Mobile Technologies for Learning and Development (XII). John Traxler: Mobiles for Learning in Africa…. Too Good to be True?

7 October, 2010
Notes from the UOC UNESCO Chair in e-Learning VII International Seminar: Mobile Technologies for Learning and Development, held in Casa Asia, Barcelona, Spain, on October 6-7, 2010. More notes on this event: eLChair10.

Mobiles for Learning in Africa…. Too Good to be True?
John Traxler, University of Wolverhampton, UK

Technology should address three kinds of problems, in this order:

  • Problems that are difficult;
  • problems that are impossible; and
  • problems that are inconceivable.

This in part means that solutions may not be extrapolated because most problems aren’t (mainly because of their context-dependent nature).

We also have to be aware that all technologies have embedded ideologies, and in this specific case contain embedded pedagogies. This might put in danger pre-existing (to our technological landing) learning communities or learning systems, communities or systems that may be fragile compared to the steamroller power of technology. Bottom-up developments are here replaced or impersonated by outside-in developments.

A deeper look at the local context, institutions, needs should be taking place. We’re looking at the sewer and the seeds, and not at the soil.

John Traxler quickly highlights here several examples of m-learning, open and distance learning in Africa. One of these projects is about an SMS-enabled Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) [which reminds me of an exchange of tweets that some of us had long ago about creating “FrontlineSMS:Edu”].

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