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Originally published in: Grimus, M. & Ebner, M. (2013). M-Learning in Sub Saharan Africa Context- What is it about.

In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2013 (pp. 2028-2033). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

M-Learning in Sub Saharan Africa ContextWhat is it about?
Institute for Information Systems and Computer Media Graz University of Technology Social Learning / Information Technology Services Graz University of Technology

Abstract: Mobile devices are changing the social, educational and economic situation especially in developing countries. Based on recent scientific publications, conference reports and educational blogs meaningful trends and critical challenges with reference to Sub Saharan Africa are explored in this meta-study. Since mobile phones are increasingly affordable and accessible this has become one of the most important topics concerning future education in Sub Saharan Africa. They are seen as key technology for bringing educational opportunities to even the most marginalized populations. The development of and the needs for education in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) differs arbitrarily from other parts of the world. M-learning is one of the most emerging fields. This publication articulates and summarizes the wider issues raised by using mobile phones to deliver and enhance learning for dispersed population in Africa, Finally the key issues for further developments are pointed out to address the future needs for educational strategies.



To tackle educational challenges in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), systemic integration of ICT has been outlined as an opportunity for improving the quality of teaching and learning as well as expanding access to learning opportunities (UNESCO 2011). Secondary school attendance and completion rates in SSA are strongly influenced by poverty, location and gender (EFA, 2011). Mobile based solutions can help to compensate the lack of infrastructure; mobile devices offer access to educational content by providing access to knowledge through technology and are also one of the primary ways that youth interact with and learn from each other (NMC 2012, p.11). Furthermore access to learning material via mobile phones does not only support formal settings but is often the only chance for informal learning. While mobile phones become more capable students can get education into their own hands, options like informal education and online learning are reaching students who are not in the position to enter traditional educational settings (NMC 2012). Delivering education in SSA by using mobile phones is widely seen as a chance for change, because mobile networks are widely spread, and as learning device, the mobile phone has several key advantages. Especially, distribution channels are already in place and everyone knows how to use the device for basic interactions, people value their phones and more likely take good care of them. Due to the fact that phones are all the time be carried around by their owners, learning can take place anywhere. Furthermore the phones are also shared among family members, and people have the option of upgrading their mobiles anytime by switching their SIM cards. (Young, 2009, p.3)

1.2 Aims of the Study
Much of our current knowledge of m-learning practices is derived from experiences from OECD countries that may not be relevant developing countries in SSA. The objective of this paper is to explore and identify corresponding and influencing factors of m-Learning in SSA because they differ dramatically from those encountered by mobile

In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia. (PGML 2012. 2 2. learn fast and inquisitive. M-Learning in Sub Saharan Africa Context. Mobile learning is seen to be a useful option to overcome some of the challenges. Crucial enablers for mobile learning in the region of Africa and Middle East are named as following: the exponential growth in mobile phone subscriptions.3 Contributions to m-Learning in SSA Scientific publications are mainly accessible through dedicated international conference series and educational blogs related to UNESCO. by offering the opportunity to return to education in a less formal way. 2012). Fast increasing numbers of students on all levels of education are placing great demands upon the Ministries of Education (MoEST) in SSA. According to UNESCOS’s Mobile Learning Guidelines mobile technologies are able to expand and enrich educational opportunities for students in a diversity of contexts. 2028-2033).besides general poverty and disease (Traxler. p.g. 26) In this research work we want to resume different aspects reported in various publications regarding mobile learning to offer a basis for deeper understanding of the complexity of m-Learning in SSA. technological and organisational affordances of sub Saharan Africa are noticeably different from those of the ‘developed’ world (Traxler.) to facilitate learning in new and innovative ways. and educational content (regarding technical limitations). e. 1. where girls drop-out often after short time they also find new chances for appropriate education. many of them knowledgeable about new technologies (even the use of smart-phones) and becoming very demanding. 