Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Using Social Media to enhance Knowledge sharing in Authentic Contexts

Social Media(SM) is one of the major ways that the 21st Century students communicate and interact with one another. This has been evidenced by wide academic research on SM usage in modern education settings. Facebook is one of the most popular SM sites visited by students on a daily basis. In this minor-dissertation, a study of Bindura University Computer Science students’ educational uses of Facebook during Industrial Attachment is explored.

Qualitative results of students' interaction on Facebook (FB) to explore authentic learning during industrial attachment are discussed. In this study, conversation analysis of Facebook posts was performed against nine elements of authentic learning by Herrington Reeves and Oliver (2010). This was done to investigate the extent to which FB supported authentic learning during Industrial Attachment programme. Students were exposed to an environment where ideas could be explored at length in the context of real situations. Experiences shared and analysed showed that tasks assigned were complex and broad enough for students to actually make decisions about how they are supposed to complete them. This qualified authentic learning during industrial attachment.

Results of this study show that social media use in education enhances knowledge sharing. Experiences and discussions analysed highly evidence the pedagogy of authentic learning during industrial attachment in the computer science programme. From this, adoption of authentic learning as a pedagogical model is suggested in response to the need to help equip students for the industry. It is also suggested that the pedagogy of authentic learning in industrial attachment programmes should be effectively appreciated in computer science. A model of Facebook as an educational resource to understand authentic learning experiences during industrial attachment is presented.

Keywords:   Industrial Attachment, Social Media, Facebook Groups, Authentic Learning, Computer Science, Online-Interaction.

This study by Tarirayi Mukabeta at the Bunidura University in Zimbabwe was part of the requirements for the Master of Education requirements at the University of Cape Town. The complete study is available on: Using Social Media to Enhance Knowledge Sharing in Authentic Contexts

Monday, November 28, 2016

Why We Need Local Entrepreneurs

Local Entrepreneur is used to refer to a resident of a country who sets up a business in the country. Is it justifiable to say that having local entrepreneurs is not vitally important in our quest to create jobs for the unemployed masses because Foreign Direct Investments could do the job? I think not and here are my reasons. First, when the need to create jobs is as dire as it is in Ghana, any means of successfully creating jobs must be considered vitally important. Secondly, local companies are needed to diversify the portfolio of employers so that when, for any reason, foreign companies are no longer able or willing to employ, the effect on the economy would be minimized. Thirdly, the country stands to benefit more from the local entrepreneur than the foreign one. Finally, even within the context of attracting foreign investments, local entrepreneurs are very important because they serve to attract foreign capital that would otherwise not have come into the country.

Local Entrepreneurs Create Jobs
That local entrepreneurs create jobs is not a matter for dispute. Mr Dominic Oduro-Antwi is a Ghanaian entrepreneur. Beginning with virtually no capital, a few years ago, he has built an admirable business that, today, employs about ten people. His company – Design House Projects – which deals in Publishing, Market Research, Architecture and Interior Design is an example of how local entrepreneurs create jobs in the country.
When looked at in light of the fact that some Multi-National Companies have been in the country for just about the same time but employ many more, one might be tempted to gloss over the contributions of such industrious local entrepreneurs in reducing unemployment. That would however be a gross mistake. In a country with so many unemployed youth, any effort to create jobs, no matter how relatively small it seems, is highly important. Job creation in a country like Ghana depends greatly on local entrepreneurs. A World Bank press release in 2006 indicated that 70 percent of the Ghanaian labour force was employed by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. (allafrica.com)

Local Entrepreneurs Diversify ‘Employership’
There is an advantage in having an economy that consists mainly of a multiplicity of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as opposed to one that is dominated by a few large Multi-National Companies (MNCs). In the event that these large companies fail or withdraw from the country, the aggregate effect on the economy would be greatly lowered if the economy is dominated by many small local companies. MNCs can and do fail. They also can and do withdraw from countries when they stand to gain greater profits from moving their operations to another country. This happened in Singapore in 1986 and again in 1998 when the collapse of the economies of Singapore’s neighbours offered MNCs cheaper labour in those countries. (Yew, 622) I doubt that Mr Dominic Odoru-Antwi would relocate Design House Projects in the Gambia because labour there is suddenly cheaper. An economy that rests mainly on the shoulders of many local MSMEs, and hence local entrepreneurs, should be our aspiration.

