Children of Africa

I was born in South Africa and although I live in Canada now, the children of Africa has a very special place in my heart. We are very fortunate to live in a country that has medical support, public school system, a working social system and many more. The children of Africa are in need of so many basic needs, but not necessarily the same as in a western country or developed country. “Basic” in Africa means something totally different.

For us who live in well developed countries, we see technology as part of our everyday life. We learn through it, communicate with it and some of us can not live without it. The children of Africa does not share the same expectations as children of Western countries does. Their basic needs are really just BASIC. Food, water, housing, medical need and family support. What I mean by family support or social support is that so many children need to look after their siblings because their parents has past away because of HIV/Aids. Is basic education needs really access to the internet? Is not not an attempt to “westernalizing” Africa. Is access to the internet not opening a new world to these children with no support system to help them with it? They will be exposed to western problems that has not yet surfaced in their villages or towns. In bigger cities and further developed countries better and more access to the internet might work, but it should not be generalized.

One Laptop One Child is one of the programs that is an example of giving children “world” at their fingertips, but not necessarily providing them with a better solution for their very bad situation. The program is well designed, for a good course, but I think Africa’s problems will not be solved by it.

Another program that makes more sense to me is world vision program. This program teaches men to be fisherman and not to hand them the fish to eat. This help people to solve the basic needs problem and one that I would like to support.

People that think technology is the way to go with the Children of Africa should certainly support this program. I feel the need in Africa is to save lives and therefore I will more likely support programs like World Vision.

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Technology in the Classroom.

While working on my final project for ECMP 355 I came across Diane’s blog. She has some excellent ideas how to use technology for book reports by her students. Slide Share and Photo Story are just a few of the tools that she will use.

It is great to see how people use the tools, we talked about in ECMP355, with their students.

Go digital or lose out!

Go digital or lose out, teachers told

Justine Ferrari, Education writer | November 13, 2007

TEACHERS are immigrants in their students’ digital world and risk being sidelined as irrelevant if they fail to embrace the learning potential offered by digital technologies.

Follow the links and read the rest of the article and blog. 

After reading this article and blog it was quite interesting to see that the same problems and stumbling blocks occur on the other side of the globe as well. Tony Richards reflects and points out that the teachers don’t “step up to the plate” because they simply don’t have the time to learn the skills for ICT integration because they need to test their students or develop programs to meet the benchmarks or are busy meeting the curriculum requirements.

What is the answer? Are we too focused on what students should learn or is it the parents that would like to see a rapport card and evaluate through that what has been done at school? Are we too focussed on achieving the best mark and not the process of learning?

There should be some guidelines to ensure a certain standard of teaching, but kids do learn so much by exploring. What my son has learned on Google Earth is just unbelievable. Just one example: he learned through flight simulator the importance of the wing flaps of an airplane, how it helps with the landing and take off, turning of the plane and these are just a few of the things he learned.

Keep on growing in technology

I hope that I will keep on growing and learning in the field of technology so I can be a valuable contributer. At the moment I am really at beginning of this wonderful world, but never felt so good about everything new that I learn and to know it is so useful. Now I need to finish all of my classes so I can step back into teaching and apply what I have learned. Alec is blogging about a conference in Banff and I can imagine how valuable these sort of information sharing sessions are for the future of technology in education. Alec you must come back and share it with all of us. (Just realized we will be done with our class by then, but will keep checking your blog for feedback on the conference)