2012a) ‘Specific cultural. Outlined topics are clustered in accordance of the relevance and help us to address the key fields for future research. Education and Training). Chesapeake. (AME. . In this publication a detailed look is done to various publications to get a closer insight and better understanding of relevant criteria concerning to SSA. M. 2006). demands in education development. Underpinning this is the need to monitor and manage school enrolment numbers at a local and national level. Barriers are a lack of awareness among decision makers (e. Actual information for this work is retrieved also from blogs of organizations. The challenges of teaching in Africa are large class sizes. and the potential of new technologies (mobile networks and internet) to address those demands. p. VA: AACE. 2011) 60% of all people in Africa are under the age of 24.2) Due to the fact that mobile phones are the most widely used technology in Africa and more people have access to a phone than to a computer or even good quality educational materials this offers vast opportunities for m-Learning. and widespread adult illiteracy . un-trained or under-trained teachers with only a limited repertoire of pedagogies. 2012. Acosta. (2013). World Economic Forum. This group is booming with lots of enthusiasm to explore and learn any technologies. (GSMA Report. Furthermore m-learning will also assist many students which are over-aged when enrolling or return to school after few years of absence. 2006.1 Current Situation . GMSA (Transforming learning through m-Education). and Conference-Reports from WISE (World Innovation Summit for Education).g. (Hoefman. Low income groups’ access to education is restricted by many factors including the cost of education and expectations that children may undertake child employment as well social barriers.Originally published in: Grimus. a shortage of adequate materials for both teachers and pupils. World Bank and other organizations supporting developments in SAA rather than in dedicated journals and scientific books. eLearning Africa (International Conference on ICT for Development. technical limitations (feature phones) and costs of device and subscriptions. EduTech-Blog (World Bank-Blog on ‘ICT use in Education Transform Africa’) as well as publications edited by UNESCO. Mobile phones are still a more affordable technology than laptops or computers and often service providers offer subsidized packages to accommodate them.Education and Mobile Learning in SSA Education in SSA and Relevance for Mobile Learning The Education For All (EFA) and Universal Primary Education (UPE) strategies can be seen as enablers towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). & Ebner. 2011) Out-of-school-children and high drop-out rates is troubling the development of education in SSA in many ways. Trucano. mLearn (World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning). by offering modules and content which fits better to their specific demands. learning practitioners around the world. In rural areas. (e. ‘A growing body of evidence suggests that ubiquitous mobile devices – and mobile phones in particular – are being used by students and teachers around the world to access information (…. Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2013 (pp. government). M.What is it about. and edutech-blog.g.

In opposite barriers are still the lack of electricity. Subscribers might also represent a market for educational content. making mobile connectivity more broadly affordable to the masses. highlighting the role of digital skills and the role of ICT in learning and teaching. (Motlik. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia. M. The cell-phone has been argued to be an appropriate device for educational delivery in the developing world. The increasing availability of network access means that the growing capabilities of mobiles are available to more and more students in even more locations. 2009). “Learning can unfold in a variety of ways: people can use mobile devices to access educational resources. Publications are pointing to an occurring dynamism in emerging economies. mobile learning methods hold great promise for both formal and informal learning. however the uptake of data services is increasing rapidly. illiteracy. In Africa at the moment there live more users of mobile phones than in the USA.Originally published in: Grimus. phone theft). Chesapeake. which forces interest in using mobiles to support and deliver learning in Africa amongst a wider world of agencies. 2011). ‘m-learning has the potential to transform the face of education in Africa’.’ that there is not one single point of view on learning and education. 2011). and create content. which is different from what people may find in Europe and North America (Trucano.What is it about. where infrastructure largely didn't exist. both inside and outside classrooms” (PGML 2012. & Ebner. In the light of the discussions about 21st century skills emphasis is laid on and can be figured out in national strategies and curricula.2) Traxler draws attention to the contrast of ‘the near-universal ownership and access to simple mobile phones. We have also to think on different impacts on communities. mother tongues and indigenous knowledge (Traxler. including unstable mains electricity and poor broadband connectivity. p. Over the past ten years. language.2 Perspectives of Mobile Phone Usage for Education in SSA Using mobile devices to enhance the learning process as well as the learning outcomes is one of the common recommendations to approach the EFA and Millennium Goals. the number of mobile connections in Africa has grown an average of 30% per year (GSMA 2011). Operators have reduced their prices on an average of 18% between 2010 and 2011. 2. 2012b). who charge their phones using generators available in local shops as well as solar panels and car batteries. 3 Impact of General Issues After studying a number of different scientific publications and reports the following categories can be carried out..g. 96% of subscriptions are pre-paid with voice services. In SSA it is common to own multiple SIM cards and swap them in and out of their phones as necessary to take advantage of favorable in-network and off-peak pricing structures. energetic and competitive mobile networks and poor infrastructure. 3. 2028-2033). . Each research work was put into exactly one category to prepare a short overview about the main issues. 