Window on the World:
Using Technology to Make Global Connections in the Classroom
A Workshop for K-16 Teachers
Saturday, 24 April 1999
On the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Wisconsin International Outreach Consortium
Your Sites on Africa: Internet Resources for Teachers"
Breakout Session (10:15 - 11:45 am / 1:00 - 2:30 pm)
Mark L. Lilleleht
African Studies Program, Department of African Languages and Literature
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Goals for the session:
This presentation is meant to be suggestive and provide some explanation of what is available and how it might be incorporated into the classroom, but it's also meant to strike something of a cautionary note...
Your biggest problem is not going to be figuring out ways of integrating the Internet into the classroom [although doing it well is not easy], but rather finding appropriate, relevant and reliable resources.
General introduction to the uses of the Internet:
What do you want to use the Internet for: as source of information; to search for information [as a sort of library catalog/index]; as a tool of communication; as an "exercise"...
Nature of the medium is such that you do all these things at the same time, and at a much more conscious and surface level than with books or magazines [linking].
Ways of integrating the Internet into the classroom:
African Odyssey Interactive
Text of an email message received describing project:
Africa Access Review: Annotations and Critiques of Children's Materials on Africa - Montgomery County Public Schools (Brenda Randolph)
The Living Africa
[in guide as http://hyperion.advanced.org/16645]
Text of an email message received describing project: http://www.redpale.org/mark/outreach/wotw/awp-text.htm
Web66: International School Web Site Registry
((I found this site doing an Excite search for: Africa AND secondary AND school))
Clearly the suitability of any of these options varies by availability of resources and learning level.
The first steps to bringing the Internet into the classroom:
(these are personal steps that you as the teacher must take)
Caveats/pitfalls of the Internet in general:
generic search engines: different engines give you different levels of detail
Africa-specific search engine
Wo-Yaa! African Internet Search Engine
listing of Africa-related sites
An A-Z of African Studies on the Internet
Africa-Related Links of the UW ASP
classified listing with built in search mechanism
Africa South of the Sahara (Stanford)
People have political/ideological agendas: this might be most readily apparent with regard to current events [esp politics, Rwanda] but it also comes up in the field of literature [recent Gibbs/Soyinka email exchange].
[Scroll down the page to "Rhodesian Government in Exile"]
Caveats/pitfalls of the Internet with particular regard to Africa [and African-related materials]:
African Internet Infrastructure Information
Caveats/pitfalls of the Internet in the classroom or curriculum units:
Much of what you're going to be able to do - and do effectively - in terms of integrating the Web and Internet materials into the classroom is dependent upon the willingness and expectations of your students [audience]. The web is nothing if not permissive [and this goes back to my earlier point about agendas]. You also have to deal with techno-phobia and, more importantly, find some way of imparting to the students the need to critique and question/evaluate...
More pedestrian concerns: availability of Internet access both within the classroom and outside the classroom; reliability of connection; how do we check the reliability of the material to be used [see below].
Strategies for evaluating/critiquing resources:
Swahili - African 333, Third Semester Swahili at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Click on the following links: ((enter)); Internet Resources; Islam and Indigenous African Culture; The Advent of Islam in East Africa
Evaluating Internet Research Sources
Evaluating Web Sites
Some additional available resources:
Keep in mind the possibilities of email, especially in terms of connecting with schools and students on the continent [email access in Africa is more widespread] and the wealth of information and guidance available via listservs.
University of Wisconsin-Madison African Studies Program
K-12 Resources of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's African Studies Program