TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT AND ELECTRONIC LEARNING IN THE LIFE OF STUDENTS FROM RURAL AREAS IN SOUTH AFRICA. WHAT DO STUDENTS SAY?

C. Rwodzi

Tshwane University of Technology (SOUTH AFRICA)
Technological development, curriculum innovation and introduction of electronic learning in university classes has transformed the teaching and learning processes and procedures for almost all courses and subjects the world over. However, our concern as academics, educationists and curriculum practitioners is the condition by which students from rural areas and marginal regions are overburdened with the academic workload in educational delivery. Our focus is on students from disadvantaged communities whose experience in learning with technology requires them to learn technology before they learn with technology. While the use of technology in teaching has no option in their academic life, matters of access, awareness of software capability and skills gap stand in the way of students for maximum utilisation of learning with technology opportunities in the globalisation project. Experience and observations of the researcher has reflected that students who start to use a computer at university will grapple with skills and subject content thereby giving them an academic overload. This paper seeks to explore the experiences of students from disadvantaged schools who use the computer on their entry to university education.

South Africa is a country that attained freedom and independence about twenty years ago. This new dispensation saw the change in focus, content and modes of delivery of the curriculum in teaching and learning at university level. However, the change necessitated by political change has also been accompanied by globalisation and technological development. Inclusive education and same curriculum approach recommends all schools to teach the same content. There are major environmental differences such as availability of infrastructure, equipment, skills and supply of electrical energy for technology to function. Rural schools, informal settlements and other marginal areas face the challenge of having access to technological equipment and their students have to bridge the gap when they enter the university education. What do the students say?