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UNESCO to release research into mobile learning initiatives, policies and teacher development

Steven Vosloo

Over five weeks UNESCO, in partnership with Nokia, is launching its Working Paper Series on Mobile Learning with the release of a set of twelve papers reviewing mobile learning initiatives, implications for ICT in education policies and how mobile technologies support teacher development. The papers will be released according to regions of the world.

Information and communication technologies (ICT) can contribute to achieving the pillars of Education for All (EFA), which are universal access to education, equity in education and the delivery of quality education. Given the unprecedented uptake of mobile devices in the world – there are now almost 6 billion mobile phone subscriptions – these ICT present a new and exciting possibility for supporting EFA.

UNESCO is committed to fully exploring how mobile learning, using mobile devices alone or in combination with other ICT, can improve education. While mobile learning is certainly not new, only in very recent years is it receiving widespread attention and building serious momentum. The evidence base for how mobiles can improve grades, increase learner motivation, deliver content to hard-to-reach communities, support district and school administration, and enable adult education in areas such as literacy, is mounting.

However, many challenges still abound, including the lack of an enabling policy environment, inequity of access, negative social attitudes towards mobile devices as learning tools, lack of awareness of mobile learning, high cost of usage and concerns around online safety. It is essential that the ICT in education community engages with these issues in open dialogue with policy makers, principals, teachers and parents so that the potential benefits of mobile learning are realised, and the challenges are addressed. Two areas of particular interest to UNESCO are policies related to mobile learning, and how mobiles can be used to support teachers and their professional development.

Mobile learning initiatives and related policies

Many governments have adopted some form of national ICT in education policy. However, many of these policies were developed in the ‘pre-mobile’ era. The few policies that do refer to mobile devices either reference them obliquely or, in some cases, ban them. Overall, there is a dearth of considered and thorough mobile learning policies. To address this vacuum UNESCO will develop a set of guidelines for mobile learning policies to help national governments and educators create environments in which mobile learning can flourish. The papers released over the coming weeks are the initial research to inform the guidelines, which will be published in late 2012.

Mobile technologies for teacher support and professional development

There is a global shortage of trained and motivated teachers. In order to meet the EFA goal of achieving Universal Primary Education (UPE) by 2015, 5.4 million primary teachers are needed. How can mobile technologies play a role in meeting this need, in supporting teachers and their professional development, and in retaining existing teachers? Initial research has shown that this is a relatively unexplored area of mobile learning and that there is much more that can be done with mobile technologies. UNESCO’s forthcoming papers identify some of the existing mobile-based teacher development projects, and how this area can be further developed. The papers inform four projects that UNESCO will implement with teacher training organisations in Nigeria, Senegal, Pakistan and Mexico in 2012 to further explore and understand this area.

Release schedule

For each region there is one paper on mobile learning initiatives and related policies, as well as one on mobile technologies for teacher support and professional development. The papers will be released as follows:

  • 26 April: Latin America and North America papers
  • 3 May: Europe papers
  • 10 May: Asia papers
  • 17 May: Africa and Middle East papers
  • 22 May: Two global findings papers that synthesise information across the five regional papers in each series

Please note that the papers are not a comprehensive regional review, but a regional scan to identify and review illustrative cases of mobile learning initiatives, related policies and examples of teacher support and professional development projects via mobile technologies. UNESCO embraces a purposefully broad definition of mobile devices – including mobile phones, e-readers, tablet computers, MP3 players and handheld gaming consoles – in recognition that the list is dynamic. Of importance is not the exact definition of mobile devices but rather how they can be used to support education. However, while UNESCO supports a flexible definition, its current work in mobile learning will focus predominately on mobile phones because of their widespread pervasiveness. The papers thus look at mobile phones in particular when discussing mobile learning.

As a whole, the UNESCO Working Paper Series on Mobile Learning provides a valuable snapshot of what mobile learning looks like around the world.  Collectively and individually, the papers consolidate lessons learned in different regions to provide policy makers, educators, and other stakeholders a tool to help them now and in the future better leverage mobile technology for learning.

Please provide feedback on the papers. The input of the widest possible range of stakeholders, from national policy makers to rural teachers, is critical for helping develop and improve the field of mobile learning. Comments from practitioners in particular regions are especially valuable as the mobile learning landscape is highly uneven and nuanced. It will take a global view, but local conversations, to understand how mobile learning is best applied in particular contexts.

