Major test site for SMARTshell toolkit
Morocco is the location of the first major testing of the SMARTshell toolkit in the developing nations implementation scheme, supported by the British Council Morocco and the Cybercafé Project.
Since 1996, Dr Lizbeth Goodman and her team have travelled to Morocco to help set up increased media and cultural studies media projects and pedagogies throughout the country.
In 2001, Dr Goodman and her team, including Katherine Milton, Tarik Thami et al, began installing the SMARTshell toolkit in cybercafés and learning centres throughout Morocco. This work continues as the toolkit is updated and Moroccan centres and communities continue to develop local content and courses.
The SMARTshell test supports the work of university educators, teachers, cultural workers, and artists. It is already being used by families communicating with each other across the desert.
The project offers a framework supporting connected learning and communications (using software and cameras installed by the team and tested in fourteen major centres nationwide) to connect geographically dispersed learners, families and cultural workers.
Interested university professors, artists, creative communities, social entrepreneurs and others have participated in a series of focussed, hands-on workshops.
The workshops continue on the ground through the local network set up in Morocco, with feedback offered regularly through the ‘safe spaces’ online provided by the SMARTshell. The workshops have and will continue to:
- Inform about technology tools and applications and their diverse uses.
- Train IT-illiterate users in basic skills to enable efficient use of the
- Empower women, children and rural people to make their own content and to enter the ‘knowledge economy’.
- Teach participants how to structure and deliver diverse content to an online audience.
- Begin in the cybercafé, and continue online in synchronous and asynchronous
formats, as a living development lab for online educative experiences.
- Customise the learning experience to suit community needs.
- Link cybercafé learning communities to their sister communities and
co-participants across Morocco and throughout the connected world.
The workshops held to date have been two- to three-day hands-on training sessions customised for local learners, within the cybercafés and British Council offices, each followed by a two-week online development lab experience with feedback from mentors on the ground and online.
As new cybercafés complete their three-day intensive workshops, they are introduced to regional co-participants actively engaged in the online development lab aspect.
This connection provides an opportunity for the cybercafé workshop participants to build a community of practice among those interested in online learning and delivery structures across Morocco.
Additional information about this project, or questions about how to participate, can be directed to the project team at the British Council Morocco. Project co-ordinators: Dr Lizbeth Goodman and Katherine Milton, of the SMARTlab Digital Media Institute, University of East London, UK.