Reaching the potential of ICTs in African Higher Education Institutions: Lessons learned from the AVU Capacity Enhancement Program
The African Virtual University has been working to address some key issues that are hindering African universities from reaching the full potential of ICTs: i) access to open distance and eLearning contents, ii) lack of confident, skilled and knowledgeable staff to design, deliver and manage eLearning programs, iii) access to Bandwidth and reliable power, iv) access to IT equipment and educational technologies and v) formulation and implementation of IT policies, eLearning policies and Quality Assurance Mechanisms.
DIGITAL LEARNING ECOSYSTEMS: Authoring, Collaboration, Immersion and Mobility
The dissemination of digital technology in the past decades has made digital media part of children’s everyday life and can be used to support learning activities inside and outside schools in formal and informal situations. The design of such tools should consider learners’ access to technology in these different contexts. We propose a Digital Learning Ecosystem Model, which similarly to nature ecosystems consists of species, populations and communities interacting with each other and with the environment. The proposed model supports the analysis of four important learning tools’ aspects: authoring, collaboration, immersion and mobility. The model was applied to recently developed learning tools and pointed out their characteristics and how they can be extended.
Does Context Sensitive Instructional Design Really Matter?
ICT professionals working in the area of instructional design and development, particularly those who create or recreate materials for diverse groups of learners, continually engage in making instruction sensitive to context - whether it is the context of a particular school, company, nation, or region. Designing for the many possible layers of context requires a systematic approach and can take a good deal of time. Given the time it takes to consider various aspects of context when developing instructional resources, there are at least two questions one must consider; "How much is enough?" and "Does this really make a difference?" This presentation will provide a foundation for context-based instructional design, give some examples of approaches one might consider, and then raise the questions noted above as a way to open conversation about a critical aspect of the application of ICT in education.
A Social Media Classroom for Student-Generated Learning
Howard Rheingold has been working on creating an integrated environment for using social media in the classroom, under a MacArthur grant: forums, blogs, wikis, chat, social bookmarking, blogging, RSS in one uniform user interface, free and open source, easily installed and configured environment. He has also been working on curriculum for teaching about the issues that social media generate -- identity, community, collective action, social capital, public sphere are some examples. But as he's introduced these tools into the classroom -- where students are already using laptops and wireless Internet -- it has become clear that this is not simply a matter of adding slick new tools to amplify old forms of pedagogy, but are best used to move from the sage on the stage to the guide on the side, enabling students (under instructor guidance) to work collaboratively to construct knowledge, rather than passively receiving what the lectures and texts broadcast to them.
Conceptual Play and Multiuser Virtual Worlds: Worked Examples from the Quest Atlantis Project
Our work over the last decade has focused on reconnecting content with context, and doing so in a way that bears legitimacy and value in schools. In particular, we have used videogame technologies and methodologies to narratize disciplinary content and, at the same time, provide the necessary scaffolding and situational affordances such that the player is likely to disciplinize the game narrative—meaning that player success is dependent on effectively applying disciplinary concepts to transform the game context It is in advancing a new form of curriculum for K-12 schools that we have been experimenting with conceptual play. In this interactive keynote, my colleague Melissa Gresalfi and I will outline the theoretical perspective around conceptual play that motivates our work, with a link to some worked examples that illustrate our research and design work. Participants are encouraged to visit the worked examples online, and then I would like to engage the audience in rich discussions around the value of positioning curriculum in this way. To gain first-hand experience with the actual work, participants might apply for a guest account to the Quest Atlantis project to experience the designs directly.