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64 Responses to “UNESCO to release research into mobile learning initiatives, policies and teacher development”

  1. UNESCO has the correct idea to use interactive tablet PC learning. Tablet PC learning is less expensive than paper textbooks and it’s easy to use. Interactive tablet PC learning has proven to be superior to just plain textbook learning. It can be used any time in any place on any path at the student’s own pace.

    • Mostly we seek an enabling policy environment to ‘approve’ our the next step to officially use 21st technology in education. Education in South Africa is one of the most regulated industries and yet we fail at the basics.
      Mobile technology can make that difference. Just the idea alone leaves me breathless.
      We have piloted education, training and development programmes as a campus that exits completely in cyberspace using only mobile technology and ICT. The learning programmes we have used are recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority. We passed the acid test of the education quality authorities for two consecutive years now. This means that nationally recognised credit bearing certification for educational programmes using only mobile technology and ICT is now reality. And we do it at the student’s pace.
      This year we are focusing exclusively on mobile technologies and best practices for mobile learning and the UNESCO Working Paper Series is an invaluable resource.

      • Phumzile

        hi Laetitia,

        Your work sounds very encouraging, where can learn about details.

        Phumzile.

        • Laetitia_vU5

          Hi Phumzile, only responding now because we had another moderation by a education quality authority and all our energies went into it this week. We believe it serves as an internal audit at the same time, but it drains resources and energy :) Our website provides mainly for students to access the learning programmes, but we are working at making more info available, see http://www.vu5.co.za. Some background: We analysed the requirements of 25 education quality authorities and 100 external education quality audit findings, before we embarked on this road of learning in a virtual learning environment. Our focus was to get it acknowledged and approved by South African quality bodies and councils. We have achieved this without any grants or funding. This year we will replicate this in a mobile learning environment and focus on broadening our scope of learning programmes to include achieving a whole qualification(s) entirely on mobile.

      • Marianne Bez

        Hi, Laetitia

        I agree with Phumzile. Please give us some more information. I am currently conducting an exciting mobile learning and teaching pilot at a school in rural South Africa and would love to read more about your work. Do you have a website we could visit?
        Marianne

        • hi Marianne,

          Which rural school in South Africa are you doing this pilot?

          Thanks,

          Theo

          • Marianne Bez

            Hi, Theo
            The school is called Madlala. It is situated in Justicia, just outside the Kruger Gate. I am doing the research for an M.Phil-degree through Stellenbosch University and I am astounded by the results already. The articles in the newspapers this week about banning cellphones from the classroom was a red flag in front of me! I am now more determined that ever to prove that mobile learning can make a huge difference in South Africa – INSID and outside the classroom!

            • Hi Marianne,

              I'm South African but living in France at the moment so have missed much local news. It sounds like phones have been banned in some schools. Can you send links or tell us more, please? Keep up the good work — we need to show the cellphones have a role in edcucation inside and outside the classroom.

              • Marianne Bez

                Dear Steve

                Thank you for your MUCH NEEDED encouragement! (enjoy belle France – en wees verseker – ek is baie gemotiveerd)! Last week The National Association of School Governing Bodies called for a ban on learners using cell phones at school. The sad thing is that reports have it that the South African Minister of Education has welcomed such a ban. Educators and parents are of the opinion that it is very difficult to manage cellphone use (abuse as they see it) in the classroom. Of course it's difficult to manage, but certainly only when the device is perceived as an obstacle, in stead of being implemented as the amazing resource it could be. My opinion is that we should shift focus from the phone being our foe to the device being our ally in education. I also believe that teachers who generally can't inspire learners anyway, will experience learners resorting to social networks on the devices in their classroom. It's all about PROPER planning of a lesson, interaction, motivation, inspiration and walking the talk, understanding my target market and BEING an educator, not just a teacher. We also have to remember that South Africa, despite numerous noble efforts, still experiences huge socio-economic divides. One can not compare the situation in an urban (private) school where a cellphone is often a symbol of identity & prosperity, as would brand names or smart cars be, – while in rural areas the mobile phone is a lifeline and often the sole form of contact with the internet and the outside world. A good summary of the situation can be found here: http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/western-ca… Regards to all! Marianne

                Marianne

                • Laetitia_vU5

                  Marianne, we share your sentiments about proper planning and the mobile phone opening the outside world and the internet to rural areas.

