We are now drawing closer to the launch of our Technology Stewardship course that is part of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Development Grant supporting a collaborative research project between the University of Alberta, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, and the University of Guelph. We are currently working on finalizing course materials for translation and will begin accepting participant applications in the beginning of September.
Participants will engage in an interactive and hands-on two-day workshop at the In-Service Training Institute of the Department of Export Agriculture, Matale, from September 28-30, 2016. They will take part in 12 hours of classroom instruction and receive a certificate of completion upon finishing all four training modules. Participants will learn firsthand about the principles and practices of technology stewardship and how they can be applied to encourage the adoption and use of new ICTs within agricultural communities of practice. Nancy Smith, Etienne Wenger, and John Smith of the Full Circle Blog coined a useful definition of Technology Stewards:
“Technology stewards are people with enough experience of the workings of a community to understand its technology needs, and enough experience with technology to take leadership in addressing those needs. Stewardship typically includes selecting and configuring technology, as well as supporting its use in the practice of the community.”
As mentioned, this pilot course is being delivered as part of an ongoing action research project with Sri Lankan and Canadian academic partners. Course developers and instructors include representatives from the University of Alberta, the University of Guelph, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, the University of Peradeniya, Sahana Software Foundation (Sri Lanka), and FrontlineSMS. Besides directly benefitting course participants and their communities, this course is intended to enhance collaboration between researchers, practitioners, and non-profit sectors by promoting the sharing of research results and facilitating knowledge exchange across diverse sectors.