3. Other technology options that might deliver learning are practically non-existent in SSA ‘The cell phone is the single most transformative technology for development’ (Sachs. corporate and ministries (Traxler. VA: AACE. comprehensive. Fierce competition in SSA has driven down prices and increased penetration. M. (2013). especially outside urban centers. EDGE and 3G technologies (GSMA 2011). who expect a billion subscribers in Africa in the nearest future. where the rate of population growth is higher than that of rate of educated teachers or distributed educational resources. Internet access has been significantly boosted by improved mobile coverage and the launch of GPRS.2 Policies and Strategies in an Increasing Digital Age The second category is deadline with policies and strategies. M-Learning in Sub Saharan Africa Context. Lack of access to electricity has been overcome by many Africans. informal learning. 2008) It is the information and communication technology of the masses due to the fact that amongst the youth of South Africa more than 90% own a mobile phone.1 Mobile Networks and Subscribers in SSA The first category is about the infrastructure. privacy issues. Learners must be able to gain knowledge whenever and wherever they want to and mobile learning takes place when learners are motivated. gender. and concerns about security (e. Especially education has become one of the biggest public enterprises in many countries in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA).. Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2013 (pp. It has become a big business for mobile network operators (MNOs). connect with others.

. with the context playing a pivotal role in the extent of the integration’. M-Learning implies inherently besides other facts. (ICTeTSA 2012. It is inclusive and nondiscriminatory. A survey study on ICTs and education in 53 African countries in 2007 revealed that there is a great deal of variance in ICT policies for education among the African countries. skills and attitudes displayed in the context of task performance countries. p. A shift away from teaching in a classroomcentered paradigm of education to an increased focus on learning. the implementation of these plans remains very dependent on the support of partners from the donor community and the private sector. This grows out of infrastructures and societies and give mobile learning a considerable advantage over conventional e-learning measurements in the immediate future. • As mobile technologies continue to grow in power and functionality. by providing young women with a safe learning environment without leaving the household or community. can be tailored to individual learning needs and can progress at each users’ own pace. 2007). although some students may not have used or been aware of all features Students using devices other than their own require time not only to familiarize themselves with the device. & Ebner.3 General Mobile Learning Issues The third category of publications deals with mobile Learning in general: • M-learning offers a solution to several of the key challenges mentioned above. (ICTeTSA 2012. their utility as educational tools is likely to expand and. (2013).12) ‘Competence is defined holistically as the possession and development of a complex combination of ICT-enhanced knowledge. Chesapeake. This is significant in Africa where many divides and disparities exist. M-Learning in Sub Saharan Africa Context. and provide a supplement to areas where schools are sparse and access to education is limited. The learning potentials of mobile devices can help to address a number of pressing educational needs in new and cost effective ways.12) . • Mobile learning practices in the developing countries differ dramatically from those encountered elsewhere by mobile learning practitioners. Current projects point to sustainable complementarities of methods and technologies (Traxler. In ‘The First Mobile Learning Week” in Paris 2011 the topics of policy issues and teacher development were intensively discussed and pointed out as crucial places to break into the educational cycle to promote EFA (MLWR 2011). which happens informally throughout the day is predicted in the paper ‘Think Piece on Education and Skills beyond 2015’. The development of these competences is supposed to progress developmentally from an initial stage of emerging through to the highest stage of transforming in terms of technology. M. ….What is it about. published by an United Nations task team (TTP 2012). it can be accessed from wherever the user wishes to learn. A set of guidelines seeks to help policy makers to understand better what mobile learning is and how its unique benefits can be leveraged. 3. with it. (PGML 2012 p. their centrality to formal education. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia. 12) • Using a learner’s own device ensures that many of the features of the devices are well known and practiced. UNESCO believes that mobile learning deserves the careful consideration of policy makers. • M-learning can also help to overcome the gender inequality in many developing countries. p. 2028-2033). M.4 Relevance for Teaching and Learning This category is summarizing publications.20) 3. Although these countries have developed or are in the process of developing some sort of ICT in education plans and policies. Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2013 (pp. 2006). These SSA countries are looking closely to ICT applications to help them to meet a myriad of challenges. (PGML 2012 p.also a chance in a didactical approach. pedagogy and content. Many African governments have prioritized ICT policy as a key driver for educational development. Since there are still five times more mobile phone subscribers than internet users in Africa it is important to offer content in formats that is developed access with feature phones.Originally published in: Grimus. Therefore the constraint of inadequate learning material and resources available to learners in developing countries has motivated an attempt to improve the education system. • M-learning initiatives facilitate education and learning in even the most remote locations. VA: AACE. but more importantly to ‘play around’ with the technology and personalize it for their own use (Oliver & Goerke. especially countries that are in transition from a sustained period of conflict and economic instability (PGML 2012). A close affiliation between m-learning and basic skills in ICT can be drawn by thinking of ‘e-learning’ in the sense of ‘every-day-learning’. which are pointing out the relevance for teaching and learning as well as didactical scenarios. For these reasons.

