The eLearning Fundi

Random reflections about eLearning in Africa

Of Marketers and Marketing of Technology for Education

Apple is offering a presentation of their iPod (though not explicitly stated) in Cape Town in a campaign code named “Podcasting in e-learning”. Some educational experts “will address the key issues and opportunities afforded by podcasting as an educational tool for eLearning.” I am tempted to attend, although I am very apprehensive of any marketing campaign. I am very wary of salesmen because I know a good salesman would sell you something you will throw in the next trash bin for twice its market price. However, I would want to see, and be among the people who are in the forefront of the eLearning ‘e-volution’. I have a belief (still naive) that podcasting can add value in the teaching and learning process.

In my mind, when thinking about attending this presentation, an article I read a while ago by Heather-Jane Robertson – “Towards a theory of Negativity Teacher Education and Information and Communication Technology” linger in mind. In the article, there is the warning of the vulnerability of educators to take any technology with the ‘naive faith’ in its promises. This vulnerability, unfortunately, is perpetuated by the marketers who back their marketing on research that has either failed or is inconclusive. Robertson disputes the ‘findings’ claimed to have been arrived at by Apple that “Classroom Computers = Remarkable Results” and how Apple applies its marketing campaign to win educational customers.

In the light of Robertson’s sentiments about the claims on technology, and with my apprehension about marketers, I am enticed to go there to listen, and maybe see what ‘e-volution’ in learning Apple is claiming to bring us. I know, imaginatively, Apple is targeting the education sector through this campaign because it is a rich and wide market. I also, know some of us will fall for the marketing campaign without knowing whether whatever we buy, will be more useful in the next trash bin or will indeed ‘extend the learning experience beyond the walls of the lecture hall.”

See: Robertson, H. 2003. Towards a Theory of Negativity, Teacher Education and Information and Communication Technology, Journal of Teacher Education, 54(4): 280-296

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