In the last few years ICT projects in developing countries1 have gained tremendously in importance. Nevertheless there has been a lack of case studies dealing with teaching computing in LDCs. So far there has been no case study performed by a scientist with practical experiences in computer related interventions.
This case study describes a computer project that was undertaken at a primary school in South-Western Uganda, in the year 2002. During the intervention I encountered - in parallel to technical problems - several misunderstandings related to culture. It became apparent that the participating people from that region approach new technology differently than we do (in the mind of members of different cultural backgrounds, namely teachers from Austria) and therefore integrate knowledge in a different way. This lead to a cultural perspective and a qualitative research was conducted. The collected empirical data enabled a systematic hermeneutical analysis with regard to Witzel's programme of problem centred analysis.
This research outlines the social function of computers among the regions' population and discusses the socially reflected interrelationship between involved social actors and the reigning hierarchic positions. It shows that too high expectations (according to computers) are set by participants and that computers are seen as an empowering status symbol. This study shows that the cultural expectation towards gaining control over technology, such as computers, were seen as to be represented in a non explorative way of teaching, wheras the external instructors were causing a cultural break by applying explorative student-centred teaching methods. The strong hierarchic position of teachers and parents hinder the pupils eagerness to explore new technology on their own, as they have to expect different forms of sanctions, when mistakes are made. A solution might be that a computer teacher become a "cultural broker" [Aikenhead, 2002] who is aware of the student's underlying world views, "regionally used teaching methods/habits", "ways of sanctions", use and status of "local language", the social role of "involved institutions", and draws upon knowledge on regional historical and cultural pecularities. This is also related with the readiness to take into account a loss of power which a successful technological knowledge transfer implies.