Going Mobile: Using SNSs to Promote STEMI on the Backseat of a Taxi Across Africa

  • Ronald Beyers
  • Seugnet BlignautEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 560)


This paper reports on the establishing of an educational service to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Innovation (STEMI). The service uses MXit, a cost effective social media based on a Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) to reach low income users primarily across Africa, though not necessarily restricted to this continent. Users are encouraged to submit STEMI-related questions to the care of MXit, a web or Facebook interface. The findings indicate a growing and diverse user group of 15 to 25 years old. The initial phases of the project showed South Africa as the highest user base. Analysis of the feedback from the users was used to refine the service through action research. Students asked a variety of questions which were assigned to 22 different categories of which Biology, Physics, Chemistry and general knowledge featured as the most frequent questions. Career Guidance and Health related categories were also prominent. Statistics indicate regular use of the service over a 24 h period, with prominent peaks before and after school, intimating that users were accessing the service from the back seat of a taxi on route to and from school.


Social network service (SNS) STEMI Mxit Developing country 



This work is based on the research support in part by the National Research Foundation of South Africa. Any opinion, findings and conclusions or recommendations expresses in this material are those of the authors and therefore the NRF does not accept any liability in regard thereto.

The Meraka Institute of the CSIR for continued interest.


  1. Atlas.ti: Atlas.ti: the Qualitative Data Analysis & Research Software (2013). Accessed 15 April 2015
  2. Beyers, R.N.: Promoting Human Capital Development Through ICT Creativity and Innovation Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, North West University Potchefstroom (2010)Google Scholar
  3. Beyers, R.N., Blignaut, A.S.: Using MXit to promote STEMI to students on the back seat of a taxi across Africa. In: EdMedia 2015 - World Conference on Educational Media and Technology, pp. 1459–1466, Montréal (2015)Google Scholar
  4. Beyers, R.N., Blignaut, A.S., Herselman, M.: The young engineers and scientists of Africa: initiating the STEMI pipeline. Acta Acad. 2, 105–126 (2012)Google Scholar
  5. Boeije, H.: A Purposeful Approach to the Constant Comparative Method in the Analysis of Qualitative Interviews. Qual. Quant. 36(4), 391–409 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chenxing, H.: South african perspectives on mobile phones: challenging the optimistic narrative of mobiles for development. Int. J. Commun. 6, 2057–2081 (2012)Google Scholar
  7. Department of Education. White Paper on e-Education: Transforming learning and teaching through information and communication technologies (2004). Accessed 24 March 2014
  8. Department of Science and Technology. Innovation towards a knowledge-based economy: Ten Year Innovation Plan (2011). Accessed 1 August 2015
  9. Education Business. Gove: Technology is changing the way we teach, learn and assess (2014). Accessed 20 August 2015
  10. Engelbrecht, L.: Govt pushes space science and tech (2008). Accessed 1 December 2011
  11. Guy, R. (ed.): Mobile Learning: Pilot Projects and Initiatives. Informing Science Press, Santa Rosa (2010)Google Scholar
  12. Hanekom, D (2009). Key Note Address by Deputy Minister Derek Hanekom, at the official launch of the French South African Technology Institute in Electronics Satellite Programme. Accessed 23 April 2015
  13. infoDev. Mobile usage at the base of the pyramid in South Africa (2012). Accessed 15 October 2014
  14. Mangena, M.: Address by Minister Mosibudi Mangena at the press launch of the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARCHI) (2007). Accessed 12 April 2013
  15. National Planning Commission. National Development Plan 2030: Our Future - Make it work (2012). Accessed 1 August 2015
  16. Pew Research Centre: Global Attitudes and Trends. Emerging Nations Embrace Internet, Mobile Technology: Cell Phones Nearly Ubiquitous in Many Countries (2015). Accessed 20 August 2015
  17. Peyper, L.: Mobile phone usage in SA (2013). Accessed 12 April 2013

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TELIT-SA, Faculty of Economic Sciences and IT, School of ITNorth-West UniversityVanderbijlparkSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations