Today we welcome Deborah Elzie as our Guest blogger
Deb Elzie is a designer with a background in educational psychology. She works as an instructional designer at the Payson Center at Tulane University and has interests in filmmaking, open learning, mHealth, mLearning, global health and disaster resilience. When she has free time she likes to explore black & white photography and eco-friendly fashion and product designing.
We learn from each other because we teach other. Tunafunzana is a Kiswahili phrase that means “we teach each other”. The idea that we teach each other has been around for quite some time, but I think it has taken on greater significance in this current age of tech.
Personally, I’ve found evidence of how we teach other in my recent trips to the Eastern Africa region. While most of my work takes place in Rwanda, I also have had the opportunity to interact with peers in Uganda. The one thing that strikes me as we discuss mobile apps, social media and ICT is that the more we spend time conversing about projects, ideas, successes and failures, the more we learn from each other. Knowledge has never been about transferring data from one individual or group to another, although at times we have thought it to be.
Gaining knowledge is really all about conversations – sharing ideas, correcting misconceptions, and raising questions that lead to deeper understandings. And such was the case recently as I had the chance to talk with Victor Miclovich of Coders without Borders
I’m determined to learn to program mobile applications – 1) Because I always like a new challenge and 2) Because much of my work involves health and learning in the region and mobiles are the main communication devices. So, I decided it would be wise to find out more about how Victor teaches mobile programming.
I’ve known Victor for a few months, having first met him via Twitter (@vicmiclovich). Victor is founder of Coders without Borders, and he serves with me as a core team member on The Kuyu Project
We both volunteer with Kuyu. Victor works on a variety of mobile applications and I’ve followed along in his SKYPE sessions as he guides his students with their various mobile projects. In my conversations with Victor I’ve learned:
• Mobiles can be powerful devices. Victor even programs on the go with his Nokia N900. I think we need to constantly rethink what is possible on our mobiles.
• Open, collaborative design is better design. I’ve watched/participated now in several of Victor’s mobile collaborative design projects, and each time I’ve seen the power of collaboration as designs are refined and expanded.
• Higher education faces a challenging task ahead as we rethink what it means to be relevant to today’s learner. Victor is a self-taught programmer, and an autodidact. He is constantly learning and sharing his knowledge with others who want to learn. “We teach each other” is a model that is working in ICT in East Africa and it’s a model that all of us should explore further.