I will carry with me many special memories and lessons learned of the two years I lived and worked in Mozambique. The experiences have profoundly affected the way I view government, democracy, education, privilege, taxation, corruption and standard of living. Along the way I have met unsung heroes who strive for change in their communities, be it rural, urban, privileged or extremely poor. Along the way, many of my students impressed me with their understanding of global citizenship and empathy for different cultures.
The past five years have flown by quickly since I initially began building relationships with Africans in an educational context. I am still groping to understand and make sense of the place of educational technology in developing nations. But I am coming away with a firm conviction that we educators must find a way to challenge our students to be doing more with technology than merely keeping up with the latest gadgets, games and gimmicks. We must be facilitating opportunities for our students to use technology for meaningful purposes that will serve to address so many of the global issues our world faces. I also believe students must have opportunities to see firsthand those initiatives who are striving to make change in their environment or society and to also, more importantly, roll up their sleeves and pitch in.
No matter where in the world we are, those of us who work in an educational technology context are often in contexts where our students live in a bubble protected from exposure to extreme poverty, filthy environments, human trafficking (including child slavery and prostitution) and high risk of exposure to health issues.
We have an opportunity, through service learning, as one example, to pop the bubble.