founded by international organizations is available to help in planning and developing wider scale implementation of m-learning for sustainable solutions. to name the most important: to know about mobile learning. An increasing number of initiatives – some large-scale. It is still questioned why governments are not active in scaling up successful projects nationwide: Many pilots on m-learning activities have not materialized to ongoing impact generating programs. Education platforms and social networks for learning through various resources are alternatives to the exclusive face-to-face learning models. Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession. The majority of mobile learning projects were mainly initiated by individuals or organizations backed by private corporations or donor agencies. Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2013 (pp. The TTC (Text To Change) project used text messages to encourage behavioral change and has approved that this approach was a highly effective communication channel for health education in Uganda. 2009). mobiles provide a medium for developing skills of digital and information literacy. Namibia. 2011). Most of the projects have taken place in South Africa: Nokia’s Mobile Mathematics (MoMath). Many of the projects were simply textbased: Downloading text is less costly than downloading images. emerging contexts and basic technologies’ (Wilson et al. the focus is directed on access. Yoza Cellphone Stories. A Mobile Learning Curriculum Framework has been generated as a new project. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia. 2011). which makes texting a more appealing form of communication. Current projects point to sustainable complementarities of methods and technologies. One over-riding concern is the problem of moving projects and pilots into the mainstream of educational provision and finding secure and sustainable funding and support. . M. almost text-based chat platform project in South Africa (AME 2012). 4   Discussion: Key fields for further Development of Education in SSA Considering the categories of chapter 3 and a careful research it can be mentioned that the current state of education in SSA is mainly plagued by a lack of teachers. support reading. some small – are using mobile technologies to distribute educational materials. M-Learning in Sub Saharan Africa Context. another projects has exploited messaging in order to support and connect dispersed students. The curriculum is divided and sub-divided into a number of themes and related modules. According to the World Bank.5 Particular Initiatives and Projects The final category is about reports of particular initiatives and projects due to the fact that mobile learning practice in developing countries are looking to exploit the technologies as effectively as possible and integrate them into education. and enable peer-to-peer learning and remote tutoring through social networking services. 3. which primarily use MXit.Originally published in: Grimus. With the guidance of teachers. is supporting and extending education in ways not possible before. At the time of writing. Chesapeake. to be able to facilitate mobile learning and to understand the implications of implementing mobile learning. 2028-2033). VA: AACE. reports and recommendations. Tanzania. Mobile learning. Classroom instruction and textbooks are still the primary methods used for formal teaching and learning in SSA. Education paradigms are shifting to include online learning and collaborative models. “there are still precious few widespread examples of the use of mobile phones for educational purposes inside or outside of classrooms in developing countries that have been well documented (Trucano. North America and the Pacific Rim (Traxler. Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Hoefman.What is it about. textbooks and funds. A wide range of recent surveys.. Kenya. and downloading-cost considerations were especially important. 2009). M. Practice has evolved that is distinct from the established communities of e-learning and m-learning in the developed countries of Europe. with fixed term and mainly small scale. after funding ended most of the projects passed out. It firms as a first attempt to systematically and comprehensively explore where and how mobiles should appear within educational provision. and Dr Math. In the M-Pesa-project in Kenya SMS was used to support national in-service primary teacher training. Mobiles are streamlining education and improving communication between schools and teachers. as well as critical thinking and online communication skills. Development and delivery of most of the projects have focused on short-term small-scale pilots and trials. Over years SMS and voice based applications have been successfully used in interactive mobile and health education programs. Unique solutions have been developed to address barriers to large-scale adoption of m-Learning. either alone or in combination with existing education approaches. (2013). & Ebner. Cameron.

