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Zimbabwe: Smartphones Good for Education
Source: African Education Newsletter
Source Date: Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Focus: E-Education
Country: Zimbabwe
Created: Nov 06, 2013

"We share our progress with Botswana, and we discussed and shared the idea with them. Although they have not yet started I hope it's something that they consider to extend to their students as well," she said.Research Communication intern at Research Africa in Cape Town, Abraham Mamela, asserted his support for the use of smartphones in distance learning.
"I think smartphone technology is one of the greatest things that ever happened to communication in Africa. It will slowly bridge the gap between rural areas and speed up developments," he said. Mamela said through the use of smartphones virtual communication is now possible and it means African governments, including Botswana, can seize the opportunity. He said a country like Botswana that has a scattered population can have government spending less in rolling out educational programmes.
He added that although there are challenges of bandwidth at the moment, it is something that can be slowly sorted out given the optic fibre projects that are in progress. Engineering student, Thato Puoetsile, said considering that almost all information is online nowadays, smartphones are definitely a way to get people educated. She said smartphones are the way to get connected with the world.
"Smartphones simplify everything. They are pocket sized and have a lot of memory if we want to download data, read e-books, and nowadays they even have audio books for those who are lazy to pick a book and read," Puoetsile said.The student said a lot of Batswana have smartphones and that can benefit a lot of people as it means access to information and thus acquiring knowledge. She said, "There is a saying that if you want to hide information from a 'black man' put it in books, so maybe smartphones' access to the internet and education mobile applications can help solve that problem, not only for distance learning but for the educational process in general".
A medical student at the University of Pretoria and motivational speaker, Virginia Chepete, said using smartphones would not be much different from using the internet on computers. She said the only advantage is convenience because one can gain access to resources on the go. She, however, noted that when it comes to sending back assignments one would need a computer because some documents can be too big to be sent over the phone.
"That, however, would depend on the smartphone that one is using. Most people cannot afford expensive ones that can do the job so that will only cater for a few people". Chepete said she also knows some distance learning courses that are offered through video tutorials. She said trying to watch videos on a phone screen is most of the time a challenge.
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