Teaching Before Technology

Teaching before Technology

Module 8 is such a large topic, a course can be developed that only focuses on mobile technologies and libraries.  A quick Google search of mobile technologies and libraries:

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 10.10.10 PM

In order to consider the benefits of mobile technology in libraries, technology must first be available.  There are many initiatives that provide books and technology to developing countries who are struggling with few or no resources in their schools and libraries.  I’ve listed three initiatives that provide books, learning resources and technology.

The International Book Bank –  The International Book Bank is an organization that provides low income countries such as Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and South and Central America with new learning materials for kindergarten through university, training materials and classroom kits for teachers, and librarian collections (internationalbookbank.org).

Libraries across Africa

David Dewane, an architect, entrepreneur and educator, created Librii, and partnered with Librarians without Borders to build a library in Accra, Ghana. He believes that access to information, especially the world wide web, can transform communities.  He was inspired to build a library by Andrew Carnegie, who built 2509 libraries around the world between 1883 and 1929, which, over 30 years, “means opening a brand new library every five days” (Peters, 2014, lwb-online.org).

“I was researching areas where physical space, people and information mingle, and what that means in the age of digitizing information,” David Dewane remembers. “The library was the typology where this should be happening, as the place where people and information come together” (Peters, 2014, lwb-online.org).

The library in Ghana is set to open sometime in 2015.  The latest article I found about the project was written on February 26, 2015, on Smithsonian.com.   Librarians without Borders is also still fundraising for the project.

CODE – An organization that is ‘Rewriting the Story for Global Literacy’.  This Canadian program, supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Development Canada, supports teachers, librarians, writers and publishers in eight African countries in creating ‘culturally relevant’ literature and supporting ‘best practices’ in teaching reading, writing and critical thinking (http://www.codecan.org/reading-code).  Collaboration among partners within these countries has sustained this initiative for 55 years.  Their Reading CODE, combines three elements:

The main goal of the International Book Bank, Librii, and CODE, is to improve literacy, instruction, and increase availability of learning materials by providing new books and reliable, cost-effective technology.  As our society becomes more connected, we become more aware of the serious issues facing other parts of the world.  We, as global citizens, must collaborate with others to increase education in all parts of the world – if the population is educated, we are better able to solve the world’s problems.

As I began to explore the benefits of mobile technology, I discovered a TEDtalk by Jim Teicher – 21st Century School-In-A-Box for Developing Countries.  Jim Teicher is the cofounder and CEO of Cybersmart Education.   In this TEDtalk, he explains his amazement at the explosion of technology use by shepards and young children in the streets of Senegal, and his frustration with unused computer labs in schools.  Power sources are unreliable in rural Senegal, so he provided 10 netbooks to one school and thought this might solve the problem of access to learning materials.  Teicher discovered that the technology caused all learning to stop as everyone attempted to ‘share’ the few devices available.  “We get so excited about the technology that we forget about the learning” (Teicher, October 3, 2012, TEDtalk).  He created the 21st Century School-In-A-Box to allow all students to receive learning resources and teachers to learn effective methods for teaching critical thinking skills.  This TEDtalk is important because I think we must consider the learning outcome before we utilize the device.

Mobile technology has expanded our access to information and linked us globally.  The possibilities for connections with others continues to develop.  Though my post has not discussed the benefits of mobile technologies in libraries, I believe they are essential for the growth of libraries, now, and in the future.  Many students own tablets and smartphones, and most school districts have upgraded their infrastructure to allow increased bandwidth in anticipation of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programs.  As technology changes at such a rapid pace, and students’ use of devices grows, we need to embrace the technology in our schools and our libraries.  Schools are lacking funds to purchase technology so allowing students to use their own device reduces our costs, and increases accessibility.  The reduction in our acquisition costs will allow us to expand our e-book collections and learning resources.  The availability of Open Access Resources continues to expand and our job as librarians is to teach students the best methods for research and critical analysis of information.



Briggs, S. (2014, August 1). How Educators Around The World Are Implementing Mobile Learning. Retrieved October 31, 2015, from http://www.innovationexcellence.com/

CODE:  Rewriting the Story for Global Literacy, retrieved on October 31, 2015, from http://www.codecan.org/reading-code

Gelles, R. (2011, April 1), Libraries Across Africa. Retrieved on October 31, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nh5d9yH7fu8.

Green Taylor, N., Subramanium, M., & Waugh, A. (2015, February 26). The School Librarian as Learning Alchemist. Retrieved October 31, 2015, from http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/

The International Book Bank, http://www.internationalbookbank.org/

Libraries across Africa, http://librii.org/

Peters, A. (2014, November 26). Getting to now Librii’s David Dewane. Retrieved on October 31, 2015, from http://lwb-online.org/tag/libraries-across-africa/

Teicher, J. (2012, October 3). 21st Century School-in-a-Box for the Developing World.  Retrieved October 31, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-L-j9qdBBg.

Zhou, L. (2015, February 23). Building Libraries Along Fiber-Optic Lines in Sub-Saharan Africa. Retrieved on October 31, 2015, from http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/building-libraries-along-fiber-optic-lines-in-sub-saharan-africa-180954192/?no-ist


2 thoughts on “Teaching Before Technology

  1. This is a big topic and there is so much to explore. Your post provides a solid introduction to the issues and some of the best initiatives and organizations that are working to address the gaps and help communities that are struggling with access and resources to teach with. Great job highlighting CODE and Librii, two examples that focus on supporting access and connecting culturally relevant and local language resources to successfully support small and remote communities. A good post that has embedding, tagging, linking and sharing!


  2. That’s a great TEDtalk! I agree that it is very important to consider not using “technology just for technology sake” and so make sure that we have clear learning outcomes that are enhanced, not replaced by mobile devices.


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