inadequacies in pedagogical research and difficult working conditions (ICTeTD 2011). There is a need to explore new and also non-traditional approaches. The number of additional primary teachers needed to reach UPE (Universal Primary Education) figures out a demand of 2. 4. mobile technologies provide a medium for formal and informal learning and developing knowledge for millions of Africans who go online ‘mobile first’ or even ‘mobile-only’.115. Chesapeake. Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2013 (pp. . A major challenge is the need to rapidly increase the numbers of trained teachers as well as the improvement of the quality of the school system. e-textbooks.9).What is it about. that teachers don’t have time to search for and assess the vast quantity of resources available on the Internet. . that means a need for additional 1. therefore in some cases they are seen as too valuable to use. Wide scale introductions of mlearning in education systems in SSA is the chance for transformation of existing practices.687. With formal education traditionally emphasizing teaching more than learning. The ICTeTSA report states that teacher standards that integrate ICT are either non-existent or poorly developed to meet the needs and contexts of African countries. M. This number of teachers can't be educated in time by using current practices. The newly published ‘Model’ will serve as guide for IICBA’s interventions in African teacher education systems and offers a model for enabling African teachers to master ICT as an effective tool to improve teaching and learning and actually integrate their skills in day-to-day classroom instruction and beyond. so that teachers can use them easily. M-Learning in Sub Saharan Africa Context. Therefore it would be useful to select and compile the most relevant techno-pedagogical resources and provide them in adequate platforms. but should plan to work actively towards enabling African teachers to master ICT as an effective tool to improve teaching and learning.00.‘ (ICTeTD 2011. With the guidance of teachers. Mobile learning in Africa can help to evolve formats that work across multiple platforms and generate new insights for taking advantage of mobile phones for learning and teaching. p. p. as well as critical thinking and online communication skills. the major challenges facing teacher development in Africa are inadequacies in number and quality of teachers.1 Teacher Education Secondary education and qualified teachers are prerequisites for increased economic growth and social development. 2028-2033). in the 21st century. to reach the goal in 2015 (based on numbers of 2009): There is a recruitment of 76. This also means a necessity for digital and information literacy.nearly no chance to use a laptop or computer at home or at a local library and available textbooks in libraries (if there are any) are very often outdated (content older than 10 years). VA: AACE.000 teachers in SSA. Access to learning material that is needed to meet secondary curriculum specifications is very often out of reach for most of the students.2 % needed (based on the teaching workforce of 2009 to 2015 (UIS/IS/2011/6. poor quality management and leadership. Teachers should provide training and experience in research and information access skills. iPads and tablets) are outpacing laptops and personal computers. is the technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK). (ICTeTSA 2012.2 Learning material: Dearing material. p. which are both essential skills for quality performance in education and lifelong learning (Traxler 2006).12 ) In the ‘ICT-enhanced Teacher Development Model (ICTeTD) is emphasised. professional teacher development should not only go beyond programs that merely focus on training teachers in the operation of computers and ICT literacy per se. & Ebner. ‘…. how to use technology to transform their teaching with technology and create new opportunities for learning (ICTeTD. p. which. deficient training curriculum. 11). (2013). if teacher education and in service-training is empowered to integrate new methods in education. Challenges and possible solutions The ICTeTD Model is grounded in the belief that teaching has its own unique knowledge base. 2011. web based books In many African countries textbooks are scarce and expensive. Recognizing that learning is increasingly happening individually beyond formal educational settings. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia. There is – apart from universities and private schools. In Europe and North America mobile devices (mobile use is fundamental to such new approaches. 11) 4.Originally published in: Grimus. M. IICBA (International Institute for Capacity Building) in Africa recognized in its strategic plan for 2011-2015. This focuses on implementation of m-learning in teacher education institutions (University education). the role of teachers will have to evolve from dispensers of information and knowledge to facilitators and enablers of learning. education systems have focused on the transfer of information and knowledge from the teacher to the learner.

