt from a case study in Zambia. Professional Development in Education. doi:.

Lawrie, J., Hennessy. S. & Haßler, B. (2014) Technology and teacher professional development. (Chapter 7). In Burns, M. & Lawrie, J. (Eds.), Teacher professional development in fragile contexts: A guide for policymakers and practitioners. New York, NY: Interagency Network for Education in Emergencies.

Hennessy, S., Haßler, B., & Mwewa, G. (2012). Using digital technology and school-based professional development to leverage interactive classroom teaching in Zambia. In J. MacBeath & M. Younger (Eds.), Millennium Goals Revisited: A Common Wealth of Learning. London: Routledge. Available online.

Itupale paper: Haßler, Hennessy and Lubasi (2011), Changing Classroom Practice using a School-Based Professional Development Approach to Introducing Digital Resources in Zambia, Itupale Online Journal of African Studies, Volume 111.

Hennessy, S., Onguko, B., Ang’ondi, E. K., Harrison, D., Namalefe, S., Naseem, A., & Wamakote, L. (2010). Developing use of ICT to enhance teaching and learning in East African schools: a review of the literature (No. 1). Cambridge, UK and Dar es Salaam, TZ: Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge and Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development - Eastern Africa.

Hennessy, S., Harrison, D. & Wamakote, L. (2010). Teacher factors influencing classroom use of ICT in sub-Saharan Africa. Itupale Online Journal of African Studies, 2 (“Education in Africa: Developments for the 21st Century”), 39-54. Available at:


Recent presentations are available in Prezi format at

e-Learning Africa: 9th International Conference for ICT for Development, Education and Training. Kampala, Uganda, May 2014.  Hennessy and Haßler.  A year-long trial of a multimedia professional development programme for interactive teaching with technology in Zambia.

5th ICT in Higher Education Summit, Johannesburg. Hennessy, Paulsen, Dreyer, Haßler, Loubser, Beardon, Mays (2014). Professional learning with ICT in the southern African context: The UNISA-Cambridge collaboration on Advanced Diplomas in Education.

Africa Colloquium, Cambridge. Hennessy & Hassler (2014). School-based professional development for interactive teaching with mobile technology and OER in Zambia. A video is available of our 10-min. presentation and of 5 other presentations by CCE colleagues. 

UNESCO Mobile Learning Conference. Paris, France, February 2014.  Hennessy and Haßler. Lessons learned from trialling an open multimedia professional development programme to support interactive teaching using mobile technology in sub-Saharan Africa.

e-Learning Africa: 8th International Conference for ICT for Development, Education and Training. Windhoek, Namibia, May 2013. Haßler, Makonga, Hennessy, Paulsen. Trialling an open multimedia professional development programme to support interactive teaching using ICT in a Zambian primary school.

e-Learning Africa 2012, Benin: Hennessy, Haßler and Zulu (2012). A multimedia professional development resource to support interactive teaching using ICT in Zambia.

BERA 2012, Manchester: Hennessy, Haßler and Marsden (2012). OER4Schools: Supporting interactive teaching – with and without ICT – in Zambian primary schools through school-based professional development.

Keynote at Higher Education and ICT Forum, Johannesburg: Hennessy (2012). Can teacher education focused on interactive teaching with digital resources leverage change in African schooling?

UKFIET: Hennessy,  Haßler, Mays and Cross  (2011) OER4Schools: Introducing digital resources into Zambian primary schools through school-based professional developmentClick here to view presentation.

e-Learning Africa 2011: Hennessy, Haßler, Cross, Lord and Jackson (2011) Creating interactive pedagogical spaces using portable technologies in the Zambian classroom. Click here to view presentation.

Our presentation at the Humanitarian Centre's ICT4D event in Cambridge (November 2010): Introducing digital OER into Zambian schools.  Click here to view video.


Learning resources from some of our projects (including OER4Schools, ASKAIDS, and others) are available at All resources are published as Open Educational Resources (OER), which means that we invite you to use, share, re-use, and adapt those resources.


If you think the resource could be of interest to you individually, or for a teacher education project that you are running, and you would like to find out more, please email us at

Click here to visit CCE ANTSIT project page.