m4Lit A teen m-novel project in South Africa


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Interim presentation of a project-in-progress given mLearn, Orlando, Florida, 30 October 2009

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  • National Survey into the Reading and Book Reading Behaviour of Adult South Africans (PICC, 2006) http://www.saccd.org.za/objects/sabdc_reading.pdf
  • 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
  • In the paper referenced in the slide, as well as in Jenkins' book Convergence Culture he presents the idea of a participatory culture, where people want to create and share information, and not just passively consume it. Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century. Retrieved October 31, 2007, from http://www.digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF Image of Henry Jenkins by Joi Ito: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joi/2258124778/sizes/l/ . CC-By-2.0 Pew study from 2005: one-half of all teens have created media content, and roughly one third of teens who use the Internet have shared content they produced. That figure is now much higher. The United States is a PC-based web society, so the experience is in rich multimedia
  • m4Lit A teen m-novel project in South Africa

    1. 1. Presented at mLearn, Orlando, Florida 30 October 2009 m4Lit A teen m-novel project in South Africa (Interim presentation of a project-in-progress) <ul><ul><li>Steve Vosloo, Shuttleworth Foundation </li></ul></ul>
    2. 2. <ul><li>Agenda </li></ul><ul><li>Rationale for m4Lit project </li></ul><ul><li>Research design </li></ul><ul><li>Kontax , an m-novel </li></ul><ul><li>kontax.mobi </li></ul>
    3. 3. Lack of printed books in SA <ul><li>51% of South African households own no leisure books </li></ul><ul><li>Just 6% of households have more than 40 titles on their bookshelves (PICC, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Impacts negatively on leisure reading and school performance – from pre-school to secondary school </li></ul><ul><li>In general: not enough reading and writing </li></ul><ul><li>Highly differentiated across class </li></ul>
    4. 4. The (mobile) time is right <ul><li>Good infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Good coverage (better than Silicon valley) </li></ul><ul><li>High uptake of phones </li></ul><ul><li>Cheap data </li></ul><ul><li>MXit: mobile IM service (13m users in SA) </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile web access on the rise in the townships (Donner and Gitau, 2009; Kreutzer, 2009) </li></ul>
    5. 5. Mobile literacies <ul><li>The rise of txtspk </li></ul><ul><li>In SA, popular language and literacies are adapting to mobile use (Deumert and Masinyana, 2008; Deumert, Klein and Masinyana, 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>m-Novels in Japan </li></ul>
    6. 7. <ul><li>Participatory culture: </li></ul><ul><li>Don't just consume, but also create, share and remix content (Jenkins et al., 2006 ) </li></ul><ul><li>Digital and social media are enabling this </li></ul><ul><li>Not much known about this in SA </li></ul>
    7. 8. New Literacy Studies <ul><li>Literacy is seen not only as a technique (the ability to read and write), but as a social practice which always takes place within specific contexts (cf. Street, 1993; Barton and Hamilton, 1998) </li></ul><ul><li>Many SA children encounter computers only in the context of the circumscribed classroom practices associated with school literacy (Walton, 2007; Prinsloo and Walton, 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile literacy is different </li></ul>
    8. 9. “They just don't read” <ul><li>Teens don't read enough </li></ul><ul><li>Teens don't write enough </li></ul><ul><li>Teens love their cellphones </li></ul><ul><li>What can we do with this? </li></ul>Lack of printed books in SA (Mobile) time is right Mobile literacies Participatory culture New Literacy Studies ?
