Let's ban malls! Rethinking cellphones in education


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Presented at NAPTOSA Principals Conference, 31 July 2009, Johannesburg

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  • Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for the invitation to speak to you. I want to be provocative today, to hear your ideas about cellphones ... and challenge them. Please be honest, critical, but above all, open-minded.
  • First ... Take out your cellphone Switch it on Switch off the sound
  • Source: Merryl Ford, Meraka, Presentation given at SAFIPA Conference, Pretoria, 8-10 July 2009
  • Source: Young South AfricAnS, BroAdcASt MediA, And hiV/AidS AwAreneSS: Results of a NatioNal suRvey by the Kaiser Family Foundation & SABC (MaRch 2007). http://www.kff.org/southafrica/7614.cfm
  • Young South AfricAnS, BroAdcASt MediA, And hiV/AidS AwAreneSS: Results of a NatioNal suRvey by the Kaiser Family Foundation & SABC (MaRch 2007). http://www.kff.org/southafrica/7614.cfm Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/whiteafrican/2735722117/sizes/m/ (CC)‏
  • Quote taken from Merryl Ford's presentation “ Dr Math – A mobile tutoring platform for Africa?” at the SAFIPA conference, Pretoria, 8-10 June 2009
  • It's mobile Online access: 1bn (source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10149534-93.html )‏ Mobile access: 4bn (source: http://www.thetelecom.co.uk/20081001/un-4bn-mobile-users-by-2009/ ) Image of mobile phone by ICT4D.at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ict4d/3000017623/sizes/l/ CC-BY-SA-2.0
  • I'm not paid to speak about MXit. I don't like everything about it, or some of the ways in which it is used. But it is very popular ... and a very powerful tool (as we'll see) ... so it is a useful topic to start the conversation about cellphones, young people and education. So, how many of you are on MXit? How many have seen MXit? How many ban MXit? How many ban cellphones at schools?
  • Chigona, W., & Chigona, A. (2008). MXit Up in The Media: Media Discourse Analysis on a Mobile Instant Messanging System. The Southern African Journal of Information and Communication, issue 9. Available at: http://www.sajic.org.za/index.php/SAJIC/article/view/193/123 Conducted media discourse analysis on MXit: 24 newspaper articles: 2006 – 2008 Obtained from newspaper portals – Sunday Times, Mail and Guardian, www.iol.co.za Searched using keyword “MXit”
  • 9/11: A real evil of the 21 st century. Source:Slagheap http://www.flickr.com/photos/slagheap/132105494/sizes/l/ CC-BY-SA-2.0
  • Source:Slagheap http://www.flickr.com/photos/slagheap/132105774/sizes/l/in/photostream/ CC-BY-SA-2.0
  • Burning village painting at encampment for Darfur - a real evil of the 21 st century. Source: FutureAtlas.com http://www.flickr.com/photos/87913776@N00/3027044247/sizes/l/ CC-BY-2.0
  • Source: Namibia: Substance Abuse a Growing Concern, New Era newspaper, 14 July, 2009, Catherine Sasman. Available at: http://www.newera.com.na/article.php?articleid=5474
  • Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/coda/161946841/sizes/l/ , CC
  • Symptoms of moral panic: Media sensationalisation of stories Politicians join band wagon (e.g. Leader of ID)‏ Call for legislation to control
  • Let's look at 6 educational projects where cellphones are being used for “good”
  • This is conversation between a university tutor and grade 7 learner, happening via mobile instant messaging. See: http://innovatingeducation.wordpress.com/conference-notes/schools-ict-conference-2008-notes/ Text for the image: Butgereit, L. (2007). Math on MXit: Using MXit as a Medium for Mathematics Education. Presented at Meraka INNOVATE Conference for Educators, CSIR, Pretoria, 18-20 April 2007. http://researchspace.csir.co.za/dspace/handle/10204/1614
  • The first MXit competition: When a learner enters the competition, she sees the current TopScore Learner would be given 10 calculations If the learner bettered or tied the existing TopScore, then this learner would become the new TopScore The deposed TopScore is sent a message saying that he or she was deposed and was invited back to defend the title Source: Merryl Ford's presentation “ Dr Math – A mobile tutoring platform for Africa?” at the SAFIPA conference, Pretoria, 8-10 June 2009
  • Text Adventure Games Participant works through a maze of puzzles Instead of magic wands and keys, various calculations would be written on the wall, the dust, etc. The results of these calculations would open digital safes, digital keypads, and remote controls Source: Merryl Ford's presentation “ Dr Math – A mobile tutoring platform for Africa?” at the SAFIPA conference, Pretoria, 8-10 June 2009
  • Source: Merryl Ford's presentation “ Dr Math – A mobile tutoring platform for Africa?” at the SAFIPA conference, Pretoria, 8-10 June 2009
  • Some project stats: * Nokia 6300 phones used (entry level phone)‏ * 43 mini videos (2-3 mins long) loaded onto phones (taken from existing Mindset digital content). Interesting finding: the girls wanted more videos. After watching 3 minute video they asked: “Where is more?” This counters the original assumption that only short mobile movies will retain user attention. * 3 “mobisode” (mobile episode) animations. * 2 games: o An overt maths problem solving game o An implicit business development simulation game * All curriculum aligned * Grade 10 girls: 20 got phones, 20 in control group who didn’t get phones * 6 month project Initial results of the project: * Exceptionally high usage of the games and video clips by the learners. * Problem solving is collaborative. When stuck with a problem, the kids asked each other and their siblings. * “Teacher in my pocket”. Refs: M4Girls and Innovating Education
  • Images source: Riitta Vänskä (Nokia) / Lucky Masilela (NSN)
  • Tip: Depending on the number of cellphones available, you can run class projects (1 phone per class), group projects (1 phone per class group) and inidividual projects (each learner has their own phone). When working in a group using a mobile phone, 3 people is the ideal number.
