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Beyond the computer lab: Rethinking ICT for education


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Presented at the 3rd Annual Education Conference in Southern Africa, in Johannesburg on 4 March 2009.

Published in: Education

Beyond the computer lab: Rethinking ICT for education

  1. 1. Beyond the computer lab: Rethinking ICT for education <ul><ul><li>Steve Vosloo </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fellow, 21 st century learning </li></ul></ul>Presented at 3rd Annual Education Conference Johannesburg, 4 March 2009
  2. 2. <ul><li>The growing disconnect </li></ul><ul><li>Digital lives of learners </li></ul><ul><li>Bridging the disconnect: </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile learning / Games </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>“ There is now an extraordinary contrast between the high levels of activity that characterise children's consumer cultures and the passivity that increasingly suffuses their schooling.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Buckingham, 2003 ) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Classroom vs the world <ul><li>Formal & structured </li></ul><ul><li>Top-down </li></ul><ul><li>Passive </li></ul><ul><li>Disengaged </li></ul><ul><li>Un-networked & disconnected </li></ul><ul><li>CAMI & Powerpoint </li></ul><ul><li>MCQs & simple creations </li></ul><ul><li>30 mins/week </li></ul><ul><li>Informal & fluid </li></ul><ul><li>Bottom-up </li></ul><ul><li>Active </li></ul><ul><li>Engaged </li></ul><ul><li>Networked & plugged-in </li></ul><ul><li>MXit/Facebook, games, web </li></ul><ul><li>Communication, play & exploration </li></ul><ul><li>Up to 2 hours/day </li></ul>
  5. 5. Classroom vs the world
  6. 6. <ul><li>“ ICT in schools is predicated on the ‘top-down’ understanding that we know how children should be learning from technology rather than seeking to learn from their existing practices.” </li></ul><ul><li>( Their Space , 2007) </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Cellphones </li></ul>
  8. 8. Media access and use
  9. 9. Cellphone ownership and use
  10. 10. Rural access <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>
  11. 11. Cellular South Africa <ul><li>BratTrax (2005/06) study: ages 7-15: </li></ul><ul><li>High increase in cell phone ownership among all age groups from 2003 – 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>All age groups recorded a high usage of SMS, with voice services and game playing increasing </li></ul><ul><li>Children of all ages aspire to the have the newest model of handset </li></ul><ul><li>Children mostly download ringtones, logos, games </li></ul><ul><li>Large difference in cell phone ownership among income groups </li></ul>
  12. 12. MXit <ul><li>Claim 10 million subscribers </li></ul><ul><li>250m messages/day </li></ul><ul><li>Subscribers profile: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>0-11 years: 2% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>11-14 years: 8% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>15-18 years: 26% </li></ul></ul><ul><li>School-age youth on MXit: 3.6m </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Gaming </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>“ ... even the harshest critics agree that we learn something from playing video games. The question is: how can we use the power of video games as a constructive force in schools, homes, and at work?” </li></ul><ul><li>Shaffer, Squire, Halverson, Gee (2005) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Play <ul><li>Earliest forms of learning (Vygotsky) </li></ul><ul><li>Try, fail, experiment / “die and do over” </li></ul><ul><li>Experiential & immersive </li></ul><ul><li>Highly engaging </li></ul><ul><li>Motivating </li></ul><ul><li>Theory of situated learning – “learning to be” </li></ul>
  16. 16. Learning through games? <ul><li>Ecology of games: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategy, dialogue, mentoring </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Communities of practice: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>News, FAQs, discussion forums </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Develop community social practices </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>“ We don’t learn from games, we learn through them.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ In SA, gaming can be used as a learning tool when it is conceived and designed as the vehicle that provides the opportunity for social dialogue in a learning activity.” </li></ul><ul><li>Alan Amory (2008) </li></ul>
  18. 18. Learning through games? <ul><li>Experiment with identities </li></ul><ul><li>The harder the better </li></ul><ul><li>Gee's 36 learning principles of good games (2004) </li></ul><ul><li>Form of problem solving </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>“ In some sense, a game is nothing but a set of problems. We're actually selling people problems for 40 bucks a pop ...” </li></ul><ul><li>Will Wright (Jenkins 2005) </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Digital lives: social networks, pop culture </li></ul><ul><li>Participatory culture </li></ul><ul><li>Cellphones and gaming </li></ul><ul><li>What to do? </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>Engage </li></ul><ul><li>(don't have to embrace) </li></ul><ul><li>Use the ICT in their hands </li></ul><ul><li>Enable participation </li></ul><ul><li>Use pop culture to achieve educational goals </li></ul>
  22. 22. Dr Math on MXit <ul><li>Dr Math is a maths tutoring service to school learners that uses MXit </li></ul><ul><li>2-8pm, Sunday-Thursday, with some 20 tutors </li></ul><ul><li>3,200 learners have used service (from grade 3 up) </li></ul><ul><li>One tutor can help up to 100 learners per hour </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><ul><li>LATEST: Text-adventure game (interactive fiction) </li></ul>
  23. 23. 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 u 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.
  24. 24. M4Girls Project <ul><li>Improve maths in grade 10 rural girls (by Mindset) </li></ul><ul><li>43 mini videos, 3 “mobisode” animations, 2 games </li></ul>
  25. 25. Reading/writing cellphone <ul><li>Using the cellphone as a “book” delivery and authoring tool </li></ul><ul><li>Serialised m-novels: e.g. 28 chapters, 900 characters (Novel Idea) </li></ul><ul><li>Othello as an m-novel? </li></ul><ul><li>Effects of texting on literacy and language development? </li></ul>
  26. 26. Serious games <ul><li>“ Developed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment” (Wikipedia 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Education, training (military / commercial), health, public policy ... </li></ul><ul><li>Social change, content or language learning, raising awareness, cross-cultural sensitivity ... </li></ul>
  27. 27. Alternate reality game <ul><li>Think Sunday Times “Finders Keepers” but played collectively using web, email, SMS, voice, video, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative problem-solving </li></ul><ul><li>Skills: collective intelligence, judgement, transmedia navigation (Jenkins et al, 2006) </li></ul>
  28. 28. 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 </li></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>What do these things have in common? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Printing press </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Film </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rock 'n roll </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. So ... <ul><li>We must move beyond the lab </li></ul><ul><li>ICT for education must include the full gamut of ICT and media </li></ul>
  31. 31. Challenge <ul><li>To be open to new possibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Consider ways to exploit cellphone and gaming affordances to support teaching and learning, while limiting the distraction and risk factors </li></ul><ul><li>Only we can do this ... </li></ul>
  32. 32. Questions <ul><li>Thoughts on texting? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you see it in formal writing? </li></ul><ul><li>Gaming: prevalence amongst learners? </li></ul><ul><li>How can youth ICTs be used for teaching and learning? </li></ul>
  33. 33. Thank you <ul><li>Email </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Blog </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Slides </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>