The following article from the ITWeb news service was seen on AllAfrica.com at http://allafrica.com/stories/200505091322.html . The comic book format is a useful one for a number of educational purposes and a set of illustrations are easily adapted to diverse languages and incorporated in multimedia campaigns for various purposes.
Don Osborn Bisharat.net Namibia Urged to 'Listen Up' to IT ITWeb (Johannesburg) http://www.itweb.co.za/ May 9, 2005 Posted to the web May 9, 2005 Warwick Ashford Johannesburg SchoolNet Namibia, a non-profit provider of Internet service, hardware and training to schools in Namibia, has launched a comic strip to demystify computers and attract teachers and students to the digital world. It has teamed up with Strika Entertainment, The Namibian Newspaper and Johannesburg-based Direq International to produce and distribute the "Hai Ti!" comic strip, which is aimed at bringing teachers into the computer lab. "Hai Ti!", which means "listen up!" in the Oshiwambo language group, is being distributed through inclusion in the Namibian Youth Paper, but is also available online. "'Hai Ti!' is a character-based drama around the SchoolNet team and teachers at a remote rural school in Namibia," says Joris Komen, SchoolNet Namibia executive director. "It's aimed particularly at teachers and principles educators, who in the main, are still resistant to information and communications technologies," he explains. Komen says one of the aims of "Hai Ti!" is to address misunderstanding and allay fears among educators about the compatibility of open source software such as Open Office with similar proprietary systems commonly used in the private sector. "In an educational context, the skills acquired by teachers and learners to cut, copy and paste, and use office administration tools such as word processors, spreadsheets and multimedia applications, as well as the Internet, must be completely platform-neutral, without affecting their existing or future careers," says Komen. "This medium has the inherent advantages of being entertaining and easy to understand," says Denis Brandjes, MD of Direq International, which provides SchoolNet with OpenLab, the open source operating system that runs in school labs and home computers throughout Africa, particularly in Namibia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and SA. "Strika Communications was chosen for the project because of their success in using comics as a communication medium. Their flagship product, Supa Strikas, is one of Africa's biggest publications with over a million copies distributed each month in seven countries," adds Brandjes. The first edition of "Hai Ti!" interweaves the stories of a learner who uses the Internet to prepare for a debate; of a football fan who learns the Internet can be a better source for sports news than the local shebeen; and of a young teacher who comes to grips with computer basics with the help of SchoolNet trainers. Komen says it is hoped the new approach will assist SchoolNet to guide educators and the community through the stages of computer ownership, ICT adoption and ICT integration with the national curriculum. "We want to encourage educators, learners and communities to embrace these technologies in their lives. We need to encourage personal control, comfort in the use of technology and build respect for the intelligence and ability of educators to use them," says Komen. -- _______________________________________________ DIGITALDIVIDE mailing list DIGITALDIVIDE@mailman.edc.org http://mailman.edc.org/mailman/listinfo/digitaldivide To unsubscribe, send a message to [EMAIL PROTECTED] with the word UNSUBSCRIBE in the body of the message.