General Interest


A group of South African teachers is to receive training to help them safely navigate the mobile world. South Africa’s Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) is sponsoring the training for the ten finalists of the Internet Service Providers’ Association of SA ISPA SuperTeacher™ Competition taking place at this month’s upcoming iWeek conference and exhibition.

The WASPA interactive workshop will equip the educators from public and private schools around the country with the skills to help their learners navigate the different technological environments accessible via mobile devices such as cellphones and tablets.

The training comes amid growing parental and educator concern over ‘sexting’ and other inappropriate and potentially damaging digital communication by children. This is believed to be the first time a South African mobile industry representative body is engaging in this kind of skills transfer.

The training (based on the CSIR ICT4RED programme) will be presented by freelance journalist, filmmaker and researcher, Stuart Thembisile Lewis, who holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree in Digital Media from Rhodes University. This digital and mobile media specialist says he spends most of his spare time ‘messing about on the Internet’, a fact that certainly qualifies him to advise teachers on the communication pitfalls of our digital age. “Safely navigating the mobile web space in 2016 requires a new kind of savvy that goes well beyond not responding to email scams and ignoring unsolicited WhatsApp requests,” says Stuart.

According to WASPA’s Ongopotse Mothlanke, the mobile industry association that has consumer protection as one of its mandates is pleased to now play a role in protecting and empowering learners. “We’re beyond common sense digital advice now. Specialist advice is required to keep learners safe in this enabled age,” he says.

WASPA represents the interests of some 350 providers of mobile content and applications that can be accessed on smartphones and feature phones.

The ISPA iWeek conference runs from Monday, 19 September to Friday, 23 September 2016 and attracts internationally-renowned experts and speakers who meet to network and share Internet best practices. This annual event brings together South African Internet industry professionals and offers workshops and training opportunities for companies active in the Internet sector. Most of the conference sessions are open to the public, and attendance is free to pre-registered delegates.

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