                  Laetitia

                • Hi Marianne
                  I could not believe that the ministry of Education is considering banning cell phones from classrooms. I think we need to educate our policy makers and our teachers about the possibilities and the potential of using cell phones in their own classrooms. I wrote a paper recently on different stages of change of perception. Change is usually discomforting and teaching using these devices requires different and new ways of teaching. It is therefore, important to recognise that prior attitude towards a particular technology determines whether or not it will be used for teaching. The success of of cusing cell phones in classrooms depends on the teachers' attitudes towards them.
                  Regards
                  Mpine

                • Hi Marianne, thanks very much for this sharing this information. I am very disturbed, although not surprised, at the call from the National Association of School Governing Bodies for a ban on learners using cell phones at school. It means that they have no idea of the educational value of phones. And worse still, that the Ministry of Basic Education is not opposed to this move. Arthur Goldstuck at least offers a good response in this ITWeb piece http://www.itweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_conte

                  I did a presentation a few years ago on why we should ban shopping malls. They are where kids loiter, buy drugs, spend money they don't have, have sex in the toilets … overall malls are a menace to society so let's ban them in the same way we should ban cellphones. Hopefully it made the point about how unrealistic and ill-informed both responses are.

                  We have a lot of work to do around educating our leaders and teachers about the educational value of mobiles. This is a big drive of UNESCOs as we are working on a set of guidelines for mobile learning policies.

                  Keep up the good work in SA!
                  Steve

        • Laetitia_vU5

          Marianne, see my response to Phumzile :)

      • Dear Laetitia,

        Would be very interested in your model as well.

        Our work in South Africa (www.m-ubuntu.org.za) could probably benefit from it.

        Thanks,

        Theo

  2. Bonjour,
    Je viens de finir une recherche sur l'usage des téléphones mobiles en formation initiale des enseignants à l'Ecole Normale Supérieure d'Abidjan en Côte d'Ivoire. J'ai travaillé sur une population de 60 futurs enseignants de Mathématique qui sont en années de stage. Les premiers résultats semblent montrer que ces futurs enseignants font usage de leur téléphone mobile pour échanger entre eux, avec des formateurs et avec des personnes ressources. Par ailleurs, ils utilisent le téléphone mobile pour rechercher des informations, les stocker et y accéder à tout moment.

    • Google Translation: I just finished a research on the use of mobile phones in initial teacher training at the Ecole Normale Superieure d'Abidjan in Ivory Coast. I worked on a population of 60 teachers of Mathematics who are in year internship. Initial results suggest that these teachers use their mobile phone to interact, with trainers and resource persons. Moreover, they use mobile phones to find information, store and access it at any time.

    • Merci Antoine. Your work sounds interesting, please share a link to any online reports if you can. Best, Steve

  3. Very glad to see UNESCO taking a solid interest in this, however late to the game they may be. Its been an established fact that young people prefer mobiles for a generation now. In addition, for a variety of reasons, so do the majority of the population of countries that UNESCO serves. However, education can (at times rightly) be a conservative industry. With sales of Smartphones having passed those of PCs last year, and tablets poised to do the same next year, we have however already passed into the age where mobile devices have become appliances, and any summary of the field needs to acknowledge this.
    Can I just ask/confirm Wayan will you be publishing the reports here? And does the Asian one include Oceania? Looking forward to them.

    • Dear Jonathan,

      Thanks for your valuable comments.

      Please note that the papers are regional scans and not a comprehensive overview of every country in the major regions. Collectively the papers form a body of work that examines key initiatives from the five regions to illustrate the important issues in mobile learning space. These issues are the enablers, barriers, etc. that need to be considered when utilizing the reach and power of mobile technologies for education. For UNESCO specifically, the issues surfaced by the working papers inform the design and implementation of projects in Nigeria, Senegal, Pakistan and Mexico that use mobile phones to support teacher development, as well as inform UNESCO's forthcoming Guidelines on Mobile Learning Policies.

      There are no examples from Oceana mentioned in any of the papers, but of course that does not mean that there might not be interesting mobile learning projects happening there.

      Best,
      Steve

      • Jonathan Nalder

        Thanks for taking the time to reply and supply extra info Steve :)

  4. leemingd

    Can I assume that the Pacific Islands are included in the regional papers for Asia, in the same way that Caribbean is covered in the Latin America category?

