National Computer Conference - NECC '98
Reporter: Vincent Ehiaghe
The conference opened on 23rd with the Rector of MichealHouse, R D Forde imploring the educators and all those interested in education to rise up to the responsibility of preparing young people to take their place in a future society increasingly characterised by hectic changes in the workplace.
This set the tone of the conference as most of the speakers presented their side of the argument urging teachers to rise up to the need for skills development which could be attained faster through the use of ICT.
Guest speaker Carol Siwinski demonstrated her expertise and experience in several workshops she held on "using the internet to integrate the curriculum with technology". Various other workshops were presented on various topics relating to ICT ranging from "introduction to internet" to "creating animated GIF". "Integration of computer technology into the classroom: theory and practice" a presentation by Alan Amory was very useful in my opinion.
To some extent, some of the presentations were rather too academic and some of the delegates, that I spoke to, felt that the conference did not actually answer the burning question of low level of awareness of what computers can do in a learning environment. It was focused more towards web page designing and the message was that the internet may be the ultimate. One or two speakers, though, talked about other uses of computers besides the Internet. In a way, this limited the practical usefulness of the conference.
Attempts were made to present the other side of the Internet. Tim Bouwer presented "www red-light cult chartroom org", a discussion on the darker side of the Internet. No doubt the Internet is a melting pot. Can it be properly brewed for the consumption of the coming generation that the Rector referred to in his opening speech? Posterity will judge the Education Technology in South Africa and indeed the world.
Details of this conference could be access on http://www.mhs.kzn.school.za (follow the link on the NECC98).