South African Journal of Higher Education

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Exploring the role of ICTs in addressing educational needs: Identifying the myths and the miracles

J Daniel, P West, W Mackintosh


Persistent myths have lessened the impact of ICTs on education. Happily they are balanced by miracles of theory and practice that are gradually gaining the upper hand. We
counter the myth that innovation in the application of ICTs is the preserve of industrialised
countries by listing examples of innovations from southern Africa that have set global
trends. Developing countries have the advantage over industrialised countries in taking
advantage of the fundamental miracle of educational technology, namely its ability to
provide higher quality learning to increasing numbers at lower costs. The power of this
miracle increases with every new generation of technology. The current trends to social
software and open educational resources will benefit more and more South Africans as
connectivity steadily improves. However, things are not always what they seem. In the most
difficult (and important) section of the paper we explode the myth that all open content
is truly open and show how to restore the miracle of a global intellectual commons that
cannot suffer the tragedy of the commons. The secret is to use ‘share-alike\' rather than
‘non-commercial\' licenses under the provisions of Creative Commons.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol. 21 (6) 2008: pp. 632-643
AJOL African Journals Online