Using digital storytelling to teach English Language skills in South African schools

Education standards at some schools in SubSaharan Africa is poor, with mathematics and literacy highlighted as key problem areas. According to the report Teaching and learning: Achieving quality for all (2014), published by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation Education (Unesco), almost half the children in this region had difficulty reading at a basic level.

This issue  is reflected to a large extent in South Africa. The Department of Basic Educations’ National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU), in a 2012 report, highlighted the fact that almost three quarters of scholars at schools evaluated in South African could not read at a normal level. This was attributed to a number of reasons, including a lack of reading content available in classrooms. Where schools did have books, these were often locked away in a store-room or only available for use for short periods in the class. Coupled with this is a large percentage of teachers with limited subject-knowledge and a general “lack of understanding … of what it means to be literate, and the specifications of the official curriculum” (NEEDU, 2014:10). The report concludes that programmes are needed to develop literacy and English proficiency and that for “language and the content subjects scholars should write at least 4 times a week” (NEEDU, 2014:11).

Read moreUsing digital storytelling to teach English Language skills in South African schools

CUP South Africa partners with NGO Worldreader

Interviewed for an article in The Bookseller magazine about a mobile learning project I initiated with Cambridge University Press and the NGO Worldreader.

Article below and source here

Read moreCUP South Africa partners with NGO Worldreader

The number in my pocket: the power of mobile technology for the exchange of indigenous knowledge

Greyling, E. and McNulty, N. 2011. The number in my pocket: the power of mobile technology for the exchange of indigenous knowledge. Knowledge Management for Development Journal. 7 (3): 256 – 273. Available HERE. See a summary in poster form HERE.

The last decade has seen the development of online databases becoming an established norm throughout the world for the preservation of indigenous knowledge. However, in the absence of desktop computers and ubiquitous Internet access, Africa is limping behind in this quest for global information, with the digital divide ever widening and the wealth of indigenous knowledge fast disappearing for the people of this continent. In a bid to address these seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Africa is recognizing the potential of the mobile phone to enable the continent to catch up with the global information society. Since 2000 some 316 million new mobile phone subscriptions have emerged on the African continent. For them the cell phone has become an information hub, the primary interface through which to connect to Africa and to the rest of the world. A recent, promising development has been the introduction of browsers on mobile phones. This, combined with the 3G network all cellular providers have migrated to, means that ordinary Africans are accessing the Internet from their phones in ever-increasing numbers. The success of a number of Internet-based mobile applications means that the average cell phone user now associates his phone with more than just the calls he makes or text messages he sends. He can also play music, show video, find out where he is via GPS and access local and global information. This paper describes a concept for the development of user-generated content compiled in an online indigenous knowledge database, making use of current mobile and web technologies. Informed by empirical practice based on a South African case-study, the different tools are discussed, highlighting the interaction between the library, the community and the technologies. The participating role of local communities leading to enrichment of the database is juxtaposed against the library’s anchor role as custodian of the knowledge resource. The preservation of context-related local knowledge creates a digital library of relevance to local communities. Technical functionality enables the social interaction that results from knowledge sharing. Short and long-term benefits that the community stands to gain are discussed and the limitations of the model pointed out.

Niall McNulty presented a poster at the The Third International m-libraries Conference ( in Brisbane, Australia in 2011.  The poster outlined the Ulwazi Programme’s plans for developing a system to collect indigenous knowledge via mobiles phones in the eThekwini Municipality.

Memories of Inanda: Lulu Dube

Mwelela Cele interviews Lulu Dube as part of the Memories of Inanda documentary, produced for the eThekwini Municipality’s Ulwazi Programme. Lulu discusses her father John Langalibalele Dube, the founding of the African National Congress and life in Inanda.

John Dube (1871 – 1946) was a South African essayist, philosopher, educator, politician, publisher, editor, novelist and poet. He was the founding president of the African National Congress

Shot at the Dube family home in Inanda in April 2010.