Technology stewardship is a leadership role within any kind of community of practice.  The Tech Steward facilitates and provides change leadership in the adoption and use of low cost digital technologies for communications, training, and knowledge transfer.

The MARS Lab in the Faculty of Extension at the University of Alberta has been collaborating with partners in four countries to carry out an action research project to better understand the conditions that can support effective Technology Stewardship in agriculture communities of practice in developing country contexts.

The project has most recently concluded a two-day training introductory workshop (‘short course’) in Technology Stewardship with the Faculty of Food and Agriculture at The University of the West Indies.

20 participants from Trinidad agriculture sector, including extension officers, agricultural advisory services, and fishers officers attended the course and were given basic training in principles and practices of technology stewardship.

Course feedback was overwhelming positive, with considerable interest among participants in taking additional courses on this topic.

A WhatsApp group has been created to support this cohort of students and researchers will be following up with the participants over the coming months to assess the impact of the training on their practices related to ICT use and its adoption within their respective communities of practice.

Support for this project has come from the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension research grant and the Faculty of Food and Agriculture at The University of the West Indies.

The Technology Stewardship training course is part of a larger, long term initiative to bridge teaching and learning through action research.

Additional support comes from Dr. Gow’s McCalla Professorship at the University of Alberta.  His longer term goal is to develop a Joint Education and Training Initiative (JETI) that connects research in ICT for Development (ICT4D) to experiential learning opportunities for Canadian and foreign students.

The big vision is to create a dual structure program that combines hands-on training initiatives in developing countries with study abroad and international service learning courses for University of Alberta students and their counterparts in partner countries like Trinidad.  The success of the event at UWI is a first step in expanding the project beyond Sri Lanka and into the Caribbean region.

An further outcome of the project will be the creation of a set of open educational resources that can support technology steward training programs in developing countries around the world.