Friday, 9 November 2012

South African #mLearning projects and calls for collaboration

If you are looking for ways to connect to South African researchers engaged and passionate about mobile learning. Look at the people mentioned in this post and connect with them. They are wonderful mLearning experts and … open to collaboration.

As mobile learning gets more broadly accepted, meeting inspiration people around the world gives rise to new ideas. Here are some ideas I encountered in South Africa. The University of Pretoria invited me to exchange some notes on mobile learning and innovative educational technologies and the meet up was simply amazing.

El-Marie Mostert and Linda Venter are experts in eLearning and using new technologies in a University setting. But in preparation of the future of learning, they are now in a team to look at how mobile learning can fit within their curricula, where new initiatives can be taken (based on needs, availability of people and willingness of already fully booked teachers to engage). Quite a challenge as we all know. As a result of their quest, I am writing up some practical mLearning options to create easy mLearning options to add to the overall curriculum (I will share them later in the next few weeks).
As I was down there I was amazed by the technology already being embedded in daily live:
e-Tags that scan your car for highway toll calculation (a chip that sits on the window shield, and opens the gate as your car approaches the toll booth).
A solar oven (cooking water in a big kettle in less than 10 minutes, 25000 watt of heat!)
Computer rooms on wheels
… it was amazing to see how mobile is quickly becoming part of normal life.

Adele Botha and Ronel Callaghan are setting up mobile living labs in rural areas that have no connection, mobile living labs. They want to team up with all of us that feel mobile education can make a difference. If you are interested in the project, join Adele and Ronel, or look at this video down below to see what vision Adele has on mobile learning.

Dennis Kriel has something completely different going: a simulation game aimed at teachers to understand the options that mobile learning can offer. If you want to help him out with screening the game or adding educational screenplays to add to his game, give him a tweet. He is very open on how the game is developing and looks for extra scenario’s to get the game ready for roll-out. He is also an OER believer, so ready to share. What he does is use Articulate Storyline to get a game together that is based on energy and learning outcomes. So sometimes if you choose to go for a mobile development option, it takes a lot of energy (energy level goes down), but if you finish it it can provide optimized learning results so the learning percentage goes up. If the learning level percentage is up to a specific point, you get extra treats (relaxing on a couch, sight seeing…). It is still a work in progress, but it already looks really nice.So if you feel like adding to his project, or simply exchange ideas, look at his project as it develops here:
 

Darryn Knobel has a facebook project going on veterinary health and diagnostics. In this facebook based peer-to-peer interactive course for veterinary students, the students go out to remote farms and screen cattle for parasites or other diseases. The students then take pictures and post them to a closed facebook group so they can discuss each of their findings and diagnostics. The amazing thing is that most of the students interact through their mobile in any location (at the farm, at university, at home), so their mobile devices are the central connectivity device. It is a nice project and Darren clearly has a great time being the guide-on-the-side who helps his students to stay on track whenever necessary.

And last but not least… What scenery! The campuses I visited are truly amazing: open, green, pleasant atmosphere, … wonderful. 

Here is the movie related to the mobile living labs and mobile South Africa project that is getting into shape for roll out by Adele Botha, Ronel Callaghan and team mates: