Technology And Education In Africa

If your goal is to educate children in an African refugee camp, what is more important to give them:  pencils and paper, or solar-powered iPads?

Somali school in Dadaab, Kenya refugee camp source: author unknown

On the high-tech plus side:

  • the appeal of gadgets attracts young people to school and keeps them there
  • learning technology may enable the young people to find better jobs when they get out of school

On the down side:

  • risk of theft
  • lack of training and support for teachers
  • compromised literacy (studies suggest that typing on a tablet is less efficient than typing on a keyboard and that, as a result, students write in shorter sentences and edit their work less)
  •  potential access to inappropriate content
  • the requirement of working in English

According to eLearning Africa, there is no “compelling case” in support of the use of technology in African education… yet.  Do you agree?  Are things moving too quickly in the high-tech direction before the students and teachers are ready for it?  Do you see other benefits to the use of technology in education not on this list?  Are the risks nevertheless outweighed by the potential rewards?

What do you think?


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