Examining the culturally-aware curricular and technology intervention model (CACTI model) in the African context

Mr George Saltsman | Presentation (PDF)

Texas Tech University


Mobile learning has demonstrated extraordinary potential to improve the educational opportunities for the world’s population. Indeed, as more nations embrace the opportunities of mobile learning, millions of otherwise educationally disadvantaged students suddenly have access to the world’s greatest knowledge resources. For proponents of education, the ability of mobile learning to bring equal access to a student in rural Ghana, or the center of Dharavi, India, is an astonishing and marvellous achievement. Soon, mobile learning may enable some teachers and school administrators in rural communities of low-income countries to have access to learner-centered pedagogy that addresses their large class sizes and limited access to quality learning materials. Such teachers, some argue, may become ‘elite’ teachers with advanced skills in the area of technology.

This unprecedented educational access also brings with it an unequalled prospect for economic opportunity through the capacity to join equally in a global exchange of ideas and trade. However, some scholars believe that this access, both educational and economic, is everything but equal. For members of minority cultures, they are simultaneously and involuntarily being thrust into the worldview and cultural mindset of westernized thought and belief.

Rizvi and Lingard, 2010, maintain that ‘while globalization has in fact reduced some aspects of structurally imposed impediments to social equality, it has also reinforced and even extended social hierarchies’. Some, like Nigerian scholar Aina, 1991, believe that such globalization through increased access is nothing more than ‘a new phase of capitalism with its traditional functions of building structures of exploitation, accumulation, inequality and polarization.’ Those efforts in promoting globalization, according to Ifedili and Ojogwu, 2007, are seen by some as an effort to create a global society designed to remake everyone in the image of the western ‘man’ so he or she can maintain his or her social, cultural and economic superiority.

This raises important questions for policy-makers regarding the adoption and implementation of mobile learning. How should local policy-makers implement mobile learning to maximize the educational opportunity while minimizing potential loss of their nations’ intangible heritage of culture and belief? Are there best practices for ensuring the survival of local indigenous instructional and assessment culture while allowing teachers to fully participate within a digitally connected global community? What methods might academics employ when creating Open-Access Educational Resources that minimize cultural impacts on cultural subgroups? How can people with disabilities not only gain access to mobile technology but participate in dialogues and co-creation of curriculum for students with disabilities?

The panel will discuss and seek audience suggestions on the potential impact of mobile learning policy guidelines on the culture of schooling, the curriculum, teacher training, and individual identities (for or against). Additionally, from the perspective of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), panellists will address both the benefits of globalization from a ‘rights and voice’ perspective for people with disabilities as well as some of the potential loss of local community insights and values. We will close by suggesting best practices for the deployment of mobile learning policy and programs that sustain (rather than crush) indigenous culture and personal identity. 


George Saltsman of Lamar University has overseen 42 investigations into mobile
learning and is widely published on online, digital, and mobile learning. He is a higher education
advisor to Apple, Google, Pearson, UNESCO and AT&T. George has worked closely within the government of Uganda for 20 years.



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