No conference on ICTs would be complete without comprehensive online documentation of the planning, process and outcome. Our roving reporters captured the essence of eLA 2011 – starting with the welcoming ceremony, the plenary sessions and ever-lively debates – and also covering the overall spirit of the entire conference and exhibition. Highlights of all these are now available for viewing on the eLearning Africa website and on ICWE’s YouTube channel.
eLearning Africa 2011 film
A nine minute-long film about the Dar es Salaam conference gives an overview of the vibrant style and substance of the conference and what participants took away from the many engaging discussions and presentations on offer. Shafika Isaacs, Programme Director of eLearning Africa 2011 says that in particular the research stream which was introduced experimentally drew many people’s interest, and it thus holds “huge possibilities for the prospect of promoting knowledge production about Africa.” This presentation captures the essence of eLearning Africa and why it’s an annual event not to be missed.
Highlights include a speech by Emanuel Feruzi, Managing Director of Tri Labs, Tanzania, who gives a moving testimony of his educational journey, his love of Open Source software, and the need for people to share their knowledge if societal transformation is to become a reality.
Dr Mohammed Gharib Bilal, Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, officiated at the opening ceremony, and in his welcoming address he reflects on the conference theme: Youth, Skills & Employability and the need to integrate more ICTs into education and training in order that the youth be productive on the labour market.
MacDaniel A. Powell, the Director of the Department of Information Technology in the Ministry of Youth in Liberia gives an edifying speech on the value of education for uplifting African youth. “When you are ignorant, you are at the mercy of others,” he says. He argues that quality education breeds confidence which eventually leads to self-reliance.
Jenerali Ulimwengu is a Tanzanian journalist and political commentator widely known for his TV talk show Jenerali on Monday. In a speech infused with morsels of wisdom, humour, and thought-provoking anecdotes, he inspires people to strive for “localised” education which is geared to meet their own needs. He considers the importance of classroom instruction and also argues that the value vocational training and sports should not be overlooked.
With the conference centred on Youth, Skills & Employability, Open Educational Resources (OER) was an important topic of discussion since it is touted as a way to educate many people at little to no cost. The motion for the eLearning Africa 2011 debate was “This house believes that the OER movement is fundamentally flawed because it is based on the false assumption that educational institutions are willing to share educational resources freely and openly.” This contentious issue elicited strong responses about whether university professors should share their course content freely and what benefits and challenges will come out of the free flow of information.