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Global snapshot africa_slides v3


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  • North Africa Maghreb culture based on initial expansion of Islam. Arabic primary languages although English/French
  • Question: Are we sure that E-Learning is not considered prestigious in Africa?    Maghreb gene    
  • Infrastructure may not be readily available but that does not always prevent Internet access.  This WiFi antenna was made to enable participants and facilitators to access the Internet.    These were also located at some tourist sites.  Picture taken in Dakar, Senegal February 2008. 
  • Hand digging in preparation for laying the fiber optic cable for Internet.  Kenya March 2007
  • Many African countries have implemented mandatory schooling, or have extended the ages for mandatory schooling. (For example Kenya). This mandatory schooling has increased the need for teachers, and an increase in teacher qualifications. The teachers need to be able to teach their students and continue to study. E-Learning, especially for remote locations is one way to enable teachers to be able to upgrade. Health Care There is a demand for health care workers, nurses, doctors, etc. These professionals can not afford to take time to attend continuing medical education, or more importantly the remote communities they serve can not afford to do without these professions for even a few days. Therefore, e-learning is one viable option.
  • Many institutions in Africa desparately want to have e-learning as it is in Europe and North America. The lack of stable electricity, stable affordable Internet is often not considered, or 'we will have Internet soon' is often used.  As seen in the previous slide existing effective approaches are being phased out in some areas, and mobile devices that are everywhere are not being used to their potential for education purposes.  Education in Africa could jump over the desktop style e-learning and go to mobile learning, just as many people have jumped over the land line phone and went from no phone to a mobile phone.
  • Website for AVU is  AV is a consortium of 50 academic institutions across 27 sub-Saharian countries as well as some corporations.  The major focus is on Open and Distance e-Learning. (ODeL) AVU adn the institutions have a strong background in print based distance education. The manuals would put many of our institutions to shame. (Daph, personal observation, March 2007) In the last few years there has been a focus on teacher preparation and upgrading. Many countries have implemented mandatory schooling, or have recently expanded the ages for mandatory schooling, and therefore there is a shortage of teachers. The AVU may work in partnership with other institutions to offer programs. For example Laval University is offering a computer science degree for francophone members of AVU.
  • Printing Materials @ Kiruyu Learning Centre of the University of Nairobi. (A rural learning centre.)  Equipment was donated by a German institution when the institution replaced its printing equipment.  Picture taken March 2007
  • Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is a voluntary organization of more than 50 independent sovereign stated that work together to provide support and to work towards international goals.    L3 Farmers focuses on helping farmers development skills that will enhance productivity and a sustainable local economy.  ** Take a look @ VUSSC as well
  • This was on a truck at Kiruyu Learning Centre of the University of Nairobi.    Although this form of education/learning was useful, it was being phased our in favour of online learning, even though the farmers do not have computers or Internet.  Strong desire to emulate Western model
  • Discussion of mobile use here? * Very cheap, very common * Easy to buy and switch out phone chip * but NOT iPhone or other smart phone popular in North America
  • ~ 49% of South African homes have leisure reading books, and very few have more than 40 books. Usually it is the more wealthy who have books.   This has an impact on  literacy and academics.    There was a similar project in Japan that this one was based on.  The infrastructure for mobile devices is in place. Teens, generally,  have and use mobile phones. (Most families have skilled the land line, and have gone from no phone to mobile phone.)   50 teens from lower ioncome neighbourhoods of Langa and Guguletu participated in the study. 
  • Not all participants enjoyed the novel or reading on their cell phones, but the majority did.  Participants discussed the novel with others using social media and their phones.  Some participants reported getting up early to get the next chapter read before starting their day.  There is a fear that participants may decrease their reading adn writing skills due to the use of txtspk.  In the future, there are hopes of doing more novels for this age group, and having the novels related to the curriculum
  • There are several projects that focus on capacity building of faculty and required support for Open and Distance e-Learning.    A couple of examples:  ACEP   in ODeL (2007-2009) This was a project of the African Virtual University. 14 Anglophone and 8 francophone institutions across sub-Sahara Africa too part in the 24 months of training. Each institution had a team  3 or 6 members, with members being equally divided with responsibilities for the following 3 components: Governance, Design and Development and Technology. Over the course of 24 months each team worked on an institutional project and developed a course for this project. Many of the institutions were successful at completing their projects many of which focused on further development of faculty within their institution. Southern African Development Community Secretariat (SADC)  This project focuses on the Capacity Enhancement of faculty at thje Malawi College of Distance Education and the Open University of Tanzania. At both institutions, they will focus on the development of faculty and materials for Open and Distance Learning for Secondary School Teachers. This project is still in the preliminary stages.
