Posted by: mafrican | October 1, 2010

Can Africa leapfrog and lead in mobile learning?

Over the past few days I attended Education Week 2010 in Johannesburg. What was quite interesting was that everyone was talking about the urgent need to integrate technology into teaching and learning, but what they actually meant by “technology” was “computers”. Over the last 4 years, CSIR Meraka Institute has done it’s utmost to try to change this mindset, so that the cellphone can be seen as a viable technology device for teaching and learning, both inside and outside the classroom. We’ve had our challenges, but on the whole, we’ve shown that not only is it viable, but it’s the way all learning will eventually go. We believe that it’s an opportunity for Africa to both leapfrog and lead!

The introduction of the $100 Ideos Google/Huawei cell phone might just be the catalyst that we’ve been waiting for. While many of our mobile learning pilots (e.g. MobilED audio wiki) have looked at innovative ways to use cell phones in the classroom, they’ve largely focused on basic and feature phones. With the possibility of an affordable smartphone in the hands of every learner in South Africa, the sky’s the limit! So we’re in the process of taking out our thinking caps and daring to imagine a “One Smartphone per Child” world…

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