Category Archives: Africa

Are South African schools ready for the 4th Industrial Revolution?

As a developing country still dependant on labour-intensive industries such as mining and agriculture, South Africa is at a risk of not optimally taking advantage of the 4th Industrial Revolution, the rapid advancement of new technologies that is building on the developments of the third industrial revolution (the advent of electronics and automated production). According to Klaus Schwab, the Founder and executive chairman of the WEF, the fourth industrial revolution ‘is characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres’.

The increasing intersection between physical and digital technologies is changing the world of work in several key ways. As Schwab says, ‘physical products and services … can now be enhanced with digital capabilities that increase their value’. Today’s worker needs to understand how digital and physical components can combine to create faster, more efficient and effective products and hybrid solutions.

In education, the challenge is to equip learners in South Africa to function effectively in the 21st Century, and use technology to innovate, collaborate and create. Continue reading

A Literary Guide to KwaZulu-Natal

For several years I was involved in a research project at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, researching authors, their books and places connected to them. We produced a number of author profiles and literary trails over the years (in collaboration with a number of co-researchers), which we published online. Working with UKZN Press, we have taken that research and compiled a literary guide, which was recently published.

Book details
KwaZulu-Natal is culturally rich, offering a wide range of writers – writing mainly in English and Zulu – who are linked through their lives and their writing to this province of South Africa. The writers include, to name just a few, Alan Paton, Roy Campbell, Lewis Nkosi, Ronnie Govender, Wilbur Smith, Daphne Rooke, Credo Mutwa and Gcina Mhlophe. And how better to understand a writer than to know about the places they are linked to? For example, who, after reading the lyrical opening sentences of Paton’s famous book Cry, the Beloved Country (1948) has not wanted to see this scene in reality?

There is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills. These hills are grass-covered and rolling, and they are lovely beyond any singing of it.

A Literary Guide to KwaZulu-Natal introduces you to the regions and writers through word and image, leading you imaginatively through this beautiful province.

This could include following the route a fictional character charts in a novel, visiting particular settings from a story or tracking down the places linked to a writer, whether a birthplace, home, burial site or significant setting. Literary tourists are interested in how places have influenced writing and at the same time how writing has created place.

  • A Literary Guide to KwaZulu-Natal by Niall McNulty, Lindy Stiebel
    ISBN: 978 1 86914 357 2
  • Read a few pages here …

 

EdTech World Tour Project Report

Earlier this year I met with Svenia Busonia who was involved in a global research project looking at edtech clusters and the adoptions of various initiatives in diverse regions. Together with her partner Audrey Jarre, she visited India, New Zealand, South Korea, France, New Zealand, Australia, the USA and South Africa. While in Cape Town we discussed the work Cambridge University Press (CUP) is doing in the digital education arena, in South Africa and Nigeria. They also met with local edtech startups Greenshoots, Siyavula, Code X and Rethink Education.

To read more on the project visit their website at www.edtechworldtour.com or download the project report here.

Gates Foundation Global Libraries Meeting

bill-and-melinda-gates-foundationI am very excited about an event I have been invited to present at next week in Cape Town, the 2013 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Global Libraries Peer Learning Meeting.

The BMGF’s Global Libraries program supports efforts to supply and maintain free public access to computers and the Internet in ten countries around the world. According to the BMGF, quick and easy access to information and knowledge can transform the lives of individuals and strengthen communities. Yet, approximately 5 billion people – almost 90 percent of the world’s population – do not have access to computers connected to the Internet.

Continue reading

ICTS for Indigenous Knowledge Preservation

I recently had an article published in the ICT Update magazine, in an issue focused on ‘Crowdsourcing and engagement’. My article was on how libraries in South Africa are using ICTs and community journalists to collect indigenous knowledge.

ICT Update is a bimonthly printed bulletin, a web magazine, and an accompanying email newsletter and mobile website. Each issue of ICT Update focuses on a specific theme relevant to ICTs for agricultural and rural development in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.