+ Research + Teacher Development + Distance Learning + Instructional Design
The report raises insightful contemplations and questions about Mobile Learning's promise and potential when connecting project-based learning directly to the South African curriculum.
Two young learners will join the M-Ubuntu staff in February 2011 to assist reading and Math programs for 5th- and 6th Graders at Ramosadi Primary School in Mafikeng, South Africa.
Emmy Lindzter and her brother Theophilus Lindzter (Elementary school learners at a US school in Maryland), together with two volunteers from Sweden and members of the M-Ubuntu team, will support literacy projects from 7-11 February 2011 in South Africa.
Earlier in 2010, Professor Jeff Kupperman from Michigan University, engaged his two young children in a similar initiative at the same school with great success.
Learners from Ramosadi Primary School at the 2010 Technology-assisted learning initiative in South Africa
Pictures: Jeff Kupperman
Memories with Mobile Phones
10 December, 2010
Grade 7 students at Pula Difate Primary School in Mamelodi, SOUTH AFRICA, each received a copy of the book they created using mobile phones just before they left on their summer break. Students worked with their volunteer teacher, Mr Thomas Ridder and the M-Ubuntu team for two month to produce the book which includes stories and poems of each of the students of their memories of the school. All the writing for the book was done on mobile phones after they were coached in creative writing and the construction of narratives.
The school is hoping that the project can be continued next year that will engage more learners.
9 November, 2010, Washington DC
A host of prominent and experienced contributors on the first day of the Mhealth Summit in Washington DC were mostly unified in their sense that the prevalence of mobile phones have opened unparalleled opportunity for health-care assessment and health-care provision, globally.
While this may have sounded like deep insight into the obvious for those of us who have provided a plethora of hints over the last years as to the overwhelming numbers of mobile phone users that forced us to realign our learning paradigm, hearing it again was a welcome encouragement that we have acted upon a reality now finally basking in global consensus.
What was most interesting, particularly with reference to M-Learning, was the affirmation that acceptable literacy levels, if achieved, play a meaningful and vital part in the aspirations of M-health. In the effort to seek out new ways to collect data for accurate and prudent health intervention, Dr Nils Daulaire, Director of Health and Human Services Offices of Global Health Affairs, cautioned that "We need to understand (the vast majority's) realities and their needs and their limitations, which include in many cases an ability to read the text that is on their text messages."
In fact, said Bill Gates in his interview with Dr Kristin Tolle, on the 2nd day of the Mhealth Summit, "...to the degree which Education and Health go together, I don't think that is surprising. We should invest in both."
Herein may lie a clue to avoid fragmentation and splintering of initiatives in the Education- and Health sector to do what it takes in order to find the natural convergences that stare us all in the eyes.
As such, the M-Ubuntu initiative over the last two years using mobile phones in rural schools in South Africa to improve literacy and numeracy, may draw encouragement from the confirmation that their work is core to M-health and that M-health's outcomes could provide vital clues to the shape of M-learning.
Report: Theophilus van Rensburg Lindzter
Mafikeng, South Africa, 22 October, 2010
Two schools in the North West Province in South Africa have started an initiative with the Academy that will realize a model for school partnerships for improved literacy. The principals met during a Skype meeting with Washington DC-based director, Mr Theo van Rensburg Lindzter on Friday to discuss the partnership.
Mr Langa from Mogakolodi Senior Secondary School and Mr S. Teme from Ramosadi Primary School have agreed to support their respective schools' technology-based learning initiatives through service learning opportunities for high school students.
High school students will provide tech support and serve as teacher assistants for Mr Teme's needy primary school. In turn the Ramosadi Primary teachers, who have experience with mobile learning projects will support teachers from Mogakolodi Masibi with training support to implement mobile learning.
Both schools are applying for a Mobile Learning Lab grant from the Academy which will enable the partnership to commence in February 2011. Both schools in the region will also receive support from the VITAL volunteer program scheduled for 2011. Two Swedish students have already signed up as teacher and tech-assistants for schools in the Mafikeng region.
28 September, 2010
August, 2010, Mafikeng, SOUTH AFRICA
Taletso College in South Africa and Learning Academy Worldwide agreed to allow the young Thabang Mogale to complete his practical in the Human Resource Management degree with the Mobile learning initiative - M-Ubuntu. Mr Mogale will work directly with the Swedish-based Academy and will work for two weeks on-site in Washington DC in 2011. "This is a fantastic opportunity for me," said Thabang from his home in Mafikeng, South Africa.
Learning Academy will also contribute to some
of Mr Mogale's monthly running cost through a grant.
He was accepted largely on the quality of his project support work that he provided for the Academy over a full year at Ramosadi Primary School in South Africa.
During his work he also provided technical support for a team of professors and teachers from Michigan University early this year. They were demonstrating the potential for learning through the creation of technology-based interactive games.
Mr Mogale's internship officially started 1 August 2010.