Local Entrepreneurs are of More Benefit to Us
Local companies and foreign companies are both of immense benefit to us since they create jobs for our unemployed. Local entrepreneurs, however, are of additional benefit. It is generally accepted, I think, that allowing foreign companies to repatriate profits is an important incentive for foreign companies to invest in a country. If this is true, then it is safe to say that a significant amount of the earnings of foreign companies are repatriated. Local companies cannot repatriate profits. Thus, profits from local companies are more likely to stay in the country than those generate d by foreign companies. These profits would likely be re-invested in the business or some other local business or spent on goods and services. No matter which of these ways it ends up being spent, our economy benefits. The same cannot be said of repatriated profits.

Local Entrepreneurs Enhance Foreign Direct Investments
Capital, globally, seeks to minimize risk and maximize returns. Starting a new company is a highly risky venture. Thus, a lot of times, capital is more willing to invest in an already successful venture than one that is to be started from scratch. For some capitalists, being able to show from a hypothetical Profit and Loss Statement (as in a business plan) that a venture would be successful is enough. Some other, perhaps most, capitalists prefer demonstrating profitability from real Profit and Loss Statements. To attract such capital, someone must first bear the risk of starting the venture and making it successful. That someone is the local entrepreneur and this is how local entrepreneurs enhance foreign investments. They start and build successful companies that attract global capital to grow further. Sometimes, the foreign investors merge and, at other times, they acquire.

Local entrepreneurs are vitally important in creating jobs and, thereby, in our economic development. Therefore, no efforts should be spared in encouraging entrepreneurship in Ghana and in Africa.

  1. http://allafrica.com/stories/200601060096.html
  2. Yew, Lee K. From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000. US: HarperCollins, 2000.
This article has been taken from a blog by Dennis Obeng which is published on:Why We Need Local Entrepreneurs

Enablers and challenges in the implementation of e-learning Policies in TVET Colleges in Zambia

This study investigated the enablers and challenges in the implementation of e-Learning policies in public technical education, vocational and entrepreneurship training (TEVET) institutions under the Ministry responsible for Vocational Education and Training in Zambia. The aim of this study was to explore how implementation of e-Learning policies in a developing context could be enhanced so as to lead to improved access to TEVET. The study was guided by the following research questions: what knowledge do managers and lecturers have of e-Learning; what are the key enablers and challenges in implementing e-Learning policy; what criteria do individuals/institutions use to make the decision to adopt or reject e-Learning innovations and how are decisions made in the implementation of e-Learning in the TEVET sector.
The study used the Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) theory to answer the main research question in the study. The theory was used to gain insights into TVET implementers and policy makers motivations and actions. The study was qualitative with seven (7) individuals interviewed. In the study, interviews of TEVET managers and lecturers were conducted to provide the data required to answer the research questions.
The study found that respondents had varying levels of experience and knowledge of  e-Learning in teaching. e-Learning was described by the participants as having some specific characteristics and also the use of devices. It was also found that teaching staff and managers had varying levels on the knowledge of national e-Learning policies. The challenges of  e-Learning policy implementation were identified around: inadequate and lack of devices, lack of adequate skills, poor attitude and poor support services. Enablers for e-Learning were found to be centred on learning facilitation, teaching facilitation, communication improvement and training.                                                                           
The study recommended increased partnership with international organisations and stakeholders in supporting and strengthening e-Learning policy implementation, a focussed roll-out of e-Learning policy implementation in TEVET institutions, the Ministry creating an enabling environment for sharing of good and best practices in e-Learning implementation.
Keywords: e-Learning, policy, e-Learning policy, policy implementation, technical and vocational education and training.
This abstract is for a study that was done as part of my Master in Education degree which I was awarded in 2015 at the University of Cape Town. The full study is available on: Challenges and Enablers of eLearning Policy Implementation in TVET in Zambia