eLearning Africa 2016 (VII). Back up for Online Tutors and Mentors

By Ismael Peña-López
ICTlogy (ISSN 1886-5208). Issue #152, May 2016

 

Notes from eLearning Africa 2016, organized by ICWE GmbH and held in El Cairo, Egypt, on 24-26 May 2016. More notes on this event: ela2016.

Back up for Online Tutors and Mentors

Chairperson: Robert Kisalama, Belgian Technical Cooperation, Uganda

Ismael Peña-López, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain
eSupervision: A Four-tier Applied Model

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Discussion

Robert Kisalama: What about patenting? Knowledge recognition? A: this model applies especially to social sciences, where patenting is not as sensitive as in other disciplines and, on the contrary, research benefits much from open debate. On the other hand, if we are talking about knowledge theft — different from patenting — the truth is that the sooner something is “published” online the easier it is to track its legitimate authors. Indeed, the same community of practice/learning will denounce bad practices and identify and shame knnowledge thieves.

Robert Kisalama: Who should initiate the conversation? A: in the best scenario, the conversation will already exist in one or many established communities. It is a matter to help the students find them and participate in them. On the other hand, personal initiative normally naturally leads to being part of a community, first tacitly then explicitly.

Q: how many numbers? How far? A: it is difficult to say how many people can one e-supervise. It is true that the educational system is not prepare and measures quite poorly the time one devotes to e-supervision. One of the keys is to identify where the supervisor is adding more value and shift the rest of tasks towards the student — or the network. Which are these tasks? Mainly two: identifying the context that will make emerge the core things that have to be worked, and then fostering the conversation so that knowledge exchange happens.

Robert Kisalama: how do you assess the quality of the communities A: normally you do not. On the one side, you should already be part of the relevant networks, so it is a matter of time that the students will join you in these. On the other hand, “good work” usually leads to the “right place”. That is, working collaboratively, in the open, sharing and exchanging insights with others quite naturally will lead to “the” community, as it many times is the network that attracts you and invites you to be a part of it, not the other way round.

Q: how do you assess the performance? A: In my opinion it is better to assess the process and the belonging to the different networks. If the process is good, the outcome and performance is usually good. On the other hand, this is part of the things that can be distributed to the rest of the network. If the dialogue and knowledge exchange is fluid, if the exchange happens in the open, the network rewards good contributions and thus enables a process of self-assessment.

eLearning Africa (2016)

eLearning Africa 2016 (VI). Creating Communities of Practice for Teachers

By Ismael Peña-López
ICTlogy (ISSN 1886-5208). Issue #-24045,

 

Notes from eLearning Africa 2016, organized by ICWE GmbH and held in El Cairo, Egypt, on 24-26 May 2016. More notes on this event: ela2016.

Creating Communities of Practice for Teachers

Would you like to hear about the methods and tools to enhance teachers’ pedagogical skills? Learn how communities of practice, by and for teachers, can influence professional development.

Chairperson: Mohamed Ahmed, Mansoura University, Egypt

Hela Nafti, Tunisian Education and Resource Network TEARN, Tunisia
Achieving Peace by Building Sustainable Global Online Learning Communities

SDG Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Learners have to acquire skills and, most especially, attitudes and values — because information is everywhere.

iEARN: 130 countries, 30 languages, 40,000 educators, 2 million youth. iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) is the world’s largest non-profit global network that enables teachers and youth to use the Internet and other technologies to collaborate on projects that enhance learning and make a difference in the world.

Learning Circles promote theme-based project work integrated with the classroom curriculum. Working with Learning Circle partners from around the world help students develop important interpersonal skills. Learning Circles also encourage interactions among teachers providing a very different model of professional development.

A Learning Circle is created by a team of 6-8 teachers and their classes joined in the virtual space of an electronic classroom. The groups remains together over a 3-4 month period working on projects drawn from the curriculum of each of the classrooms organized around a selected theme. At the end of the term the group collects and publishes its work. Then, just as any class of students does, the Learning Circle comes to an end. Each session begins with new groupings of classes into Learning Circles.

Created a Tunisian circle to deal about peace and sustainable development.

Capacity building, teacher training is the most relevant thing for teachers: you can not teach if you do not know how to.

Paul Waibochi, CEMASTEA, Kenya,
Using Social Media (Whatsapp) in Enhancing Teacher Pedagogical Competencies: Case Study Cemastea – Lesson Study Model

How can we improve teachers’ competences in how to deliver the curriculum through m-learning: how to use Whatsapp for education and learning purposes.

