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Technology professor gives talk on improving African mining


A professor from the University of Wolverhampton has told experts how mobile technology could be used to raise skill levels in African miners.

John Traxler, the University’s Professor of Mobile Learning, was invited to speak at a London conference which looked at how computers could be used to train miners across the African mining sector.

The discussion was organised by the Planet Earth Institute (PEI), an international organisation focused on education and science, and took place on Friday, November 29.

It was chaired by The Rt Hon Lord Paul Boateng and brought together experts in African industry, John Traxlerinternational development and partnerships and human resources.

The panel examined the problem of a shortage of skills in African workforces, in particular in mining, with the event sponsored by diamond industry giant De Beers.

Professor Traxler, who has specialised in mobile technology for more than a decade, said he was asked to talk about the ways electronic devices like iPods, iPads, mobile phones and laptops could be used to improve skills in both workers and at a management level.

He said: “I have been involved with mobile technology for 12 years and I’ve worked in projects in southern Africa many times before so in that respect I was the obvious person to ask.  

“The problem is the environment many of these people are working in. Tere is a real skills shortage and many of the companies in that region are saying that if we could make that shortage up, the area’s economy would improve.

“There are lots of different approaches but I will be looking at how mobile technology could be used. Connectivity is a real issue, especially if you are working down a mine but you could have training videos or instructional guides on some kind of tablet.

“Other technological aids could be implemented at a managerial level. This is just a discussion, but I am hoping to be involved as the project moves forward.”


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