Tuesday, 13 November 2007

What's really important

Here's Karyn Romeis's comment about my initial posting. It was posted in Mark Berthelemy's blog Learning Conversations. Mark was my peer from the MEd in eLearning at Hull.

Comment from: Karyn Romeis [Visitor] ·
Hmm. I'm sorry, but for me, this is a bit "let them eat cake" (and no, I haven't missed the fact that the post comes from a citizen of a developing nation).

The provision of elearning makes many assumptions, among which are: adequate electrical supply, access to facilities and functional literacy on the part of the users. Even in parts of South Africa, these conditions are not always met, and there are countries in the world with a lot further to go.

I'm not saying that the developing nations need to follow the same path that has been taken by the developed/industrialised nations. But there is much that needs to be set in place before elearning becomes a viable option in many parts of the world.
Permalink 13/11/07 @ 06:34

My reply:

Hello Karyn and everyone.

That’s precisely what I’m saying. Instead of investing money on the creation of courses to be delivered on TV or radio (and broadcast this as a major investment on the improvement of our educational conditions), governments should focus on infrastructure—electricity and broadband access for instance—to allow for adequate education. Donating PCs to schools where there’s no running water and qualified teachers are exceptions doesn’t seem to help either. I just think we should be able to skip some of the phases of educational technology development and focus on what’s really important.



Karyn Romeis said...

Hi Anamaria - With hindsight, I realise I should have posted my comment on your blog, rather than Mark's - apologies for that!

I think we see similar end goals, but perhaps we have different concerns about what comes between. Perhaps that can be accounted for by the different cultures that have informed our views, and the differing challenges faced within those cultures.

That said, I can certainly relate to the notion of "schools where there’s no running water and qualified teachers are exceptions" - see my post on the subject.

I'm not much of a one for trotting out Maslow's hierarchy of needs, but I do think there are some fundamental needs that must be met as a priority before broadband access can even be considered. Roughly (but not strictly) in order of significance, I would see these as:
* food
* shelter
* santitation
* healthcare
* functional literacy

Potentially employment belongs in there somewhere, too. I don't know what the unemployment rate is like in Brazil - it's pretty horrendous in South Africa (far worse than the government figures would have one believe).

Anamaria Camargo said...

Hi Karyn and everyone.

No problem about posting on Mark’s blog :)

I certainly agree with you (and Maslow) in terms of fulfilling the basic needs. However, what I’m trying to say here is related specifically with education and the technologies that may be used to promote it, especially those used in Distance Education. The use of radio and TV has been relatively successful in several countries before adopting online learning. It was like a natural evolution process. Nevertheless, considering all the technological knowledge already available, I defend that it’s a waste of time and money to make all developing countries follow the same path. Instead, my view is that we should be spending money on what I consider to be really important (for education). And that certainly includes electricity, mobile telephone and broadband. And, of course, teacher education. (for the concept of Leapfrogging please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leapfrogging

This relates to Mark’s comment on Harold Jarche’s ‘Industrial Schooling in Contravention of the UN’ (http://www.learningconversations.co.uk/main/index.php/mark) . People should be able to make choices in relation to education, and e-Learning is about empowering them to do that. Besides, I do believe that would have an impact on unemployment in Brazil too. You guessed right, unemployment is a serious problem here in Brazil. Official numbers say it is around 16%. And guess what? In many areas there are more job opportunities than qualified workers to take them (http://www.gazeta.com.br/integraNoticia.aspx?Param=18%2C0%2C+%2C1048738%2CUIOU) (sorry, only in Portuguese).

A technical query: I can use the HTML editor and add links when I'm posting my texts as administrator of my blog. But I can't seem to find out how to use it when I'm replying to a comment posted. Any help?

Karyn Romeis said...

Hi Anamaria

When you are posting comments, you have to create your own html tags. That took me a while to get my head around.

But this page is very helpful for learning how to create hyperlinks. The rest of their site is also useful if you want to learn about some of the other tags.

Anamaria Camargo said...

Thank you so much, Karyn. I'll try... :)