Focusing on the talent as well as the tech

Sandra’s great blog post about the iPad made the important point of needing to “create and adapt pedagogical frameworks which will make its use meaningful and efficient”. Sandra also eloquently highlighted the importance of tactile learning, something I’d been trying to articulate for a while.

Working in a unit such as Beyond Distance and having access to colleagues with a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience places me in a very privileged position, leaving aside the advantages of being a citizen in a developed country.

But how does this compare with our peers in Africa?   Well, have a look at the photo competition from eLearning Africa’s 5th International Conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training, where Gilly will be a keynote speaker.

Despite facing massive disadvantages, these photos show the ingenuity, hope and the sheer pleasure of education that permeates that continent, and illustrates the potential of what more than 1 billion people can contribute to humanity.

Add to this a powerful sculpture at the British Museum, which is made up entirely of gun parts (barrels, magazines, pistol handles, etc.). And its name? The Tree of Death? The Hopeless Cause? No, it’s the Tree of Life, because once again it represents that African ingenuity and hope.

My point is this: let’s not waste time pitying Africa, but rather work as quickly and comprehensively as possible to help – and learn from – this huge pool of talent. We very much hope Gilly’s visit to the conference will result in such meaningful collaboration.

This is probably my favourite pic from the competition. Why not post yours as a comment to this blog?

On a similar point, there is the very exciting possibility that Beyond Distance will be collaborating with Kabul University, which I hope to blog about in the future.

Simon Kear
Keeper of the Media Zoo
5 May 2010

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