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eLearning Africa 2011 - Plenary Session


I have to blog this event, rather than twittering, because there is no open WiFi at the conference, nor can I use the Tanzanian data services on my mobile phone (although SMS and voice work). That's a pity, because I really like the immediacy and connecting power of Twitter.

The highlights of the plenary were dual:

Mike Trucano -- an exciting plenary speech about ICTs revolutionising education. In particular the push is toward being more accepting about technology of any shape size and form. He does push the mobile phone a little in his talk, but more as an antidote against prevailing views in educational circles. He also makes the very interesting point about ICTs enabling learning outside of school times, and also having social impacts that allow learning to bubble up from youths to their families. This is very important for "aware Yet?"

He poses some interesting questions: which technologies should one use? his answer: all of them. How can we innovate with what we have? This is an open question, he says and leaves us hanging. The importance of building content and community is unquestioned. He also says that the cool tool is not enough, because there will always be a cooler one coming soon enough. 

This also applies to software applications and features, and it really stresses the importance of open platforms and communities of development, so that an app does not stand still.

Mike also asks: What is __not__ happening in schools, that should be happening? - since ICT's are present everywhere, but there! He cites a number of initiatives around the world that do use ICTs, for instance, Uruguay.  It has apparently introduced total 1-to-1 computing. This sounds like a World Bank story, like those ITU stats that say that there is 100% penetration of mobile in SA.

What's left of the talk?   "More people have cell phones than have clean toilets."  So now you can send out information on how to construct and keep toilets clean using local resources... Don't you think?

Emmanuel Faruzi -- an interesting and very personal speech about Emmanuel's journey as an entrepreneur, which quite closely resembles my own. His background is in programming, mainly in South Africa and abroad, as it sounds. He left his well paying job and reached a now-or-never point, when his wife fell pregnant and he was busy starting up his business. Schooled well (in Zimbabwe) and coming from a middle class family which had earned its money through hard work. 

Posted: May 26th 2011 11:23

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