August, 2010, Bethesda, MD
The US-based Mobile giant, SPRINT, donated the first set of a 100 recycled phones for Learning Academy Worldwide's M-Ubuntu project in South Africa.
The Palm Treo 800w Sprint is a smartphone serving as a small computer in the M-Ubuntu teacher collaboratory for improved literacy in South Africa. The phones will also be pre-loaded with dictionaries and video, audio and text data together with interactive educational software supplied by mobile learning giant, TRIBAL.
"Sprint is glad to help," said Darren Beck, Manager of Sprint Corporate Responsibility/Resource Stewardship. "It's exciting to think about the opportunities that the devices will bring to the kids and the educators who will be using them," he added in email communication with Learning Academy Worldwide Director, Theophilus van Rensburg Lindzter.
Three sets of workshops in the South African cities of Johannesburg, Potchefstroom and Port Elizabeth will launch the new phase of the teacher collaboratory starting 15 September 2010. The recent report from a completed pilot of the use of mobile phones in combating low literacy levels will be made available at the mini conferences and teachers will be able to apply for small grants toward mobile learning projects for the 2011 academic year. The grants will include a set of mobile phones, a video projector, a laptop and project-based learning coaching from literacy experts from South Africa, the US and Sweden.
Learning Academy Worldwide partners with US-based foundation to set up new 3-year phase for its M-Ubuntu Project.(July 2010)
Could new mobile technologies meet the need for print-rich learning environments? (July 2010)
17 July, 2010, Washington DC
The Johannesburg South District of the biggest province in South Africa, Gauteng, have opened its doors to the Academy's M-Ubuntu teacher collaborative. The district's Human Resource Development unit have committed themselves to explore the viability of a management plan to implement the Teacher Collaborative for Improved Literacy and Numeracy project in District 11.
The Academy will start its training of teachers on Monday, 28th September in South Africa. "I am excited about this project," said Ms Mmantlhakeng Mogapi, manager of Human Resource Management and Development.
Ms Mogapi watched the work of the Academy with a careful eye during its M-Ubuntu literacy project in the Johannesburg district for close to a year now and was instrumental in securing approval for the M-Ubuntu project's work at a school under her jurisdiction.
7 July, 2010, Washington DC
A new phase for the Mobile Learning and Literacy initiative, is set to commence on 1 September 2010 in South Africa. The Academy's work in South Africa started in 2000 and have intensified since 2007.
The next phase, spanning 3-years, is directed at teachers in particular and will source collaboration with the Gauteng Department of Education, a provincial state entity that manages implementation of educational policy, the Reading Association of South Africa and US, Swedish and UK-based learning organizations.
Learning Academy Director, Theo van Rensburg Lindzter, let it slip that small grants will be awarded to teachers that will include resources for technology-based learning, professional development and access to literacy and learning experts in the UK, Sweden and the USA. "We have acquired tremendous insight resulting from our M-Ubuntu project over the last 18 months in our work with two schools in South Africa and we are excited to empower teachers even more now," he explained.
The new phase will be introduced at the national conference of RASA (The Reading Association of South Africa), the Education Week 2010 Convention and Learning Expo and the Gauteng District 11 Teacher Development Initiative - all during the second half of September and the beginning of October this year.
The Academy's also pursued new partnerships with US Universities and Foundations - endeavours that will give greater possibilities for teachers in South Africa.
Additionally, the renewed commitment from mobile giant, SPRINT, to allow M-Ubuntu to be the recipient of its recycled Mobile phone initiatives, will provide much needed technology for teachers to employ in their classrooms.
5 July, 2010
As initiator and first donor of the M-Ubuntu initiative in South Africa, Learning Academy Worldwide's provided much needed expertise to two schools in South Africa over the last year.
After the Academy's support and recommendation of a grant application made by Spectrum Primary School, the MacArthur Foundation's DML Competition availed $69 000 (half a million South African Rands) for a Mobile Learning initiative at the school.
The Academy has successfully supported the M-Ubuntu initiative with coaching for improved literacy, coordinating with literacy experts from three Universities in the US and collaborating on the schools' behalf for visits from the UK-based guru in Mobile Learning, TRIBAL and professors and teachers engaged in the creative DIGameworks initiative.
The collaboration with DiGameworks have proven particularly meaningful as it focused on the practical implementation of technology-supported learning alternatives. Additionally, the collaboration opened new possibilities for future initiatives in South Africa - a crucial component for sustainability of the M-Ubuntu idea.
Learning Academy Worldwide also provided the funding, designing and maintaining of the websites for both Spectrum Primary School and Ramosadi Primary School effectively connecting the schools to global interest and support.
"We are very pleased with the way in which this last year's gone and we think that the next three years in South Africa will see us expanding our work to 100 new sites", said Director, Theophilus van Rensburg Lindzter.