In infrastructure matters, Kenya is ready: 80% mobile uptake, high bandwidth per person, familiarity with mobile services (e.g. m-pesa), etc.

Process of teachers working in teams to develop lessons to adress an identified problem amongst learners. The developed lesson is taught by one of the teachers while others observe. The team discusses the taught lesson and make improvements.

The purpose of m-learning is more access (you save travelling of both students and teachers), more efficiency and quality. Now lessons are not only face-to-face, so they are not so much time-constrained, and happen instead on a blended-learning basis.

Another good thing about Whatsapp is that it supports multimedia: the teacher can teach and videotape the lesson and then share it through Whatsapp where other teachers can observe and comment.

Finally, the idea is to create a community of teachers that engage in the project, help each other, share their outputs. In parallel to that, the teachers acquire or strengthen 21st century skills, like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, etc. in addition to constant professional development and regular orientation and training.

Discussion

Q: How do we select the teachers? Waibochi: they come from the same grade, and from the same topic to be taught at a particular class.

Q: how do you eliminate “noise” from Whatsapp groups? Waibochi: it is about defining well what is going to be the topics of conversation, and stick with them.

Q: how do you measure the expected outcomes in the communities of practice? How do you evaluate results? Waibochi: there are screening surveys that are used to evaluate what the students knew before and after the intervention.

Q: Why not your own chatting platform? Waibochi: not only Whatsapp, but also Facebook accounts. The technology is already there and everybody is using it.

eLearning Africa (2016)

eLearning Africa 2016 (V). Entrepreneurialism, Capacity Development and the Role of Education in Accelerating Change

By Ismael Peña-López
ICTlogy (ISSN 1886-5208). Issue #-24045,

 

Notes from eLearning Africa 2016, organized by ICWE GmbH and held in El Cairo, Egypt, on 24-26 May 2016. More notes on this event: ela2016.

Plenary: Entrepreneurialism, Capacity Development and the Role of Education in Accelerating Change

Economic growth and technological innovations are beginning to change Africa but how can the transformation be made permanent? How can the pace of change be quickened? How can we ensure that Africa is not just transformed but able to compete in tomorrow’s markets? How can we encourage a new spirit of entrepreneurialism? How can we boost capacity development, to ensure that Africans are ready to seize new opportunities in the future? How can we empower African educators and give them the tools they need to teach new skills? How can we enable students to make the most of a new world of learning? How can we put education and training at the heart of Africa’s transformation? These are just some of the questions which our panel of experts will address.

Chairperson: Hossam El Gamal, Chairman of the Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC), Egypt

Dr Tarek Shawki, Secretary General of Presidential Specialised Councils, Egypt,
Keynote Address

Education in our lifetime requires great innovation and collaboration. We need to understand what is required from the ecosystem.

What is the relationship between the economy and education? We have to make this issue surface and take over the public debate. And the the social justice that should come with education.

It is likely that the assessment system is quite guilty for this dissociation between education and the economy, between earning a diploma and learning.

People lack autonomy because the system is ruled with a totalitarian approach. This lack of freedom implies that some decisions are left unmade.

A new project by the Egyptian government, the Egyptian knowledge bank, has been buying a massive amount of digital content (scientific, educational, etc.) from major publishers and put it online for free (for Egyptian IPs). But not only that, new textbooks are pointing at these resources, so that the content of the textbooks is enhanced by the one online.

The project is framed within a macro strategy to redesign Egyptian Education as an Education 2.0.

Prof Moses Oketch, Professor of International Education Policy and Development at UCL, UK
Perspectives on ICT, Lifelong Learning and Endogenous Development in Africa

Besides moneraty benefits of human capital, there are non-monetary benefits, like better health, etc. And, in addition to that, there is non-monetary social benefits (vs. individual benefits). It is time to put these concepts in the forefront of the public debate.

And technology has become crucial in the human capital formation. And not only human capital, but endogenous development. And this is crucial for sustainable development, while also reducing diminishing returns of investment.

Last, technology is changing the very concept of lifelong learning: you are actually learning all the time.

Four key connections:

  • Identify and support incentives for ICT and lifelong learning.
  • Overcome barriers arising from investment externalities.
  • Encourage and support endogenous technology/applications that are locally relevant and scale them up.
  • Enhance ICT inclusivity in learning and teaching to overcome structural inequalities and skills deficit.

Dr Rania Reda, Founder & CEO of ITQAN for Smart Solutions, Egypt
We Can Dream Bigger Now

To transform education we have to take into account all education stakeholders: students, educators, parents, administrators, etc. And entrepreneurs come and try and fill the gaps that these stakeholders might have to unleash their full potential, to optimize performance. Assessing the stakeholders’ needs is the first step for transforming education.