  • Diagram: Adele Botha Teachers image source: Riitta Vänskä (Nokia) / Lucky Masilela (NSN)
  • Another Marlon Parker project in Cape Town
  • We know that teens need to read and write more. We know that kids are reading and writing through SMS and chat all the time. Can we guide them towards “good literature”?
  • Rin, 21, wrote a mobile phone novel, with 400,000 hardcover sales. Photo: The New York Times http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/mobile-phone-novels-ring-up-big-sales-but-critics-fear-forjapanese-literature/2008/01/22/1200764265347.html
  • Image source: © Strika Entertainment http://www.supastrikas.co.za/upload/image/image_name/4472_WP_SupaStrikas%5B117%5D_small.jpg Image source: © Copyright 2005 New Africa Books. All Rights Reserved.
  • RE Inclusion: Not everyone has a cellphone. Does every learner have a text book? For an interesting viewpoint on TXTSPK, read 2b or not 2b? by David Crystal: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/jul/05/saturdayreviewsfeatres.guardianreview He reminds us that using non-standard language is nothing new, e.g. wot and cos were introduced into the Oxford English Dictionary in 1829. TXTSPK forces people to write economically, inventively and playfully.
  • Don't ban ... engage, experiment. You might conclude: “I don't like everything about it, but I love certain parts of it!”
  • Source: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/technology/teachers-urged-to-rethink-mobile-phone-ban-20090623-cv80.html
  • Source: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/technology/teachers-urged-to-rethink-mobile-phone-ban-20090623-cv80.html
  • Let's ban malls! Rethinking cellphones in education

    1. 1. Presented at NAPTOSA, 31 July 2009, South Africa Let's ban malls! <ul><ul><li>Steve Vosloo, Shuttleworth Foundation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rethinking cellphones in education </li></ul></ul>
    2. 2. <ul><li>3 things </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile revolution </li></ul><ul><li>Media hype vs real examples </li></ul><ul><li>Rethink </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>Africa is mobile </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile subscribers to fixed lines = 15:1 </li></ul><ul><li>Fastest growing market in the world </li></ul><ul><li>“ There isn’t a digital divide in Africa, there is a digital difference” (Adele Botha)‏ </li></ul>
    4. 4. Cellphone ownership in SA <ul><ul><ul><li>(Kaiser Family Foundation & SABC, 2007)‏ </li></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Rural access in SA <ul><li>Computer at home: 2% </li></ul><ul><li>Have a cellphone: 62% </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Kaiser Family Foundation & SABC, 2007)‏ </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>Merryl Ford (2009)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>“ The cellphone is poised to become the 'PC of Africa'” </li></ul>
    7. 9. What is MXit? <ul><li>A mobile instant messaging (MIM) system </li></ul><ul><li>Chatting, games, content </li></ul><ul><li>South African (works on all networks)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>14m users </li></ul><ul><li>Social and cheap! </li></ul>
    8. 10. What the people and papers say <ul><li>Analysis of 24 newspaper articles: 2006 – 2008 </li></ul>
    9. 11. MXit ... <ul><li>Is addictive (27 times)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Exposes children to pornography (13 times)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>“ Is a hunting ground for perverse predators intent on luring children into their clutches.” </li></ul>
    10. 12. MXit ... <ul><li>Is a drug </li></ul><ul><li>“ Its’ a starting point for a lot of problems” (The Star)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Is evil </li></ul><ul><li>“ MXit is one of the major evils of the 21st Century” (Cape Argus)‏ </li></ul>
    11. 16. MXit ... <ul><li>“ Sordid Sex scare on cellphone chat system” (Weekend Post)‏ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>20 year old woman leaves partner and child for a new lover she met on MXit. New love doesn’t work, comes back. She finds new lover again, leaves again </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Teen cocaine parties are organized through MXit (Mail & Guardian)‏ </li></ul>
    12. 17. From New Era, Namibia <ul><li>Namibia's youth are becoming addicted to alcohol, crack cocaine, heroine ... </li></ul><ul><li>... and cellphones </li></ul><ul><li>“ Another – more conspicuous but less fretted about – addiction among the youth, said Adams, is the all pervasive use of mobile phones, and Facebook where youngsters insult and expose each other.” </li></ul>
    13. 18. The mall is ground zero of evil <ul><li>Teens having sex in the mall - they meet via MXit </li></ul><ul><li>“ I blame MXit, because these teenagers are meeting their contacts here and that’s when things go out of hand” (Security guard of a mall)‏ </li></ul>
    14. 19. So ... let's ban malls!