    • Hi Leemingd, please see my comment above. Similarly there are no projects from the Pacific Islands in the papers but of course that does not mean that there might not be interesting mobile learning projects happening there. Best, Steve

      • leemingd

        Hi SteveMany thanks. I can verify that there are indeed, in the Solomon Islands the Ministry is using closed mobile user groups to support in-service training, and I have been involved with a Commonwealth of Learning community media programme looking into using mobiles to support community learning programmes (PNG and Solomons). And I am certain there are examples in many other Pacific Islands countries. Looking forwards to reading the papers, David Leeming Solomon Islands Rural Link P.O.Box 652 Honiara, Solomon Islands +677 7476396 (m) +677 24419 (h) <a href="http://www.rurallink.com.sbwww.rurallink.com.sb<br />

        • mark80west

          Thanks for this post. Could you specify how the Commonwealth of Learning program employed mobiles? Also, are there any results/findings/impressions/outcomes to report?

          • leemingd

            Hi,I have only been involved in some relatively minor applications, all rather too early to learn lessons from, namely: (1) last year in Buka, PNG, a workshop introducing the use of mobiles to support community learning programmes (CLPs). This is part of a Commonwealth of Learning programme called Healthy Communities, which uses participatory programming for community radio. The community and partners design and produce educational programmes about local health priorities. In Buka, the partners of a station called Radio New Dawn brainstormed ways of using tools such as FrontlineSMS to support the learners they wanted to reach through the radio. There was a local election going on at the time, and we tested the effectiveness of this tool by running a keyword reply service giving latest results – and received 800 texts in one night, which if they were all unique callers would be more than 10% of the population in their coverage area. Then, (2) in PNG I am part of an OLPC project of the PNG Sustainable Development Programme, a private organisation that ploughs back profits from the Ok Tedi mine into community development. Working with 11 very remote off-grid schools, we need a way to reach and support participating teachers. In most areas the Internet coverage by mobile web is not usable or non-existent, and even as that improves, email is not immediate enough especially with people who have not appropriated it as a primary means of communication. However, texts reach teachers in their pockets immediately. So we have based the primary means of networking on FrontlineSMS and with care, costs are managed by leveraging special packages and times of day when rates are reduced. (3) The Ministry of Education in Solomon Islands has been using closed groups for mobile networking supporting teachers in training, in partnership with a local provider. David Leeming Solomon Islands Rural Link P.O.Box 652 Honiara, Solomon Islands +677 7476396 (m) +677 24419 (h) <a href="http://www.rurallink.com.sbwww.rurallink.com.sb<br />

            • Hi David – as someone born in PNG now working in also supporting mLearning, I was thrilled to read the info on whats happening there. I know also of some projects in Indonesia, and here in Australia we have a OLPC program ready to greatly expand, numerous iPad deployments and quite a few mobile phone based programs also – would love to see if UNESCO will look at doing an Oceania paper – but if not, perhaps we could crowd-source one ourselves?

              • leemingd

                Hi Jonathan,Would be interested in such collaboration, as there is undoubtedly loads more going on in the region with m-learning, be it in schools or informal and vocational learning. Reading the UNESCO series of papers I am impressed with how much convergence is going on. Whereas some years ago it seemed with our regional OLPC pilot projects that we were out on a limb somewhat, now it seems to very much fit in with the bigger picture; the experiences, applications and recommendations outlined in the papers (at least the couple I have read) are mostly very relevant to our OLPC work. David Leeming Solomon Islands <a href="http://www.rurallink.com.sbwww.rurallink.com.sb<br />

                • Hi Jonathan and David,

                  With you both being based in the area, or aware of what is going on there, it seems like an Oceania paper would be possible. We can't provide UNESCO support at this stage but would be happy to provide input where we could. For the projects in our reports we wanted those that were documented or researched. We know that there are many excellent projects, both large-scale and small, that are happening out there but that aren't documented. Your paper, even if it was short, would make an excellent contribution to giving exposure to the work in the area. Go for it! Steve

  5. paul Gerhard

    i am looking forward reading these studies I believe mlearning is one of the key to reaching some of the EFA goals in Asia particularly where access to IT infrastructure and ICT is diverse and sometimes lacking

  6. Godfrey Mayende

    Am looking forward to reading these studies most especially the one for Africa. mLearning is the way to go for Africans (especially Uganda) since internet access is still a problem and yet mobile access is growing at a very interesting rate.

  7. I am looking forward to reading these papers. Last year, i was trying to gather information on Mobile Learning, especially in developing countries. This was very difficult to find, most M-Learning projects have been happening in UK or U.S.A or perhaps those are the only documented ones and most of the examples were very high-tech. It would be nice to see some low-end solutions and methods how they have been working.

