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Deliberating the future of Education in Africa with Student Response Technology

By: David Wilson

, Aug 14, 2015

Participate Technologies were proud to sponsor the recent Distance Education and Teacher Education in Africa (DETA) Conference held at the Mauritius Institute of Education, Réduit, Mauritius 20 -24 July 2015.

David Wilson introducing the clickers for the first time at DETA 2015

The sixth of its kind, the conference was formed to offer a unique platform for educationalists to share knowledge and deliberate on educational issues. This year’s theme was exploring the role educationists could play in creating “The Future We Want” for education on our continent Africa.

The conference was attended by over 170 delegates from 24 different countries which made it the largest yet and we were privilege to be a part of it. For many of the participants this was their first exposure to audience response technology (commonly referred to as clickers in education).

The delegates’ experience of voting in the audience with their handheld clickers and seeing the live results displayed on the screens created somewhat of a spectacle. Many “oohh’s and aahh’s” could be heard from the auditorium as the participants enjoyed the gratifying experience of seeing their response choice displayed on the screen comparing it against what their peers had chosen as responses.

Using the clickers to ask questions of the audience during the keynote session transformed the passive one-direction communication of the presentations into an active two-way participative and engaging experience.The display of many responses were met with delight when consistent majority votes came showing unison in thinking around certain issues.

A polarised response displayed from the audience indicating a clear difference in opinion from the audience.

On occasion perceptions were changed as the audience vote was met with surprise as the responses displayed a different reality, presenting polarisation in thinking around certain issues thus concluding there is much work still to be done in addressing the challenges that the African continent faces in education.

The subthemes of the conference were;
1. Teaching children in diverse African contexts
2. Pedagogies that will achieve “The Future We Want” for education in Africa
3. The role and impact of technology on teacher development
4. Quality in education as a prerequisite to establish “The Future We Want” for education in Africa
Learn more about the conference by visiting the official website www.deta.up.ac.za

For more information about how clickers are being used in South African universities click here to view the student response page.

You can also watch the presentation delivered by Professor Jan Verschoor on how teaching with clickers improves your ability to teach large classes.

This article was originally posted as a press release on IT Web.

About the Author: David Wilson

Husband, Father, Entrepreneur, Event Professional and Problem Solver passionate about life, people, education, and South Africa. Most of my day is spent with the team at www.participate.co.za, I'm a silent partner to my wife's online retail business www.kidscargo.co.za and recently teamed up with Lisa Illingworth to launch Future_ProofSA teaching kids how to become entrepreneurs. I live in the wonderful city of Johannesburg and am blessed to be surrounded by family and friends who I love.

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