12 May, 2010
Four young learners from Spectrum Primary School in South Africa beat the Islandic ash cloud, a 30-hour long flight and a 6-hour time difference, putting big smiles on their faces as they introduced themselves at the Digital Media Learning showcase in Washington DC. Read more.
Spectrum Primary School in South Africa, a Learning Academy Worldwide partner, will have four young students tell of how Mobile Phones have made a difference in their learning experiences. Read more here.
20th February 2010
De Rust Futura, tucked between the rich orchards of South Africa's apple goldmines, is home to a Mobile Learning initiative for the week starting 15 February 2010.
Geoff Stead, director of Tribal's Digital Learning Studio and Jessica Wakelin are on site in Grabouw, just north-east from Cape Town, to coach teachers in the use of mobile phones for learning. The visit is the next step in a first phase that started with an agreement between Learning Academy Worldwide and De Rust Futura just under a year ago. Lucy Haagen, a Duke University literacy expert and Dr Jeff Kupperman from Michigan University, paid two visits to the school in October last year and January this year to explore the possibilities on the ground.
Principal of De Rust, Wandred Theunis, is excited about the possibilities for learning and sees that, especially the matriculants, could benefit greatly over the next year.
Geoff Stead reported earlier, before their departure from Cambridge, that they were excited ahead of their visit. They arrived in South Africa on Saturday, 13 February.
Learners from Spectrum Primary School and Ramosadi Primary School in South Africa are engaging more in class and discipline problems are down as teachers, together with literacy coaches from Sweden, the UK and the USA, spin magic with mobile phones.
These schools are embracing a technology that is already part of everyday life in South Africa and spinning it into opportunities for creative learning alternatives. Projects with various themes ranging from health to environment to a plethora of social issues are identified in a simple and
structured manner where video, audio and text data are collected using the multi-functions of the mobile phone. Learners then collate and present their work and present them as artifacts for their Portfolios, even creating technology-based games to meet their learning goals.
These low-threshold inexpensive devices are becoming a vital tool for many young learners at both primary schools and teachers and consultants are in agreement that these young minds are becoming increasingly engaged as they use these devices to learn more, produce more and participate more. In his visit to Spectrum Primary School last week, Dr Jeff Kupperman, Associate Professor of Education at Michigan University, praised the learners for their hard work.
Story: Theo VR Lindzter Pictures: Di Gameworks
Learning Academy Worldwide will be host to learners from Sweden and South Africa during the first week of March 2010.
The Literature-based initiative project aims at helping students sharpen their skills of dialogue and improve their writing in English based on the reading and discussion of a text, play and music.
"I can hardly wait," said grade 9 student from Stockholm, Louise sterberg.
Ennerdale, SOUTH AFRICA - 20 August 2009
Seventeen teachers from Spectrum Primary School and Ramosadi Primary School attended the Mobile Learning Workshop weekend of 15-16 August in Ennerdale south of Johannesburg.
Presented by Theo can Rensburg Lindzter, the teachers connected with Lucy Haagen in China and Dr Laura Billings from theNational Paideia Center in North Carolinato interact around their Mobile Learning Project: Women and Relationships. Teachers collected data through interviews, took pictures and wrote a short paragraph based on an assigned instructional plan. See the teachers' book here.
The Workshop also aimed at giving teachers opportunity to acquire knowledge on project-based learning and the importance of tangible artefacts for learners' portfolios. They designed and compiled their own books which will be made available in both digital and printed formats. These books will serve as examplesfor learners on the project products that can be created when using a mobile phone as a tool in learning.
Teachers were awarded certificatesfor successfullycompletingthe Introduction to Teaching and Mobile Learning module.
For more pictures click here
Washington DC, 6 May, 2009
Two groups of young people, thousands of miles apart, are anticipating to maximise the use of communications technology and have a Webinar during the last week of May 2009. Students fromLAWW in Sweden andJohn Muir School in San Diego, CA. have just completed phase 1 of the pre-webinar work and have submitted written responses to questions based on the South African novel, Chain of Fire, by Beverley Naidoo.
The webinar is a "virtual" seminar based on the Paideia principles where the learners improve understanding of ideas that emerge from interacting with either a book, music or a work of art.
The idea of connecting thePaideia-like initiativesof LAWW in Sweden and South Africa with the California school, was born during a National Paideia Conference held earlier this year in Winston-Salem, NC. LAWW Director, Theo van Rensburg Lindzter and Mr Chester Hancock started the planning of the webinar end of March earlier this year.
Chicago, Ill, USA Friday, 17 April 2009
The sun came out and shone brightly on Chicago, Ill as the two principals from Spectrum Primary and Ramosadi Primaryin South Africa stepped off the plane to receive their prize for their innovative idea to improve functional literacy in their respective schools.
Sam Nenngwekhulu, far left and Sydney Teme are congratulated by Dr Cathy Davidson in Chicago, USfor their innovative proposal to improve functional literacy in their schools.
© Learning Academy Worldwide