SIAB can enable delivery of rich multimedia content promoting the development of locally driven curricula which aids social inclusion and advancement.
SIAB Can Enable Locally Driven Curricula
A comprehensive white paper by the ‘Global Alliance for ICTs and Development (G@ID) was published in July 2009. It is cited here to highlight a number of core issues raised back then about difficulties in implementing ICTs in rural sub Saharan Africa that we believe SIAB can now overcome.
The following items were some of the core challenges raised:
1. ICTs must be case specific and locally driven
An integral part of SIAB is the ability to easily create ePub content that is location specific using Apple’s iPad2. Native iPad2 applications such as iMovie enable teachers and students to easily create rich multimedia content that can be archived and reused through a system of folders now supported by Apples iOS running on the iPad.
iMovie is a powerful application which is very easy to use. The built-in camera on the iPad 2 and user friendly interface of iMovie allows new users to quickly develop relevant local learning content. Teachers and children can add narrative to stories or add soundtrack by recording audio directly into a movie’s timeline using the built-in microphone on the iPad 2.
2. Is there adequate support and funding?
SIAB is much more likely to receive support and funding from government due to its very low cost per unit at approximately €1,200. Bulk buying of SIAB has not been factored in and could significantly reduce the unit cost. The cost of electricity in Africa is an expensive commodity. SIAB as an alternative power source eliminates this expense.
3. Is there infrastructure and connectivity for computers in schools?
SIAB is a solar powered solution that overcomes the connectivity and basic infrastructural barriers – lack of access to electricity.
4. Have teachers ever used computers before and are they willing to adopt their teaching styles to do so?
The intuitive, user friendly interface on the iPad2 should greatly encourage the adoption of SIAB. This in turn should influence teachers to adapt existing learning styles and in a ‘blended’ way lower any cultural barriers, real or perceived in this context.
The Ultimate Curriculum Link – World Wide Web
SIAB can provide access to the ultimate learning resource tool on the planet, the World Wide Web either directly or indirectly. Curriculum specific content can be download off site and pre-loaded onto the iPad2 for classroom use where live internet access in unavailable.
All of Wikipedia – Offline
Most schools in rural India and SSA do not have internet access. To overcome this barrier SIAB comes pre-installed with one of the most useful, relevant Apps or resources for developing regions the ‘All Of Wiki’ App. Through ‘All Of Wiki’ the entire contents of ‘Wikipedia’ are available for end users in English and several other languages, notably French. The English database is (4GB) in size and French amounts to (2GB). The database contains tables of contents, links and every single article and redirected search term. There are no images for the articles but these can be added where an internet connection is available.
SIAB can connect people to UNESCO-IHE, an online institute for water education development. Information and links to over 80 experts can be found here with experience in water sector development. The institute has an extended network of alumni in more than 164 countries with modern solutions and expertise to aid any development related water project.
High quality instructional videos downloaded from iTunesU can educate locals in rural India and SSA about the importance of sanitation and hygiene. The lack of access to clean water that exists among rural populations in SSA and India for drinking and sanitation purposes results in the deaths of approximately 3 million children in the developing world each year.
Sex Education HIV/AIDS
SIAB can exposure more people to more education on sexual matters especially related to simple precautions surrounding the practice of unprotected sex – the most common cause of newly infected people in developing regions of the world.
Due to improved sex education in 22 countries in sub-Saharan Africa the incidence rate of HIV/AIDS infection has declined by more than 25% between the years 2001 and 2009. Worldwide 34% of people infected with HIV reside in 10 countries in Southern Africa.
SIAB and Teacher Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
Research referenced elsewhere in this paper suggests that the use of ICTs in developing regions such as sub Saharan Africa (SSA) and India improves the overall didactic experience for both students and teachers. A vital cog in the process of integrating all aspects of ICTs into the classroom is the ability, confidence and preparedness of the teachers involved. Research surrounding teacher factors and the use of ICTs in SSA classrooms point to the recent global economic downturn leading to cutbacks in ICTs training for teachers – hindering ICTs capacity building in SSA schools. Other studies show that gains in ICTs literacy increases confidence and enthusiasm among teachers. This is due to their increased ability to plan and prepare learning content in advance and track student progress.
To help counter this decline in teacher training in ICTs, SIAB can include a suite of packaged user friendly tutorials to help train teachers and highlight the importance of CPD. The user friendly tutorials in SIAB can be updated online or offline via PC laptops connected to the Internet servicing a number of schools in an area.
Other benefits in SIAB surround the concept of self-efficacy. Teachers and students can benefit through self reflection in how they approached tasks and challenges when producing local content through the video editing application iMovie. They can watch themselves back on video to assess the critical thinking used and reflect on the outcomes which are all part of the ‘inquiry process’.
In this context, local learning solutions captured and recorded through SIAB can be archived and indexed in a library for dissemination purposes.
Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) underpins SIAB
Inquiry based learning is a student centered pedagogical approach to problem solving that underpins the SIAB initiative. Students mostly work in groups with guidance from the teacher. In SIAB we refer to IBL as the “inquiry process” as it includes both analytical (deconstruction) skills as well as creative communications (construction and production) of film or multimedia as the end product for assessment.
The wider FÍS project highlights the importance and relevance of media literacy in education – media image literacy. Today more than ever it is vitally important that all stakeholders in this context can navigate through multimedia culture. Educators, parents and students should be fluent in reading and writing the language of images and sounds just as we have been taught to read and write the language of text.
8.1 IBL and Multiple Intelligences (MI) Theory
Inherent in the “inquiry process” used in SIAB is the ‘catch all’ capability of this learning methodology that caters for students with different learning styles, abilities and personality of all ages. It is very much in line with Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI) that we all possess at one level or another. MI theory refers to “a set of human computational capacities – humans have the ability to ‘compute’ language, numbers, social and spatial relations etc.” SIAB provides more opportunity for students to express themselves both within and outside the narrow confines of traditional classrooms. This is due to the collaborative, constructivist nature of the “inquiry process”. For example students who are Dyslexic and strong in ‘Musical Intelligence’ (one of nine discrete types of intelligence identified by Gardner) can benefit greatly from such systems that are not as reliant on traditional reading and writing skills commonly used to assess learning. Gardner posits that the onus is on every teacher to “find a students’ favored way of knowing”. Individuals should be given the “opportunity to exhibit their understandings by means of media and representations that make sense to them”. The iPad 2 can be customized with Apps that support the IBL approach.