Augmented reality can certainly help to improve education. By projecting things that do not exist into real life, learning can be much more engaging, a requisite for real learning. Visualization, quite often, helps to understand complex concepts, eases the assimilation of content.

How to use augmented reality in schools: help with homework (e.g. a video is displayed when a page of homework is scanned), book reviews (e.g. the student can annotate a book and anyone can read/hear/see it), parent virtual inspiration (e.g. record parent encouraging their child), yearbooks (e.g. bring photos back to life), word walls, lab safety, deaf and hard of hearing flashcards.

Discussion

Oketch: how do we measure the impact of technology in matters of learning outcomes? We have to begin to measure learning in different ways as we do now. We haven’t figured out yet how to do it, and it will certainly be the next frontier.

Rania Reda: besides infrastructure — which is crucial — mentoring is very important: many times one knows what to do, but does not exactly how. And here is where coaching an entrepreneur can lead to very good results.

In a very near future, learners will be much more learner-centered in their learning. When information is abundant, one begins to learn how to access and manage information, and to use it for learning.

eLearning Africa (2016)

eLearning Africa 2016 (IV). Researching Learner Centred Methods

By Ismael Peña-López
ICTlogy (ISSN 1886-5208). Issue #152, May 2016

 

Notes from eLearning Africa 2016, organized by ICWE GmbH and held in El Cairo, Egypt, on 24-26 May 2016. More notes on this event: ela2016.

Researching Learner Centred Methods

If you manage to engage and encourage students to take an active role in their learning, you will find that creating education together is possible. Speakers in this session share their experiences in co-creation.

Chairperson: Francisca Oladipo, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria

Paxton Zozie, Mzuzu University, Malawi, Using Real-time Response Systems to Enhance Participative Learning in Higher Education at Mzuzu University

How to encourage active participation of each and every student, especially in large classes. And even more, how to enhance collaborative learning and active learning.

Cloud-based student response systems will be used to address the issue, based on clicker technology, like Participoll or Socrative.

Polls do make students more engaged in the lecture, and they prompt interactivity between the student and the teacher, as the teacher can see in real time whether students got something right or not, and can ask for questions, doubts, etc. but tailored depending on the return of the poll.

Challenges: need for Internet connectivity. Notwithstanding, some software can be used on a local network, with no need to be connected to the Internet but only to the computer acting as a server.

Another challenge is that sometimes less content is covered, as more time is devoted to participation.

Students would like to have more detailed feedback for student self-assessment.

Abdul-Majid Nkuutu Kibedi, Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports, Uganda, Exploration of the Linkage Between ICT Use and Implementation of Learner-centered Pedagogy

General goal: to contribute to the increase of quality and equity in access to post-primary education and training, by providing an improved teaching and practice-oriented learning environment, supported by strengthened active-teaching methods.

It is a teaching training education project, with a multi-layered approach:

  • Infrastructure: laptops, projectors, connectivity, etc.
  • Aggregation of digital tools and links to resources for teaching and assessment.
  • Teacher for self reflection and better research, conference, training tailored to integration of ICT in the teaching and learning.

Some college staff members received a short video training course on shooting and editing video, with low cost equipment. A secondary goal is to tape one-self and see how one is teaching, in part to fight the isolation from peer support where teaching often occurs.

On the other hand, videos allow the observation of alternative teaching strategies, allowing time for reflection, as one does not have to respond immediately.

Access to offline Wikipedia and digital books was used to increase the available content.

Also research from Internet through mobile phone helped the group to engage in discussions and brainstorming sessions.

With active teaching and learning methods (ATL), learners develop some of the critical 21st century skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration or creative thinking.

Teachers who often use ICTs tend to implement ATL methodologies in their teaching and, on the other hand, ICTs easily support adoption of ATL by students.

Discussion

Q: can you assess the students through response systems? Zozie: yes, you can. If you force them to log in with their users before answering, all data is stored including who answered what. Then data can be downloaded and treated for any purpose, such as assessment.

Zozie: the teaching staff needs experience in stating questions, relevant questions. Formulating questions is not easy, especially higher order questions, such as the ones that address concepts and not just the factual.

eLearning Africa (2016)

eLearning Africa 2016 (III). Reaping the rewards of open

By Ismael Peña-López
ICTlogy (ISSN 1886-5208). Issue #-24045,

 

Notes from eLearning Africa 2016, organized by ICWE GmbH and held in El Cairo, Egypt, on 24-26 May 2016. More notes on this event: ela2016.