    15. 20. And MXit too ... <ul><li>If MXit is not banned “we’ll lose our future generation … we will surely damage the social fabric of society” (High School Principal -- Cape Argus)‏ </li></ul>
    16. 21. Study conclusion <ul><li>Parents, principals, et al. are talking about a generic conceptualisation of MXit which includes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MIMs (e.g. Mig33, Noknok, etc.)‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Broad range of mobile applications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The entire cellphone </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Moral panic </li></ul>
    17. 22. Why? <ul><li>Mobile applications have created a space over which parents and educators have little or no control </li></ul><ul><li>“ Scapegoating” – blaming social ills on something </li></ul><ul><li>... We must ban it! ... </li></ul>
    18. 23. Ban? <ul><li>Are we throwing the baby out with the bath water? </li></ul><ul><li>What if ... </li></ul><ul><li>... cellphones really can support, enable and improve teaching and learning, assessment and administration? </li></ul><ul><li>... we engage and experiment? </li></ul><ul><li>... we eat the meat and spit out the bones? </li></ul>
    19. 24. <ul><li>mLearning examples </li></ul><ul><li>Tutoring </li></ul>
    20. 25. Dr Math on MXit <ul><li>Started in January, 2007 by Meraka Institute / Mobi LED </li></ul><ul><li>Provides tutors to help with mathematics homework on cellphones </li></ul><ul><li>Over 5,500 pupils have used the service </li></ul><ul><li>Tutors help approximately 50 pupils per hour </li></ul><ul><li>Service runs from 14:00 – 22:00, Sunday - Thursday </li></ul><ul><li>Tutoring mostly done in English, but some Afrikaans cases are occurring </li></ul><ul><li>Learners contact Dr Math from their homes, while on buses, taxis and on the sports field. Even from the bath! </li></ul>
    21. 27. dr.math: What grade are you in? what are you covering in math? Spark plug: 7 dr.math: grade 7? Spark plug: yes dr.math: Are you doing &quot;pre algebra&quot; stuff like What is the value of X if x + 3 = 10? Spark plug: yes dr.math: Ok, so what is the value of x if x + 3 = 10? Spark plug: 7 dr.math: Ok. how about (15 x 2 ) + x = 35 Spark plug: 5 dr.math: (I am going to use * for multiply so not to confuse it with x, ok?)‏ Spark plug: ok dr.math: (2 * x) + 8 = 18 Spark plug: 5 dr.math: Very good. can you explain to me how you figured that out? Spark plug: 18 - 8 is 10 so 2* what is 10 and the answer is 5 dr.math: Excellent.
