Stellenbosch University Centre for Pedagogy (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 3725-3735
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The affordances of mobile technologies for educational purposes are being harnessed worldwide. This paper explores the challenges of overcoming the limited interactivity of telematic sessions for in-service teachers in remotely located schools via mobile technologies. The Centre for Pedagogy at Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape Province of South Africa has entered into contract with the Department of Education to deliver in-service programmes via satellite to selected telematic centres where reasonable numbers of identified teachers can assemble and receive televised lectures in an attempt to up skill their mathematics and science pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and subject matter knowledge (SMK) according to their needs.

A major strength of the telematic sessions is their audio-visualisation power – televised lectures – in real time. Teachers can view the lecturers using whiteboards or laboratory equipment to explain unfamiliar/difficult topics and even carry out demonstrations of scientific experiments, dissections and/or mathematical constructions and problem solving in real time. What are the instructional design imperatives that should accompany such delivery modes to make them more effective? Essa [1] states that students expressed the need for dialogical teaching and learning whereas they experience telematics broadcasts as monological (from lecturer to student). Short message services (sms’s) are too expensive an option in resource-constrained environments. Rambe and Bere [2] found that the use of social media, such as instant message services, in resource-constrained environments, heightened student participation and enhanced the formation of learning communities for knowledge creation. Can the introduction of an inexpensive social media application such as WhatsApp messaging, to increase interactivity of telematic sessions, be of any value? Initial feedback from teachers has been positive and even some of the challenges of assessment of PCK and SMK might be addressed through the group and video message functions of WhatsApp. This reinforces the importance of blended learning approaches that combine new platforms with the traditional.

[1] Essa, I. (2010). Possible contributors to students’ non-completion of the postgraduate nursing diploma at Stellenbosch University. Stellenbosch University.
[2] Rambe, P., & Bere, A. (2013). Using mobile instant messaging to leverage learner participation and transform pedagogy at a South African University of Technology. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4), 544–561. doi:10.1111/bjet.12057
Telematic sessions, in-service teacher education, mathematics and science.