  • Or is it the tip of Mt Kilamanjaro?
  • Transcript

    • 1. A Snapshot of E & M-Learning in Africa Tony Bates, Tony Bates Assoc. Daph Crane, Memorial University Gerona McGrath, Memorial University Elizabeth J. Pyatt, Penn State Lawrence Ragan, Penn State
    • 2. What is "Africa"?
      • Very broadly speaking
      North Africa/Maghreb Subsaharan (main focus)
        • Sahara desert region/Mediterranean
        • Arabic a major language 
        • Predominantly Islamic
        • Connections with Middle East
        • Includes
          • Egypt
          • Morocco
          • Algeria
          • Tunisia
          • Libya
          • Mauritania
          • Western Sahara
        • Focus of most discussions of "Africa"
        • Literally "below the Saharan"
        • Many countries "post-colonial"
        • Mix of cultures/religions
          • Traditional 
          • Islam
          • Christian
          • Others
        • Mix of forest/savannah/...
        • South Africa major economic capital
        • Other subdivisions exist  
          • Also Kenya, Nigeria,...
          • Ethiopic script important in E. Africa, but not as prestigious as Arabic script
    • 3. Challenges & Projects (North Africa)
        • Some ccommon in other regions
        • Isolated rural populations and large population (Egypt)
        • Gender equity - women's roles not expected to be equal in Islamic cultures
        • E-Learning may not be considered prestigious by everyone
        • Poor instructional design-syllabus/textbook online?
        • "Unicode" for Arabic content
          • Unicode enables any script to be displayed
          • Arabic script support good, but often a little behind that for English/French
        • Some Projects
          • Arab Open University (Egy, etc) -
          • Virtual Moroccan Campus
          • (Tunisia) - News/Advocacy
    • 4. Challenges (Subsaharan)
        • Lack of technology and Internet infrastructure 
          • Except for mobile phones 
          • Unstable electricity (if any)
        • Lack of textbook access
        • Isolated rural populations
        • AIDS Orphans
        • Gender equity - women's roles not expected to be equal in many African cultures (Islamic and others)
        • Literacy, particularly in English/French (& Portuguese)
          • Many languages spoken in Africa, but almost all online/face-to-face higher education in English/French or Portuguese in Mozambique (via auto-translation)
    • 5. Hand rigged Wi-Fi Antenna
    • 6. Laying out fiber optic cable in Kenya
    • 7. The Need for E-Learning
      • Driving forces behind the need for e-Learning:
      • Leading the way:
        • Mandatory Schooling (upper end of K-12 levels)
        • Health Care  
          • Workers - Become independent of foreign health care
          • Prevention - for everyone
        • Support for AIDS Orphans
        • Expanding Educational Opportunities
          • Expanded training for current teachers
          • General population, especially rural areas
        • Expand IT skill set among population
        • Job-specific training
        • Opportunity to increase educational outlets for women who may not be able to travel to school
    • 8. Solutions & Strategies
        • Mobile Learning
          • eBook project (see later slide):
            • Steve Vosloo of the Shuttleworth Foundation in South Africa has worked on a series of stories for teens to read to improve literacy.
          • Video project:
            • Mid-Sweden University has produced a series of videos viewable on phones that promote informal learning groups
          • Healthcare workers:
            • In Kenya and South Africa phones are used to deliver on-going medical education for practioners.
    • 9. "They often travel many kilometres by bus or walking to take this exam. Some students do not have enough money to take the bus home, and sleep on the campus until they get their results."     "It will become important for African lifelong learners/graduates to have access to courses or programs that draw on the research and expertise being developed in the research universities."      
    • 10. The Desire for Online Learning:
      • "Incidentally mobile learning always features at eLearning Africa (just think of it as "Online Educa ported to Africa") .... interesting to hear the mobile learning projects and stories but worrying to watch the Africa keen to 'catch up' with Western European desktop e- learning when (rumour has it) there are more mobiles in Rwanda than light bulbs (or PCs presumably)."
      • Traxler, J. (2010, May 25). M-Learning Research: A Brief Hello. [Electronic mailing list message].  
    • 11.
