Hi Nompilo, you struck at the heart of the matter. Alice suggested that we need a platform for collaboration, and here is e/merge Africa. This is a cool platform on which we can collaborate. I have said it here many times that I am willing to provide any support that I can to anyone who is looking for an additional pair of eyes to look at their design, or the resource they have created.
In addition, it might help to create a space on this site where anyone with a need or a call can mention it and then the community can take it from there. What I am advocating is an extension of the Peer Assist program in a slightly twicked way without abandoning the generic Peer Assist process.
Forum Replies Created
Thanks Thula, Alice, and Carolynn. The matter of a collaborative platform and some incentives highlighted by Alice are key. But it’s hard to find such platforms. It is even harder to come up with incentives. More crucially, OERs and eLearning needn’t be large projects, such as the example cited by Alice. Creating single courses or even course modules of high quality should be possible, and it should also be possible, even in such small projects, to be able to collaborate and to get peer review and build in quality assurance mechanisms. That is where the real challenge lies. What is the way out?
Thanks Ephraim for your input. I like your first suggestion to forge inter-institutional links for collaboration and peer support. I am all for it. But, that is perhaps even more challenging to achieve than finding someone within the same institution to collaborate with. The truth is that academics generally do not like to collaborate. As a result, even when a few try to do so, the relationship is often tortuous, lacking a clear structure. But if I can find some who are willing to collaborate, I’ll gladly jump at the opportunity. And in these days of multidisciplinary knowledge, we needn’t be called by the same designation for us to mutually benefit in a collaborative project.
Regarding your second suggestion, yes, it is essential to influence institutional change. But this is a very difficult task. As more publicly funded institutions get less and less funding, administrators consider it a nightmare to consider a “new” proposal, no matter how beautiful, that may make demands on the alr day scarce resources.
And, yes. I look forward to the additional suggestions on how to motivate learners.
I face a number of quality challenges in online teaching and learning. 1. The challenge of finding colleagues who will collaborate in materials development. The ideal OER/eLearning resource should be collaboratively developed. That begins to assure quality. But in my context, it is difficult to find people who will collaborate in developing resources. The reason for this is that the primary institutional mode of instruction is the f2f didactic approach. In this mode, instructors do not need to quality assure the content they give to learners. Each person makes their notes and goes to the class. So, as an elearning practitioner who is trying to do blended learning, collaboration is difficult. 2. It is also difficult to find someone who will evaluate or critique what you have developed, for the same reason. Plus, instructors have a lot on their hands, and this course is assigned to you, not to them. So, why should they spend their precious time critiquing your developed resource? What is in it for them? 3. Regarding the learning design, the problem is worse. There are no skilled persons in design who can make sense of your design and offer comments for improvement. So you must make do with whatever you have designed and hope it works.
How do I keep my online learners motivated? I find that there are two ways of motivating learners. The first is to always locate and project the things that excite them. For instance, I teach English Language courses which are suitable for debates and discussions. So, I use the online discussion forums a lot. And I try to propose topics which I have found to be hot and interesting. For instance, in a Discourse Analysis course, I proposed a topic: “Are Women More Polite Than Men?” It was based on the views of some scholars including Deborah Tannen, a prominent scholar in the field. The response was explosive. Everyone wanted to have a bite.
Second, while not making myself a central figure in online discussions, I find that occasional comments that scaffold the learning process keep learners motivated. Learners are happy when they see an instructor’s comment suggesting that they are on the right track in their reasoning. Sometimes, these comments include gentle suggestions of other possible ways of looking at the matter. In this way, all feel that they are gaining something. Finally, I find that the reward system always works. Most learners won’t perform a task just for the sake of doing it. If they know they is some form of reward for it, they will feel motivated. So, where possible, I attach some score to successful completion of a task.
I am not sure about maximising the success of learners.
My name is Jerome, I teach using various technologies at the University of Jos, and I train colleagues within and outside my institution, providing support to enable them design their teaching in a way that incorporates appropriate technological tools for a better learning experience. In more recent times, I have especially been interested in how mobile devices which learners already posses and know how to manipulate, can be appropriated to enable more dynamic, more interactive and more engaged learning. I have been involved in a few exciting experiments with learners at various levels. So, I look forward to gaining from this seminar knowledge and skills that may help answer this question: “What kinds of teaching and learning can be achieved with mobile technologies, and what kinds of tools may be best suited for these?” I look forward to gaining insight into how the learning may be designed to activate the use of these technologies in a seamless, powerful way.
This is an exciting and provocative topic and question. First, there is no doubting the fact that mobile technologies provide a huge opportunity for providing access to education in sub-Saharan Africa. Major challenges which now exist, and which mobile technologies can be leveraged to provide solutions include poor power supply, unavailability (or where available, prohibitive costs of) reading resources, especially books, and increasingly, crises, which have proved damagingly disruptive.
With mobile technology, it is now possible to charge batteries during the slim window of power supply, or to use low cost power banks to keep mobile phones and tablets running. It is also possible to distribute high quality reading materials as pdf, even to those who have weak and inconsistent internet access. And, when violent crises disrupt the possibility of f2f contact, remote access through mobile technologies becomes truly a powerful and essential means of continuing with the learning process (I enjoyed this with my students during a recent crisis that led to a lockdown of the city for weeks).
But the question is, is this being realised in sub-Saharan Africa? Maybe I can talk about Nigeria, and by virtue of its population, what happens in Nigeria can be seen as a reflection of the situation in sub-Saharan Africa, at least. The answer is: not yet. The shift to technology enabled teaching and learning is slow, generally. And the leap to emerging technologies is even slower. A major reason is lack of training. There are no skills available to implement these approaches. And the attitude of most is that institutions or government should provide such mass training. This is something that will be difficult to achieve in the short term. So, although the potential is there, it is not yet being realised. However, there are pockets of individual, and sometimes institutional efforts being made across the landscape with good results. These efforts demonstrate both the viability of mobile learning technologies as part of an integral technology based learning approach as well as prove that if more practitioners and institutions take up the challenge, the impact will be significant.
I am excited about this seminar as it promises to reveal a lot regarding how educational institutions in Africa perceive social media in relation to their mission and vision. Perhaps we can reasonably infer from their use or non use, or from what they use social media for, how they view this media.
Is Africa’s mindset regarding social media different from the mindset in Europe and America? If so, why? Does the use of social media give universities some leverage in some ways? I am keen to find answers to some of these questions through the seminar presentation and interactions. Welcome everybody.
The subject of Social Media is of interest to many of us, chiefly because of the attitudes of many managers of education and practitioners alike. Whether this is pertains to adoption and use in teaching and learning, or use by corporate entities in Africa, there appear to be a lingering suspicion. So I look forward to learning, and sharing with others some of this conversation, and perhaps see ways in which we can better utilize this monster that just won’t go away. Social media is here to stay. We must find ways of utilizing it to benefit learning and to add visibility in the case of institutions.
Hi Nompilo, I am Jerome Terpase Dooga. I teach English at the University of Jos in Central Nigeria. I am passionate about technology integration in Education, especially higher education. Jos is known for its cool, breezy weather. But in the last few days, the dry season seems to be setting in, and this has increased the humidity, the intensity of the sun and the heat during the day. I am sitting in the study of my new house, and everywhere is serene, quiet and calm. Of course, I am connected through one of the mobile telecommunication providers. But, it’s fast enough to access. I look forward to this seminar.
Welcome Kola. It will be exciting to hear the stor(ies) from Ibadan. I am aware that Prof. Ayotola Aremu (who presented on this platform earlier in the year) is using technology for teaching, including social media. I know that quite a few other colleagues at that great institution are doing so too. So, I eagerly look forward to interacting with you as we engage this very contentious topic in African education.
I agree with you Robert. That is why we need to discuss the issue on this platform. Will it not be a defeat if we left the tools that our learners are more comfortable with, and forced them to use tools which we used in our days, which, as evidence clearly now shows, are more constraining? John Dewey’s now famous quote comes to mind: “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”
Thank you for the post Okokon, and the question. I am sure the community will provide useful suggestions. In the meantime, regarding the use of mobile technology, one source, the Conversation Africa Pilot observed that simply using mobile technology in the classroom does not guarantee a rise in comprehension or even the attention of students. It suggested that the following typses of mobile technology use would make sense:
• E-readers. Part of the issue with traditional textbooks is that they’re so quickly outdated, both regarding subject matter and which formats best reach readers. E-readers eliminate that issue and allow real-time updates that are useful to students and teachers immediately, not the next school year when the new textbook is released.
• Individual mobile modules. Within educational apps and games are options for individual student logins. This gives students the chance to work at their own pace, taking extra time in the areas where they need it most.
• Text-response programs. Websites that allow teachers to send homework or test questions to students via text, and then ask for responses, do result in a more interactive approach to learning. Most of the programs that facilitate this technology allow for real-time feedback on the answers, allowing students to learn from mistakes and put it all in context in the moment. Pew Research found that American teens send an average of 60 text messages per day, making this an effective way to reach students in a medium that is close to universally used. The OneVille Project has tracked teachers and their experiences with texting high school students and has found that students become more motivated to come to school and to complete work on time when they have text message access to teachers.
• Seamless cloud learning. Using mobile technology that is connected to the cloud means that students can transition from working in the classroom to working at home — or anywhere else — easily, as long as they have access to a phone, tablet or computer. This saves time and improves organizational skills for students. Source: The Conversation Africa Pilot http://theconversation.com/do-mobile-devices-in-the-classroom-really-improve-learning-outcomes-38740
My name is Jerome. I reside and work in the city of Jos on the tin mining plateau in central Nigeria. The weather here is cool. I have just relocated to an area of town where anxiety about electricity has reduced–somewhat. I teach with various technologies, including mobile technology and use such tools as social media to engage with learners. I look forward to enjoying a robust engagement with all on this issue.
If the argument is about vices, does the ban on the use of mobile devices in high schools prevent learners from using them? Does it make learners morally more pure? I read a recent article from Ghana on the related subject of social media. I will attach it here. Why can’t we utilize what learners have in their hands, what they (not us or government) have learned to use, to extend the possibilities of learning?
Attachments:You must be logged in to view attached files.