Education should go digital, publisher

FRANCISTOWN: Publishing Director at Medi Educational Publishers, Portia Tshoagong has urged education authorities in the country to embrace new technology, particularly social and other forms of the digital media to enhance learning of students. Tshoagong was speaking at the Botswana Social Studies Association 2015 Northern Regional Fair, sponsored by IDM Botswana Institute for over P70,000 here on Suturday.

She said that it is about time learners be allowed to bring to school new technology gadgets particularly their smart phones, which are widely used to support and enhance their learning.

“This is what is happening in developed countries. Education is now beyond the traditional chalkboard, pen and textbooks. Students now learn using the Internet and social media. We need to move along with the rest of the world if we are to improve our education sector,” she said. According to Tshoagong’s hypothetical analysis, eight out of 10 students have smart phones of which 90% are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks.

In her view new technology allows students to have deep understanding of something and to have different views from various people they network with across the world, which goes a long way in improving their education.

She added that new technology allows students to interact with teachers and fellow students at any given time.

Tshoagong further noted, “ In other countries for example, assignments are attended and discussed online through teacher-students blogs and other online educational forums.” Tshoagong said that Botswana has the much-needed infrastructure that supports the use of new technology particularly smart phones. She noted that she is aware that some students do not use smart phones effectively. She however explained that should they be introduced in schools, authorities must encourage students to use the gadgets in a positive manner. She also said that authorities should put measures in place to make sure that new technology is not abused once it has been fully introduced in schools.

Fatazia Lenyatso Principal Education Officer (PEO) in the North East region echoed Tshoagong’s sentiments. He however said that not every student can afford to buy a smart phone, which to some extent encourages stealing among students (who cannot afford the smart phones).

“ We will however appeal to the government to provide schools with smart phones to support learning through new technology,” he said. He added that already some subjects such as social studies are already taught using the new technology.

“Students now do most of their social studies projects with aid of new technology,” he said.

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