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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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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> </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> (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: </li></ul><ul><li>email: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>blog: </li></ul><ul><li>slides: </li></ul><ul><li>twitter: </li></ul><ul><li>web: </li></ul>