Reaping the rewards of open

What are the challenges around the development and implementation of high quality open digital resources across Africa? How can we ensure open content is relevant for classrooms? How can we effectively integrate open resources in schools and institutions?

Chairperson: Alice Barlow-Zambodla, e/Merge Africa Network, South Africa

Wilhelmina Louw, Namibian College of Open Learning (NAMCOL), Namibia
A Case for NAMCOL – Notesmaster Namibia: Open Educational Resources

Main focus on secondary education, but also tertiary education.

NAMCOL realized that, beyond open education, NAMCOL could include online Open Educational Resources (OER) as part of their educational package. OER is offered through Notesmaster Namibia platform.

Notesmaster is a free platform, especially designed for secondary level students. It is structured Namibian curriculum. And, unlike Moodle, Notesmaster Global provides support for the platform.

Development of OERs:

  • Team approach, usually teachers and programme developers. You can do it on your own, but it won’t be public.
  • Use of OERs, by using the millions of videos, images and animations that exist on the web.
  • Quality assurance, a note can only be published once it achieves the approval of 5 peers.
  • OER policy and licensing, CC BY-SA-NC

Besides content, there is capacity building: building the capacity of teachers is key in achieving effective use of technology in the classroom. Teachers are trained on the practical use of ICTs in the classroom, and how to collaborate online using the Notesmaster LMS.

Challenges:

  • Workload of developers
  • Internet accessibility and connectivity.
  • Shortage of equipment to be used for incorporating both multimedia and online content into tutoring sessions.
  • Insufficient skills in the use of technology (computers and software)
  • Know-how of instructional design requirements for online course development and storyboarding.
  • Buy-in from teachers and learners in the use of technology.
  • Insufficient funds for training and acquisition of equipment.

Angelo Raffaele Fazio, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia
Open Online Courses at Universidad Nacional de Colombia by OpenEya

OpenEyA is a lecture recording software use to tape, archive and share lectures — in this case on physics and mathematics. To even decrease more the cost of taping, OpenEyA can be compiled on a Raspberry pi 2 model B, which adds to the zero cost of the software a lowest cost of the hardware.

As the final output is recorded in HTML 5, the videolecture can be comforably watched on a mobile phone.

The video is also uploaded to Didáctica para el desarrollo (DxD, Teaching for development) which provides a platform for sharing also producing analytics on usage.

It is difficult, though, to find colleagues that want to join the project, consisting on (1) taping and (2) sharing it on DxD.

There is not much evidence on the impact of OpenEyA on the performance of students, as measured in their marks on their final exams, but it is true that less students had to go to the office to clarify doubts. On the other hand, the same amount of students attended the classes. Thus, it seems that OpenEyA is good for clearing doubts after attending the lecture, and that’s it — which is not bad. On the other hand, DxD does begin to have a significant amount of users, which at least adds to the common good.

Faraja Kotta Nyalandu, Shule Direct, Tanzania
An Educational Content Repository: The Backbone of ICT for Education

The educational content repository works on a framework that structures the content down to the level of the concept, from the general concept to the year, topic, sub-topic an concept. The digital (Tanzanian) syllabus controls the educational content repository and connects it with course notes in English, learning levels, Englisk-Kiswahili dictionaries, quizzes and games, digital textbooks and audio lessons and videos. The repository becomes then the backend of content and data of the whole Tanzanian syllabus ecosystem. An API is a gateway to content that allows the web portal to browse all content in many ways.

SMS (through Makini), USSD and mobile apps were created so to provide access to content on many platforms. The level of uptake clearly demonstrate that these platforms to fit the needs of the market.

If it is simple, if it is contextual, if it is useful, people will use it and will enjoy using it.

And besides students, also 1,900 digital teachers are already using the content for their own classes, providing new content, etc.

Dina Elkordy, Université d’Alexandrie, Egypt, L’innovation pédagogique en matière d’utilisation des TIC dans l’enseignement et l’apprentissage

New project to put out content in Arabic, English, French and Spanish on several subjets.

Strong focus on teacher training on the use of ICTs and OER.

