Laptops favoured for African education

Laptops are the favoured media used for digital education in African classrooms, with mobile yet to eclipse more established technologies.

The eLearning Africa report, released with the opening of the eLearning conference underway in Namibia, explored the key elements in African education that need to be addressed for progress.

More than 83 per cent of respondents indicated a preference for laptop use, while 71 per cent make use of mobile phones in education.

“Mobile technologies have not yet eclipsed older generation technologies and their use for learning and teaching,” the report stated.

Desktop computers are still used by 67 per cent, while 34 per cent make use of television sets and 31 per cent rely on the radio as part of teaching.

Tablets and smartboards are still underexposed in African education, with 20 per cent use of smartboards and 30 per cent having no previous experience of tablet use.

However, an interest in tablets was expressed and also discussed at the conference, which will come to a close today (Friday).

Social media use in learning revealed a 60 per cent popularity of Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn.

The role of social media is esteemed as “revolution[ary]” by the report, calling the medium as influential in relations between governments and citizens.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) interfaces, such as Skype, are employed by 22 per cent as a prominent medium, with mobile apps such as chat platforms used by 52 per cent of participants.

Results showed mobile is believed to be the top driver, the government as the agent of change and affordability the key access element in e-learning.

“Most mobile individuals have access to mobile phones and with the reduction in handset prices, most individuals can access the internet and thereby more resources from the palm of their hands,” a Kenyan respondent said.

Marking a “surprisingly optimistic” result on the education experience, the report pointed to a more African-orientated shift.

Top international development areas are gathered to be education (27 per cent) and ICT (22 per cent).

“The e-learning landscape is experiencing tectonic shifts that are catalysed by fast-changing digital technologies,” the report concluded.

 Respondents consisted mostly of educated Nigerians at graduate level, with 80 per cent being African-born. 

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