        • Educational Consortia (even to buy servers)
          • Many partner with Europe/North America (Canada)
            • African Virtual University (AVU)
            • Université Numérique Francophone Mondiale (UNMF) -
            • Teacher Education in Subsaharan Africa (TESSA)
          • Some within the continent
            • Association of African Universities
          • Brokering of programs created elsewhere but modified for Africa
      Educational Consortia
    • 12.
        • African institutions and educators need access to these kinds of resources because of the paucity of resources available at reasonable costs
        • Examples
          • MIT Open Courseware ( )
          • Commonwealth of Learning (COL) Resources
          • OER Africa –
          • TESSA (for K-12 instr) –
          • Penn State Earth & Mineral Sciences
      Open Educational Resources (OER)
    • 13. Some Example Projects
        • African Virtual University
        • Life Long Learning for Farmers
        • m4lit (Literature over Mobile)
    • 14. African Virtual University
        • Consortium of 50 academic partners in 27 countries across sub-Sahara Africa
        • Focus on Open and Distance e-Learning (ODeL) with the goal of developing capacity to offer more distance learning opportunities
        • Often distance courses are print based or provided on a CD or DVD. Students attend a rural learning centre for a few days, return home with study materials and return to the learning centre to write exams.
        • Courses focus on the needs of countries 
        • Works in partnership with foreign institutions  
    • 15. African Virtual University
      • As part of the capacity development and sustainability component of a recent AVU project with Canadian partners, each of the 10 institutions that participated were asked to develop a project that would combine the skills of instructional designers, media specialists and ICT professionals.
      • Most of the projects involved teacher education or the development of a specific course that is difficult for students to get on-campus. 
      • The University of Zambia, for example, has produced modules for a fast-track teacher education program for the Ministry of Education.
    • 16.   Printing Press at Kiruyu Learning Center, University of Nairobi
    • 17. Life Long Learning for Farmers  (L3 Farmers)
        • Project of The Commonwealth of Learning (COL)
        • Farmers access research, learning materials through ICT kiosks
        • Helps farmers:
          • gain knowledge especially around new research
          • create their individual self direction
          • problem solve especially around marketing and food security
          • sustainable economy
        • Program continues to go, now available to 500 farmers in  Uganda through partnership with Makerere University
        • Will be introduced to Kenya and Mauritius in the near future
    • 18. Farmers have radio, but should we move to e-learning?
    • 19.
      • There isn’t a digital divide in Africa, there is a digital difference. Mobiles are more pervasive than PCs.
      • Botha, A (2010, May.) Go Mobile! Using mobile learning to teach 21st century skills . Symposium conducted at e-Learn Africa, Lusaka, Zambia. 
      • c
    • 20. Everyone has a mobile! (but not always an iPhone) Image Courtesy
    • 21. m4lit South Africa
        • A teen M-novel research project by Steve Vosloo, Ana Deumont and Dr. Marion Walton
        • Few people have leisure books (ca. 49%)
        • Impacts Academics
        • Mobile phone access and usage is high
        • Study combines, teens enjoyment of their phones, poor reading and writing, and social media participation
        • 50 teens (ages 14-16) from Langa and Guguletu
        • Kontax: 21 chapters, 1 chapter was released each day ( see ) 
        • Based on Japanese mobile novel project
    • 22. m4lit South Africa (con't)
        • Huge success with these students
        • Discussed the novel
        • Some reported getting up earlier to read
        •   Not all perfect:
          • Fear that txtspk will impact the reading and writing skills.
        • Hope to do more m-novels in the future, that are closely related to curriculum
    • 23. Capacity Building
        • Several projects on capacity building for the technology,  development, delivery and management of online learning:
          • ACEP in ODeL
          • Southern African Development Community Secretariat (SADC)
    • 24. Tip of the Iceburg
        • WebCT at the University of Botswana and elsewhere
        • E-Learning courses for students at University of Nairobi, Strathmore University (Kenya), Private universities as well as public
        • Advanced Certificate in Education (U of Pretoria)
          • Aimed for teachers
          • Similar programs in Ghana, Botswana
        • Mediterranean Charter for Internet Use (ann. 2010)
          • Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Mauritania
          • France, Spain, Italy, Malta and Portugal
        • Online 
    • 25. Other Thoughts
        • Africa jumped ahead of North America in mobile adoption because it had no land lines to fall back on. Is a straight adoption of technology the best?
        • Many online materials text based, but literacy is not universal everywhere. What are the implications for cultures new to a writing tradition? 
        • Cooperation between institutions - common in Africa, but not always in North America. 
    • 26. Remember....Anything can be fixed Image Courtesy Flickr user Nchanga