Teachers are dying faster than they can be trained in South Africa. SA has 49 million people spread out over 1,200,000 square Km. Almost 30% of the population is under the age of 15; the median age is 25 and life expectancy is 49. Almost 6 million have AIDS or are HIV positive. There will never be enough teachers for the number of learners in South Africa.
How can we use technology to address this situation? Can we find ways to distribute the precious resource of the trained educator more effectively? To support models of learning that allow high quality teaching to reach students who don’t have access to qualified and high quality learning and teaching, who may be spread over great distances, to use technology to teach where no quality teaching is available?
This is the purpose of this project. However, the ways in which this purpose is pursued are and will continue to be constantly changing. This is due to two things. First, while we are attempting to run this project in such a way that we can empirically demonstrate results, the project is necessarily results-driven. We will experiment with many different ideas in our search to find ways to make a positive impact on education in KwaZulu Natal.
Second is KwaZulu Natal itself. The situation there is changing, just as it is elsewhere. Currently 2G mobile phone access is widespread but there is little or no Internet connectivity, and our current efforts reflect this. This will probably change significantly over the next 2 years and our thinking will have to change along with it if we are to provide relevant and effective support.
Ingrid Bruynse is the founder of Bright Media, a doctoral candidate at the University of KwaZulu Natal. I work on media and learning projects in Southern Africa. I have conceptualized multimedia and multilingual projects for learning: I have taught teachers, consulted for media companies on educational media, and I continue to work in learning, justice and gender content needs, all around media extending access and opportunity for learning and development.
Steve Hull of University of Bristol UK has over two decades’ experience in film and video production as well as a background in the sciences, computing and the arts, so he is equally at home with the theoretical and practical aspects of digital media, whatever the application. http://www.jiscdigitalmedia.ac.uk
My name is Vance S. Martin and I’m a post-doc working with the Center for Education in Small Urban Communities and also the Re-envisioning Teacher Education taskforce. My doctoral work looked at integrations of technology such as wikis and videogames in classrooms. I have taught history and humanities at Parkland College for ten years. I have also taught graduate and undergraduate courses at UIUC in technology and social studies education. As a graduate student I worked with the Education Online program as a TA in the Community College Teaching and Learning program.