From zero to hero - Is the mobile phone a viable learning tool for Africa?
From zero to hero - Is the mobile phone a viable learning tool for Africa? is a 2007 conference paper written in English by Ford M., Batchelor J. and published in IMSCI 2007 - International Multi-Conference on Society, Cybernetics and Informatics, Proceedings.
In many countries mobile phones are being banned from schools amidst growing concerns regarding their inappropriate use during school hours. However, the mobile phone is the de-facto most important networked knowledge exchange technology used in Africa and the most powerful universally-accessible computing device in the hands of Africans. How do we change the perception of the mobile phone as a disruptive influence in schools to one where it can be used to pragmatically support the learning process? MobilED (Mobile EDucation) is a 3-year international collaborative project aimed at creating meaningful learning environments using mobile phone technologies and services. The MobilED project was initiated in South Africa and the first two pilots consisted of exploratory research into the use of mobile phones in an advantaged private school and in a poor government school in Tshwane, South Africa. This paper examines the viability of the mobile phone as a learning tool in schools in Africa by using the MobilED project as a case study. It discusses the current anti-mobile phone situation in many schools in South Africa and suggests possible strategies to harness the potential of the mobile phone in practical ways as a pedagogically-appropriate learning tool in schools in Africa.
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