Learning and Teaching With Mobile Devices: An Approach in Higher Secondary Education in Ghana

Learning and Teaching With Mobile Devices: An Approach in Higher Secondary Education in Ghana

Margarete Grimus (Graz University of Technology, Austria) and Martin Ebner (Graz University of Technology, Austria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8789-9.ch098
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Abstract

While many developing nations find Internet-based e-learning unsuitable for their needs mobile learning methods – specifically those involving the use of mobile-phones for both formal and informal learning – hold great promise for them (). In this paper chances and challenges introduced by mobile devices to support improvement and transformation of education in a Senior High School in Ghana are examined. The field-study draws attention to the local situation, looking at infrastructure and teachers and students attitudes in using digital learning material. This paper presents results of a pilot project at a Senior High Technical School in Ghana, by addressing the issue how mobile devices can be integrated in learning and teaching. Based on our results we conclude that teachers and students hold great promise for using mobile devices for learning. Together they developed content based on the national curriculum, available for eReaders and mobile phones.
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2. Focus On Literature Review

Low-cost and affordable, mobile phones in Africa are offering new perspectives for improvement in education and learning. There is growing concern about the use of computers and mobile devices to support learning, but the general state of pedagogical integration of ICTs in Ghana is low. (Yianda, 2010) Mobile technologies can play a particularly important role in the informal learning environment: they can be used for communication, collaboration, gathering and sharing of information. (Khaddage & Lattemann, 2013)

Mobile learning refers to use of mobile or wireless devices for the purpose of learning. (Park, 2011) In his publication at the conference on the ‘digital future’, Traxler pointed out that ‘mobile devices will soon support every pedagogic option including the didactic and the discursive, the individual learning and the social’. (Traxler, 2010) He continues: ‘Mobile devices affect many aspects of the process by which knowledge, ideas, images, information and, hence, learning material is produced, stored, distributed, delivered and consumed’. (Traxler, 2010, p.13) Instructional design suitable for desktop computers does not transfer well to mobile phones. (Batchelor, Botha, 2009).

The majority of mobile learning projects in Africa were initiated by individuals or organizations backed by private corporations or donor agencies. The problem of moving projects and pilots into educational provision mainstream is seen in the difficulty of finding secure and sustainable funding and support. Many pilots on m-learning activities have not materialized to on-going impact-generating programs, because most of the projects passed out after funding ended. (Grimus & Ebner, 2013a). This project runs without external funding, but has a strong focus on practicability in the field.

Digital literacy is important for a successful career after school. Digital literacy is defined as a set of skills, knowledge and attitudes required to access digital information effectively, efficiently, and ethically (Julien, 2014). In the 2012 GSMA report (conducted in Ghana, India, Morocco and Uganda) it is stated that 63% of youths believe that they could learn through even a basic mobile device; the benefit of mobile learning was considered particularly important and the highest quoted in Ghana (56%). This enthusiasm increased even more when youths were shown actual mobile data and video content. (GSMA, 2012)

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