In urban schools supply of textbooks in core subjects ranged from 20–40%. interactive books in a matter of minutes. M-Learning in Sub Saharan Africa Context.Content can either be integrated to the phone operating system or downloaded from the wireless network’ (Young. revisions and updates can be made at any time and published immediately. possession of a full set of basic textbooks is not usual (Tb&SL.besides poor availability. 2008.3 Creative Commons. mainly as 'e-textbooks'. In industrialized countries iPads and tablets are currently the most common devices in education projects. including annotation tools. the availability throughout a student’s career. and/or to complement existing curricular materials (Trucano. Apps are the fastest growing sector of the mobile field in the K-12 sector. which do not offer the functionality of smart-phones and also not a very interactive or media-rich learning experience. M. They do not support multimedia content sufficiently. VA: AACE. A study referring to 38 countries on secondary textbook and school library provision in Sub-Saharan Africa figures out that in some countries no national approved textbooks are available (with significant variations in basic textbook requirements between individual schools). with impacts on every aspect of informal life. Considering further developments and projects this topic is extensively discussed in blogs. p. Although the situation is not comparable to US universities it could be of interest to learn from a recent research on preferences for electronic versus conventional books. E-reader provide annotations and bookmarking possibilities. Chesapeake. 2012) Web based books do not need any reader. which lead to a serious reduction in the quality of secondary education.12).What is it about. Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2013 (pp. replacing in part existing paper-based materials. in rural schools textbooks even in core subjects are very scare. In general government rarely provides free education to secondary schools. potential in almost every academic discipline (MNC 2012. just a web browser. e-books. applications for creation and composition. which is a serious disadvantage for teaching and learning content (Nagler et al. An existing textbook. when downloaded and accessible without internet connection. A recent report (Internet2 eTextbook. 4. In developing countries most of the discussions concerning the use of simple e-book readers and cell phones: GSM phones are a stable and widely available technology. In SSA the most important drivers for e-textbooks are the lack of textbooks and libraries. & Ebner. they embody the convergence of several technologies that lend themselves to educational use. the availability of non-core textbooks ranged from 1:8 (Uganda and Kenya) to 1:40 (Zambia) up to 1:100 (Mozambique) per student. 19) The secondhand textbook market blurs imperceptibly into markets for pirated and stolen books. 2028-2033). 2009). p. If necessary selected pages can be printed. Mobile apps became compelling tools. e-reader An e-book is the electronic version of a printed book produced in different way. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia. (p.. Most commonly those e-books are offered as PDFs. Edits. p. 18) To reduce costs of textbooks lead to much less than desirable levels of textbook availability in many schools.are seen in countries where parent purchase is the usual method of secondary textbook financing as another barrier. is digitalized with added animations. OER (Open Educational Resources) . Further benefits are the portability of e-texts. Expensive imported books. A web-based portal makes it easy for publishers to publish rich. The simpliest form of digitalization is just a scan of a printed version. and increasingly. To reduce the costs instead of minimizing the number of textbooks and reference books required by secondary education curricula and also to adapt content to curriculum developments (frequent changes cause high additional expenses) e-books are an affordable solution. 19). ‘It is possible for educational content producers to partner with the local mobile providers to distribute learning materials…. Textbooks are potentially very significant parts of the parental cost burden. hyperlinks and more. particularly at senior secondary level are usually widely unaffordable. The World Bank is supporting some countries that are planning for the procurement of digital learning materials. regardless of the format. supplied in PDF format. M. interactivity and multimedia competence – especially for video content – is rather low or not provided at all.Originally published in: Grimus. The high prices . interactivity is only enabled by a few formats. (2013). For most schools. and social networking tools. 2012c). 2012. the best solution is a textbook in the hands of a teacher who could write the text onto the blackboard or dictate it directly to the students. videos. more or less. Since there are 5 times more mobile phone subscribers than internet users in Africa it is important to offer content in formats that is developed also for offline learning demands.

