Meeting the networking needs of the pan-African eLearning and distance
education sector, the annual eLearning Africa conference is the key
networking venue for practitioners and professionals from Africa and all over
This year eLearning Africa will showcase a wealth of proposals that promise
to stimulate thought and discussion. Many of the proposals focus on the
affordability, sustainability and pedagogical integration of ICTs in ways that
can improve the chances of African youth to learn, live and find employment.
Cheryl Brown from the University of Cape Town, South
Africa will present the results of her seven-year research project on
South African university students and their range of ICT
experiences. She will share her findings about ‘digital
strangers’ who lacked any previous ICT access and experience upon
entering university life.
Daniel Lugudde Kakinda from SchoolNet
Uganda will discuss how the integration of 21st century
pedagogy with sexuality education has made the topic more engaging for
African youth. This project draws on sexuality education curricula based on
informed practice in schools and among teachers and health educators across the
Mobile learning in health, education and agriculture is a
rapidly emerging phenomenon in Africa, and it occupies a prominent position at
eLearning Africa this year. Arndt Bubenzer from
Common Sense in Austria and Denis Mazali,
University of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania,
will discuss their partnership with the Tanzanian health sector to develop a
mobile learning application which enables story telling
in text, multimedia and audio formats and has content created
by regional experts and speakers in local languages via an online
authoring interface. Ryan Littman-Quinn from
Botswana-UPenn Partnership discusses how smart-phone
tele-mentoring has extended access to medical knowledge to physicians
and trainee physicians, enabling point-of-care clinical decision making.
A number of papers will address gender equality and women’s
empowerment through the use of ICTs. Françoise Bibiane
Yoda from Réseau Femmes en Action, Burkina Faso will
show us how networks and communities provide access to information and
knowledge, thereby empowering women and challenging poverty in rural areas.
Olukunle Daramola from Development
Empowerment and Awareness Centre (DEAC), Nigeria will
reveal the findings of his study on awareness and knowledge of
eBusiness among women in Nigeria’s Edo State. He will suggest
that, despite their access to ICTs and tertiary education, women remain
marginalized from mainstream commercial and economic empowerment.
This year we will pay attention to nurturing the growth of African
research and encourage conversation on eLearning theory. We will
feature a dedicated ‘research stream,’ which promises an
intellectually-rich contribution to African knowledge production on ICTs in
For example, Alaba Agbatogun from Nigeria,
who is based at the University of Edinburgh, UK, will highlight the importance
of teacher preparedness in the educational use of interactive technologies.
Based on a sample of 17 Nigerian primary school teachers and
their use of a Personal Response System (PRS) in classrooms where English is a
second language, his study examines teacher attitudes in classroom practice. His
findings provide thought-provoking insights into the relationship
between the authentic contexts of teachers and their
integration of technologies in teaching and learning.
The school sector has always led the way in the integration of ICTs in
learning, teaching and education management. Alioune Moustapha
Diouf from FASTEF-UCAD, Senegal will share his
research findings and recommendations on school governance in six
Francophone African countries.
A substantial number of proposals submitted in response to the Call for
Papers focussed on the growth of the Open Education Resources
(OER) movement globally and in Africa. These include current research
and policy guidelines on OERs. In view of the popularity of OERs as an issue,
the eLearning Africa Debate will provide the platform for
argument about the controversies at the heart of the OER enterprise.
Intellectual property rights are just one of these contentious issues.
Open source software features highly on our agenda this year
as many proposals share ideas on tools, solutions and research findings.
Mark James Leclair from Farm Radio International,
Canada will talk about how he uses the Open Source
Learning Management System Moodle, to train radio broadcasters in rural
areas in Africa. He will discuss the value of agriculture broadcasting in Africa
and show how this extends the reach of information and knowledge on low cost
farm methods to increase food supplies among Africa’s small scale farmers.
These are only some of the ‘tanzanite’ submissions among the many high
quality proposals we received. We hope that this exciting agenda, together with
the new networks and communities that will be forged at the conference, will
help to ensure that eLearning Africa makes a real contribution towards improving
the prospects of young people in Africa.