UNESCO IITE at the 3rd International Conference of the African Virtual University

On July 6-8, 2016 the African Virtual University organized the International Conference “Integrating Mobile Learning to Open Up Access to Quality Education and Training Opportunities in Africa”. It was the 3rd Conference in a row: the 1st conference “Integrating eLearning and Open Education to Increase Access to Quality Education and Training in Africa” was held in 2013 and 2nd conference “Linking Open Education and eLearning Research to Practice” was held in 2015.

The objective of the 3rd AVU Conference was to present innovative methods in mobile learning and other emerging technologies that can be harnessed to address issues of educational opportunity, access and quality.

The international conferences of the AVU provide an opportunity for researchers, practitioners, policy makers and educators to deeply explore the possibilities afforded by mobile technologies for education and training. More than 130 delegates from 31 countries (Bénin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroun, Canada, Cape Verde, China, Ethiopia, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Mali, Mauritanie, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, République Démocratique du Congo, Russia, Rwanda, Sénégal, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom, USA, Zambia) attended the Conference in 2016.

A separate focus of the event was on distance and mobile learning, potential for MOOCs and Open Educational Resources. Expanding access to educational opportunities is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Since its earlier generations, open, distance and eLearning (ODeL) has been at the forefront of addressing this challenge. New and emerging technologies create more possibilities, as well as new challenges for the practice of ODeL.

The conference was preceded by pre-conference workshops: “Planning for Mobile  Learning Lesson in relation to cultural context” (facilitated by Dr. Gloria Adedoja) and “Harnessing the Power and Promise of Mobile Tech. to Make Literacy Data Collection & Management East & Fun” (facilitated by Dr. Hellen Inyega).

Keynote speakers were delivered by Prof. Colleta Suda and Prof. Bitange Ndemo.

The main topics of breakout sessions were:

  • Globalisation in education
  • Access and equity
  • Faculty and learner support
  • Instructional/learning design
  • Interaction and communication online
  • Quality assurance

Special sessions were dedicated to specific mobile learning initiatives.

Ms. Svetlana Knyazeva, the Chief of Section of Digital Pedagogy and Learning Materials, delivered the presentation “OER in non-English speaking countries: Challenges and opportunities for supporting multilingualism” at the section “Globalization, OER/MOOCs & Cross-cultural aspects”.

In addition, the Conference has provided a floor for the presentation of a new UNESCO IITE publication “Сurrent state of advancement of OER in Kenya” produced in cooperation with the African Virtual University.

More information about the Conference is available at the Conference website.