Learning environments that are fun and engaging rather than dry give learners stronger motivation to persist and take charge of their own educational outcomes. Because positive attitudes to learning foster positive teaching and learning environments, gamification in education has become an important concept and has seen educators find innovative ways to introduce elements of game design to the classroom.
The Digital Memory Toolkit is an innovative initiative that addresses the digital literacy gap in African digital community projects. Developed in partnership with the Goethe Institut, this toolkit equips project teams with the necessary insights and tools to undertake digital community projects. These projects not only preserve local knowledge but also empower community members through skills training and engagement. The toolkit serves as an introductory training manual for African NGOs, libraries, archives, museums, and schools, enabling them to initiate and manage digital community projects using open-source technology and community volunteers.
African communities have a rich heritage and culture, but the preservation of this heritage has been challenging due to a lack of digital literacy and resources. This made it difficult for digital community projects to effectively document and preserve local knowledge. Moreover, the absence of relevant skills training and community engagement hindered the empowerment of individuals in these communities.
To address these challenges, the Digital Memory Toolkit was developed as a comprehensive resource. The toolkit is divided into three main parts:
- Project Management: Provides guidance on setting up a digital community project, including project planning and management insights.
- Digital Media Training and E-Skills Development: Focuses on developing digital literacy by offering training on software usage, oral history methodology, and digital resource management. This section is crucial for empowering community members and building capacity.
- Case Studies and First-Hand Accounts: A working toolkit for project teams containing practical examples and narratives from successful digital community projects.
Through this structured approach, the toolkit ensures that project teams are well-equipped to undertake digital community projects while fostering skills development and community engagement.
In recent years, a global increase in access to the Internet coupled with a demand for quality and affordable higher education and a willingness on the part of faculty at some international higher education institutions (HEIs) to experiment with Web 2.0 tools and concepts has resulted in the substantial growth of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The growth in these courses is driven primarily by issues of cost and access, as outlined by Cathy N. Davidson in her article ‘Are MOOCs Really the Future of the University?’. In parts of the developing world, in particular countries in Africa, an already-existing skills shortage is exacerbated by limited access to HEIs and the sometimes prohibitive cost of obtaining a degree. In contexts such as these, MOOCs have been proposed as a potential solution. However, the utopian vision put forward by proponents of the system – free, quality education delivered online – is countered by anxiety from some faculty members at HEIs, focused predominantly on what this would mean for the traditional university system.
What is a MOOC?
What then, differentiates MOOCs from the online learning already practiced by many HEIs in South Africa? MOOCs are ‘massive’ – some courses have enrolments of over 100,000 students – and are ‘open’ in the sense that anyone can register to attend the course (often without paying any fees). A recent webinar presented by Paul Stacey discussed ‘The Pedagogy of MOOCs’ and provided a history of the MOOC movement. Stacey explained that the cMOOCs were the first iteration of this courseware and focused on “knowledge creation and generation rather than knowledge duplication” (Stacey, 2013). These MOOCs were experiments in pedagogy as well as courses but although interesting in their own right failed to receive the enrolments and recognition that later MOOCs have.