    9. 10. m4Lit is born <ul><li>“Mobiles for literacy” project goals: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To explore whether teens are interested in reading stories on their cellphones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whether and how they write using their cellphones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whether cellphones might be used to change their attitudes towards reading and writing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Explore m-novels as a compliment and alternative to printed literature </li></ul>
    10. 11. Research design <ul><li>Working with Assoc Prof Ana Deumert, Dr Marion Walton (co-authors of paper) and Assoc Prof Mastin Prinsloo (all UCT): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>50 teens from Langa and Guguletu (low-income urban “townships”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>14-16 year olds who own/have daily access to GPRS-enabled mobile phones </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-story survey </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Technology use observation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Post-story survey </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Post-story focus group </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mobisite usage data </li></ul></ul>
    11. 12. Kontax: a teen m-novel <ul><li>www.kontax.mobi (GPRS-enabled phones or computer browser) </li></ul><ul><li>Aimed at 14-16 year olds </li></ul><ul><li>Written in English and isiXhosa (world first) </li></ul><ul><li>21 days, 21 chapters </li></ul><ul><li>Embedded in a lite social network </li></ul><ul><li>Prizes for comments and sequel ideas </li></ul>
    12. 15. <ul><li>WARNING! </li></ul><ul><li>Raw data to follow – do not quote! </li></ul>
    13. 16. Page views (excl. chapters)
    14. 17. Time per visit <ul><li>1-10 seconds 42,900 </li></ul><ul><li>10 – 60 seconds 159 </li></ul><ul><li>1 – 3 minutes 145 </li></ul><ul><li>3 - 10 minutes 173 </li></ul><ul><li>10 - 30 minutes 114 </li></ul><ul><li>> 30 minutes 53 </li></ul>
    15. 18. Page views per chapter
    16. 19. Comments by user
    17. 20. Comments per chapter
    18. 21. <ul><li>*What i like* </li></ul><ul><li>Kontax is the most exciting thing that i've ever experianced i mean im not holding heavy book anymore its me and my phone </li></ul><ul><li>*Gr8 idea* </li></ul><ul><li>I think this is the nxt best thng since sliced bread,cnt wait 4 the next chapter.its rly interestn,i cnt stand readn a novel bt this is diffrnt coz its jst lyk facebook </li></ul>
    19. 22. <ul><li>*The best thng* </li></ul><ul><li>kontax ths is the best thng that keping the youth connected on their phones doing sumthng very positiv nd very informative tacling the issues that we are dealing with as a youth </li></ul><ul><li>*Already kontax biggest fan !* </li></ul><ul><li>I must admit that i wake up extra early t0 read the chapters (blushing)i never use to go to the library but with kontax i feel like i have a library on my phone and its great , YAY ! </li></ul>
    20. 23. <ul><li>*Obrigado* </li></ul><ul><li>Congrats guys dt ws a gr8 story thnx 4 d infortainment i lrnt a lot 4rm u till we mt again. L8r! </li></ul><ul><li>(On Song's Wall) </li></ul><ul><li>Hey grl...curently im sitn wita br0ken ankl so i fl ur pain...lets gt thr0ugh ths 2gtha;-) </li></ul>
    21. 24. Risks/challenges/questions <ul><li>Not all teens will like the story </li></ul><ul><li>Cost may prohibit access </li></ul><ul><li>Teens are already reading and writing when chatting </li></ul><ul><li>Potential harm of txtspk on learners not strong in English </li></ul>
    22. 25. FAQ <ul><li>Read the story later? Yes, it'll stay up till next year </li></ul><ul><li>Cost? Content is free. Pay for mobile data (USD 1c/chapter) </li></ul><ul><li>Project report due date? December 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Licensing? CC-BY-SA. You can share, remix & sell it </li></ul><ul><li>Can I use the mobisite? Yes, it will be released as open-source in Dec/Jan </li></ul><ul><li>What's next? Maybe a sequel, maybe some curriculum-aligned titles </li></ul>
    23. 26. Thank you <ul><li>m4Lit: m4lit.wordpress.com </li></ul><ul><li>email: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>blog: innovatingeducation.wordpress.com </li></ul><ul><li>slides: slideshare.net/stevevosloo </li></ul><ul><li>twitter: twitter.com/stevevosloo </li></ul><ul><li>web: vosloo.net </li></ul>