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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Learning in Africa

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of teaching a group of academics from Addis Ababa University who were in the UK on a programme sponsored by Ethiopiaid (a charity set up by the Reed group's founder).

It was a last minute thing as they had some time free before their return flight so I shamelessly pillaged Jane's list of e-learning tools to introduce them to new ways of finding information and learning.

We hung the session on the question, "Where is knowledge?" and I adapted a challenge that Tony Karrer used earlier in the year in that they had been invited to brief the Ethiopian President the following day on the Guatamalan Coffee industry (something I know nothing about and I hoped they would know nothing about).

We had time to work through:

1. Advanced search terms on Google

2. Free learning on YouTube

3. Using Linked In to find information

4. Sharing and building knowledge with Delicious

5. Using RSS feeds and Google Reader to make the information you want find you

6. And blogging as reflective practice

Which was not bad in an hour and a half. As we explored these issues the penny finally dropped for me on the importance of the laptop for under $100 project and web coverage for Africa. I have a feeling that parts of Africa may skip the industrial age altogether.