    22. 28. <ul><li>mLearning examples </li></ul><ul><li>Games </li></ul>
    23. 29. Dr Math competitions <ul><li>Addition </li></ul><ul><li>Subtraction </li></ul><ul><li>Multiplication </li></ul><ul><li>Division </li></ul><ul><li>BODMAS </li></ul><ul><li>Prime factors of a number </li></ul><ul><li>Root of a straight line </li></ul><ul><li>Intersection of two straight lines </li></ul><ul><li>Factors of a quadratic </li></ul><ul><li>Real roots of a quadratic </li></ul>
    24. 31. Dr Math results <ul><li>Learners would compete many times a day </li></ul><ul><li>Learners would regularly come back to defend their title </li></ul><ul><li>Learners often did hundreds of calculations to maintain their title as champion </li></ul><ul><li>Learners often competed until the early hours of the morning </li></ul><ul><li>Learners often changed their MXit nick names to more socially acceptable names after they won (PIMP(*)STAR -> Qun of Maths -> smartyCAT)‏ </li></ul>
    25. 32. M4Girls project <ul><li>Improve maths in grade 10 rural girls (by Mindset / Nokia)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Nokia 6300's loaded with: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>43 mini videos, 3 “mobisode” animations, 2 games </li></ul></ul>
    26. 33. <ul><li>mLearning examples </li></ul><ul><li>Quizzes and assessment </li></ul>
    27. 35. “ Imfundo Yami/Yethu” <ul><li>Nokia / MXit / DoE </li></ul><ul><li>Improve high school maths through drill-and-practise quizzes </li></ul><ul><li>2 month pilot with 260 learners </li></ul>
    28. 36. Learning Management System
    29. 41. Imfundo Yami/Yethu results <ul><li>Visits per day: 991 </li></ul><ul><li>Total questions answered: 13,192 </li></ul><ul><li>Learners really liked the combination of chat and learning maths </li></ul><ul><li>Learners were doing many more exercises than usual </li></ul><ul><li>Learners were studying maths A LOT after school hours </li></ul>
    30. 42. <ul><li>mLearning examples </li></ul><ul><li>Peer support </li></ul>
    31. 43. Drug, abuse and debt counseling
    32. 44. <ul><li>mLearning examples </li></ul><ul><li>Information dissemination </li></ul>
    33. 45. Angels on MXit: HIV/AIDS info
    34. 46. <ul><li>mLearning examples </li></ul><ul><li>Literacy development </li></ul>
    35. 49. Reading/writing on cellphone <ul><li>Story: 14-16 years, ESL </li></ul><ul><li>Serialised m-novel: 21 days = 21 chapters (400 words per chapter)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Vote, comment, discuss, write </li></ul><ul><li>Weekly prizes: best comment </li></ul><ul><li>Competition: write the sequel </li></ul><ul><li>Launching 30 September! Email [email_address] to be reminded </li></ul>
    36. 50. But ... <ul><li>Need to manage risks: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Distraction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Cyberbullying” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Effects of TXTSPK on spelling/formal writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Too much “screen time” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inappropriate content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Privacy/safety </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Costs, sustainability, inclusion, scale, equity, etc. </li></ul>
    37. 51. <ul><li>Challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Think beyond the computer lab </li></ul><ul><li>Don't ban ... engage, experiment </li></ul><ul><li>Work together to find solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Rethink cellphones </li></ul>
    38. 53. Zambian principals and teachers <ul><li>“ I only thought of a mobile phone as a communication tool, which is why we don’t allow them in the classroom. Now I understand that they can be used as a learning tool and can support our teaching process.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I can now text assignments to learners, and also my reflections on their assignments.” </li></ul>
    39. 55. Zambian principals and teachers <ul><li>“ I’ve learned that I don’t have to be the expert with the phone — I don’t have to be an expert to be in control. I can identify key learners who can help me and other learners with their phones.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I didn’t know that a cellphone could be used to take a video and send that to another person. I didn’t know that I could blue-something [bluetooth] a picture to a friend.” </li></ul>
    40. 57. Zambian principals and teachers <ul><li>“ If you use a cellphone in the classroom you make teaching and learning more interesting, because that is what excites the learners.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The children are ahead of us, they use cellphones all the time. The problem is the mindset of the older stakeholders: teachers, parents and the general community.” </li></ul>
    41. 59. Zambian principals and teachers <ul><li>“ I’ve learned that cellphones are as powerful to use as computers.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ It is quicker to access information on the internet through cellphones than on PCs.” </li></ul>
    42. 61. Rethink <ul><li>“ We haven’t really sat down and really thought about, 'Is this an important tool?' A lot of us are still thinking this is just a mobile phone and a mobile phone is for talking and this should not be in class” (Aiden McCarthy)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>The world is changing. Is education? </li></ul>
    43. 62. Thank you <ul><li>email: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>blog: innovatingeducation.wordpress.com </li></ul><ul><li>slides: www.slideshare.net/stevevosloo </li></ul><ul><li>web: www.vosloo.net </li></ul><ul><li>twitter: www.twitter.com/stevevosloo </li></ul>
    44. 63. mLearning Africa News, projects and research about mobile learning in Africa www.mlearningafrica.net Contact: [email_address]