Is e-learning in South Africa even possible?

I am trying to do a course about teaching with technology. We’re supposed to be talking about implementing technology.  My attempts to discuss how we can implement these technologies when we don’t have adequate internet infrastructure, access to technology, e-learning is literally taxed to line some politicians pockets, etc. etc. have been politely shut down. Again.

“Hi Vicki, internet connectivity is a critical issue, and it must be addressed.  Unfortunately, this is something that is outside of our control at present … so, in order to move forward with the learning on this course, I suggest that we focus on the things we can do given the current restricted situation! smile  I hope this makes sense to you!”

Here’s the reality.

I am house-sitting at my brother-in-law’s house. I don’t have data on my phone, he doesn’t have uncapped internet, and I just used almost all his data watching videos and Prezzis for this course that won’t load and then reload and mess up because of a poor connection. So I’m leaving this thought here and coming back when I can.

This is a useless conversation unless we acknowledge that it is impossible to talk about any of these technologies when our data is so expensive and we can’t afford devices. 

I am a white, middle class women with four degrees, six years of full time teaching experience. By South African standards, the only people more privileged and advantaged than me are the white men. I can’t afford the cost of this course. I literally can’t pay for the data. I can’t get a job with my qualifications. I spent all my savings in an unexpected operation, I’m living with my mother-in-law, my parents are paying for my medication. I’m forced to take a job in the Middle East in August because the money and resources I’ve spent on becoming a lecturer in South Africa have all been a waste.

Let’s talk about implementing technology into our teaching practices. If I’m struggling with my resources, how can those with even less access to resources cope?

Should we have an honest discussion or stick a band aid on a bullet wound?

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2 thoughts on “Is e-learning in South Africa even possible?

  1. This is something that really gets to me. E-learning is absolutely fantastic – IF you have the resources for it. I worked in tertiary education for years and it was a regular argument we had with the college. So many of the kids had never even seen a computer before they arrived at college, and yet they are expected to continue their workload at home, and they do not have the relevant devices or internet to work on. Unfortunately nobody wants to hear the argument against e-learning in a country ill equipped to handle it.

    I wish you the best of luck with the continuation and completion of your course.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment and your experience. What you’re saying is so true!

      I was thinking we should use structures we already have in place. For instance, imagine delivering lectures by radio instead of podcast. People could listen when there’s no electricity, or during the student protests they would still have been able to have access to lectures.

      But, instead, we continue with using models not suitable for our context.

      Liked by 1 person

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