2. that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access. focuses on textbooks for K-12 schools. 6). 2012c). sometimes also to link teacher professional development activities to specific educational content. Cell phones are seen as very powerful tools to offer opportunities in teaching and learning for enhancing education in SSA. CK-12 Foundation. The licenses are currently being used in a broad range of open educational content projects worldwide.Originally published in: Grimus. Creative Commons is also partnering with academic publishers of educational content. Reasons therefore are ( to name just a few): ensuring quality. so educators can mix and match pages to create custom lessons (http://cnx. reuse. clear linkages between educational content and curricular objectives. and remix educational resources (http://welcome. ranging from art history to linear equations. While in Europe and North America education seems to continue to perpetuate the decades-old textbook-centric approach to providing students and teachers with instructional materials there is a chance for SSA to strike a new path by focusing on e-books in education.printitgreen. learning and research materials in any medium. ‘African Teacher Education OER Network’. Creative Commons is an initiative to minimize barriers. Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2013 (pp. The internet offers access to educational materials. and education experts to share. GKfF 2007) Mobile phones with internet connectivity (Wi-Fi) allow access to resources released by OER initiatives. Online textbooks allow students access to invaluable educational materials anywhere with mobile networks and internet. often overseen by the ministry itself. School Leadership. collaborative ‘flexbooks’ that are free to use and adapt in multiple formats like PDF. Each module has a corresponding web page. It is specified to the US Curriculum and offers currently supporting specific Interest Groups: Early Childhood Development (ECD). There is a specific section for teachers. and shared. how to communicate. p. child digital safety. (OER 2012. digital or otherwise. This could narrow the gap between what technology offers supplemental instructional videos. Connexions. 5 Conclusions With the accelerating growth of mobile phones in Africa the past few years. Special Needs & Inclusive Education and Science Teacher 3. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia. modified.ck12. Besides OCW from MIT with currently 2000 courses available in different languages and freely and open online for anyone. 2028-2033). Khan Academy (http://www. into basic building blocks known as modules. such as textbooks and courses. and cost savings through bulk purchases (Trucano. privacy. The existing mobile infrastructure can help to overcome many of the longstanding challenges in . Many education ministries prefer to have schools accessing content from one central place. http://ocw. including the notable Open Course Ware (OCW) from MIT (Massachusetts Institut of Technology. but this potential is hindered by increasingly restrictive copyright laws. by providing free licenses and tools that anyone can use to share their educational materials with the world.aspx). OER Africa is a network of projects that enables active participation by educators and other stakeholders in the improvement of education systems in Africa http://cdn.’ (GKfF 2007) ’Open’ means that the resource can be accessed and used by everyone in a non-discriminatory manner. M-Learning in Sub Saharan Africa Context. Chesapeake.What is it about. other institutions also offering open materials in relevance to SSA: 1. M. Social Sciences. Mathematics Education. is a repository and collaborative platform of educational materials that breaks down larger collections. Furthermore ‘open’ specially focused on educational materials can be interpreted as ‘open access to knowledge’. security issues. Open Educational Resources (OER) OER policy will play an important role reducing costs while improving quality of educational resources.oerafrica. M. Curriki: A ‘next generation wiki’ for K-12 education is an online community and wiki platform for teachers. OER’s are ‘teaching. (http://www. 5. and also that it can be adapted. & Ebner. (2013).org/teachered/TeacherEducationHome/tabid/933/Default. learn and play and to education (OoPR 2011. VA: AACE.khanacademy. iPad and Kindle http://www.curriki. 4. adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions. the chances of large scale adoption of m-Learning for supporting learning and collaboration in Africa are one of the most discusses topics around the world. Regional Overview: sub-Saharan Africa (p. University of Wisconsin. books and Using natural resource revenues for education. education. 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