Mobile learning seminar – Dick Ng’ambi


Re-conceptualizing “contact” education: a case of mobile learning at the University of Cape Town

Dick talked in general about his work and HE education in South Africa. He works for the Centre for Educational Technology which has a remit to:
– ensure all students have fair access
– address educational social inclusion
– enable all to participate in a new communicative order

South African HE education context
The DoE in SA wants to transform the HE system to serve the new social order, pressing national needs, and the new ‘global’ reality. A target set by 2013 is that all teachers and learners will be able to ‘use ICT’s confidently and creatively’.

In terms of access to HE in SA, pre 1994 social policies are largely manifest along racial lines, by contrast in the UK socio-economics are the determining factor.

A key issue for SA is to balance graduate demographics input with graduate throughput. Dropout rates are high and as the recruitment net widens so does the inclusion of poorly academically prepared students. In addition, there is a diverse student population with different learning preferences. Class sizes are also large which makes offering a personalised learning experience difficult particularly the giving of meaningful feedback.

A funding change to output rather than recruitment is designed to apply pressure to address the retention at an institutional level.

Dick talked extensively on the nature of contact between students and their lecturers painting a recognisable picture for those working in HE in the UK. He made the point that contact education forces a convergence of distance and time and that it is dominated by the lecturer. However education (learning) is more naturally independent of distance and space.

This leads to a position of de-coupling learning activities, interactivity, and intended outcomes from a model of ‘contact’ education.

A student quote exemplified the ‘suffocating’ experience that HE can be with a continual diet of new ‘stuff’ to learn. Personally, I think that the assessment tail wagging the learning dog has much to contribute to this.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Mobile learning seminar – Dick Ng’ambi

  1. Gina

    Thanks for this. I have a couple of questions…

    I don’t understand this…

    However education (learning) is more naturally independent distance and space.

    Or this…

    This leads to a position of de-coupling learning activities, interactivity, and intended outcomes from a model of ‘contact’ education.

    Sounds like SA has some exciting developments. I imagine change may be slow – did he talk about pace?

    Also, you say. ‘Dick talked extensively on the nature of contact between students and their lecturers painting a recognisable picture for those working in HE in the UK’ – not sure what you mean here either. What exactly about the nature of contact do you see as being of interest to those in the UK? Do you mean that distance learning can free up time and space? Are you saying that the UK needs to move in this direction or that it already is?? Needs clarifying.

    Reply
  2. Stephen Powell

    Point 1. Apart from the omission of the word ‘of’, I think that Dick was pointing out that learning is viewed by society as something that happens at a time and place – schools, universities, etc. However, in reality most learning is situated in our daily work and social interaction, places of learning are for most a relatively new ‘invention’.

    Point 2. If you buy into the idea that learning doesn’t mostly occur in educational institutions, then learning activities, interaction between learners, learning itself do not have to be focussed around contact with the teacher.

    Point 3. The target he shared “by 2013 is that all teachers and learners will be able to ‘use ICT’s confidently and creatively'” is not realistic, but political.

    Point 4. Lectures still predominate as a teaching strategy and many students don’t behave as the autonomous self-directed learners that is offered as the ideal student behaviour.

    That was at least 4 questions:^)

    Reply
  3. Gina

    Ha!

    Four questions yes – I’m greedy.

    Clarifies things thanks.

    So could we say that most countries in the developed world are moving towards a new pedagogy which allows ‘autonomous self-directed learners’ to florish?

    Reply
  4. Stephen Powell

    I think it is reasonable to conclude that many of the pressures acting on HE institutions are similar across the globe. Thomas Friedman – The World is Flat – makes an interesting read on globalisation generally…

    Any changes in HE, are, however, likely to be very slow in coming.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s