Main barriers: Internet connectivity, bureaucracy, etc.<(p>

Discussion

Q: why don’t faculty want to join open educational resources projects? Fazio: people are uncomfortable with new technologies; people are also shy at the camera — even if OpenEyA is not very intrusive; they also want to keep what they teach for them and their students, and not to have it open to public scrutiny.

eLearning Africa (2016)

eLearning Africa 2016 (II). e-Readiness for Teachers: Supporting the Driving Force

By Ismael Peña-López
ICTlogy (ISSN 1886-5208). Issue #-24045,

 

Notes from eLearning Africa 2016, organized by ICWE GmbH and held in El Cairo, Egypt, on 24-26 May 2016. More notes on this event: ela2016.

e-Readiness for Teachers: Supporting the Driving Force

Are educators and institutions ready to implement ICTs? or can gaps be assigned to a lack of knowledge, digital skills or attitude? Take part in this discussion based on different research projects to speak about the different challenges teachers face in their profession.

Chairperson: Keith Magee, Camara Education, Ireland

Gladys Bwoch, Uganda Management Institute, Uganda
Dynamics Governing Use of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs): The Case of Uganda Management Institute (UMI) and Makerere University

The UMI offers courses on a blended basis — but structured sequentially: a distance learning part and a face-to-face part, not at the same time. When in distance learning, the students get their digital learning materials to read, plus practice questions, quizzes and references for further reading, most of the time self-contained in the learning materials.

Everything is hosted on a VLE and the facilitators interact with the students also there. The VLE is an emulation of the face-to-face sessions, but virtually instead of physically. Interaction happens among facilitators and participants, and among participants themselves.

Why bother with usage of VLE at UMI:

  • Staff in the School of Distance Learning and IT at UMI train facilitators and participants before face to face sessions on the use of VLE for teaching and learning.
  • There is an orientation week to notice zeal for use of VLE.
  • Consistent usage of VLE by facilitators and participants disappear and does not persist throughout the semester thereafter, as expected.
  • Yet most activities of the programme oblige the facilitators and participants to be always working on the VLE.
  • Need to identify the dynamics behind continued usage of VLE to work out modalities that ensure continued usage.

Objectives of the study:

  • find out frequency of usage of VLE.
  • determine factors of usage and qualitative usage.

Findings:

  • Students spend little time at the VLE and went there infrequently.
  • People prefer other forums more than the VLE because of lack of access. Besides, they prefer Facebook or Whatsapp.
  • People find matters unanswered at the VLE, but find support elsewhere.

Solutions:

  • More training and support for the facilitators.
  • Encourage them to spend more time at the VLE and be more conversational.

Tarek Abdel Fattah, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University Dubai
The new faculty rule in e-Learning

We have to get over traditional roles of teaching and go into smart-leraning.

Faculty should be able to develop course curricula, choose course materials, deliver lectures, etc. but should not be do it alone. The move to online programs necessarily requires a team-based approach (unbundling of the traditional lone-ranger approach).

We need coaches, not teachers.

All lecturers now follow a specific training on e-learning until they get their certificate. They have to be able to encourage substantive interactions; to provide guidelines; to design , develop and maintain course content with an instructional designer; to set up discussion forums, probe for student responses, etc.

Recommended pedagogical approach:

  • Read
  • Elaborate
  • Explore
  • Support
  • Endorse

The whole process is managed as a factory, with pre-production, production and post-production of courses and its related assets/processes: instructional design, module structure, etc..

Dugje Kadiri, University of Jos, Nigeria
Human Capacity: A Challenge to the Realization of the Benefits of eLearning in Nigeria

eLearning occupies a central position in running the educational programmes of the University of Jos.

The eFellowship course content includes learning how to operate on the University’s Learning Management System (Moodle). The course comes with incentives for the trainees, to sustain the interest on the course.

There are, though, serious challenges, such as inadequate broadband-width, intermittent power supply, lack of interest or phobia to technology, etc. All these for both faculty and students.

A more functional follow-up programme has to be conducted on faculty who have benefited from the scheme so to assess progress and performance of the programme.

Discussion

Keith Magee: what is actually the main barrier and the main approach to get over it? Fattah: training and support is, by far, the most important approach we have found for a better eLearning uptake.

Q: Is there opposition from teachers? Kadiri: yes, there is. But once they get used to it, they find out it is very effective to advance quickly on your content. Fattah: it is advisable to make small steps in subsequent stages, i.e. first e-learning then mobile learning.

Q: Are there many dropouts in teacher training and online learning? Kadiri: there are none, because the selection is very tight and there is a strong follow-up with their progress. Concerning students, they are eager to participate, as they can only access continuous assessment through the online version.

Q: can eLearning be used at high school? With what tools and methodologies? A: yes, they can be used, though some adaptations should be done.

eLearning Africa (2016)

ICTlogy Review

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