John Traxler is an expert in mobile technologies such as mobile phones, Bluetooth, media players and GPS and their use in education. He will serve a two-month spell as a visiting scientist at the invitation of the South African government at their Meraka Institute in Pretoria.
The Institute is the government agency responsible for developing e-learning technologies that specifically address South African problems.
They use ‘Open Source’ technologies, which is software developed by the community and freely available to the community, to preserve African cultures and languages, for example by putting games and dictionaries online. They are also developing various technologies for out-of-school children and schools in deprived deeply rural areas, such as secure networked open access computers and audio Wikipedia activated by SMS.
John, who is a Reader in Mobile Technology for e-Learning and Director of the University’s Learning Lab, said: “My role is to build capacity that will enable Meraka to gather better evidence from field trials and improve their advice to government.
“Various South African organisations have invited me to give talks and seminars during my visit including the highly prestigious University of Cape Town, and I expect to be collaborating with colleagues from Microsoft Research.”
The two-month appointment began this week.