    • Thanks Eva, Paul and Godfrey — we hope that you find the papers valuable. Best, Steve

    • I would like to draw attention toward an initiative named "Mobile Shiksha" which is a self initiative of Handygo who is already running a successful mAgriculture initiative "Behtar Zindagi" an IVR based Agriculture advisory portal in Indian states.

  8. Hi Steve
    I look forward to reading the papers, particularly on Asia. I'm working for the Open University on the 9 year English in Action project in Bangladesh, a UK-Aid funded partnership with the Government of Bangladesh, managed by Mott Macdonald. We have completed the pilot phase with 750 teachers and are working over the next three years with 4,500 teachers of English annually to deliver professional development through authentic video of classroom practice supported by reflection.

    We have capitalized on teachers’ familiarity with mobile phones by developing a set of engaging interactive materials uploaded onto SD cards in locally available $30 Nokia phones. Authentic classroom video of Bangladeshi teachers teaching their own students and using the government textbook is ‘sandwiched’ between film of a video mentor who introduces each video clip, asks questions, checks understanding and encourages reflection, aided by the use of SMS and regular monthly group meetings.

    I'd be happy to discuss the project with any one who's interested.

    • Hi Clare,

      Your work sounds fascinating. It would be great to learn more about it. Does the project have a site, reports, etc? The UNESCO Asia papers do reference the BBC Janala project, which I part of the English in Action project I believe.

  9. Hi. I´m Francisco Brazuelo Grund. I work as researcher at UNED (Open University in Spain). Me and Domingo Gallego Gil have publised recently a book about Mobile Learning called "Mobile Learning: mobile devices as learning tools". If all of you are interested in this book it´s avaible in Amazon: http://www.amazon.es/Learning-Dispositivos-M%C3%B
    Thank you

  10. Hi, I am Rajeev Ranjan involved in mAgriculture, mWomen, mHealth and mLearning initiative for Indian States. I am associated with Handygo Technologies, we have tried to develop all above said in the name of:
    1. Behtar ZIndagi – An IVR & SMS based Agriculture advisory portal
    2. Soochna Shakti – An iVR based information dissemination portal for women
    3. Ehsaas – An IVR and SMS based Sexual health advisory portal
    4. Mobile Shiksha – An IVR and SMS based Career counseling portal

    I'd be happy to share my experience with anyone with mutual interest.

    Thank you

  11. Hi Steve,

    CyberSmart has been working on SMS-based teacher professional development for the past year in Senegal. We send teachers weekly challenges and they post back in order to spark discussion and build community. We call the program "Defi de la Semaine." With over a year of use we are finding the mobile phone to be very useful as a professional development tool in order to keep up with teachers that would otherwise be very difficult to stay in contact with. Please include information on our program in your reporting and have a look at the following video we prepared about CyberSmart's mobile phone teacher professional development during 2011:[youtube KBE18VTuAhg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBE18VTuAhg youtube]

  12. Marianne Bez

    Hi, Steve

    I am a Masters Student in Hypermedia and Language Learning at the University of Stellenbosch and therefore looking forward to reading the papers dealing with mobile learning in Africa. I am currently, with the unfailing support of The Good Work Foundation, conducting research through a pilot project in the rural area of Justicia in Mpumalanga, South Africa, testing the effect of mobile literature instruction on the literacy levels of Grade 8-students of English First Additional Language within the South African rural context . I am using a mobile webservice t to communicate with learners and they form a COP by chatting on MXit at the end of every session. Although we have only had a few sessions thus far, I am excited about the results and possibilities of relieving the burden of rural teachers who have to deal with 70 learners per lesson by supplying curriculum based, standardised content to their learners. Thank you for inspiring and truly motivational blogs and articles on mobile learning. I am now, more than ever, convinced that the mobile phone is a very real solution for Africa and, in particular, South Africa.

    • Hi Marianne,

      Thanks very much for your email, and your kind words.Your project sounds really interesting. Please do share more about it when you can. In the meantime, if you have not seen the Yoza Cellphone Stories project reports then go to http://yozaproject.com/reports/. I'm sure you also know about the Dr LoL on Mxit project.

      Good luck with your project!

      • Marianne Bez

        Hi, Steve
        Thank you so much! It is actually a university task to critically review the Joza website last year that introduced me to mobile learning. Joza is such a meritorious idea and platform – and I felt that it needs to be expanded / followed up with mobile teacher intervention in order to reach the goal of enhancing learners' literacy levels and making them aware of meaningful citizenship. In this research project, using poetry as basis, we have now learnt new vocabulary, listened to the correct pronunciation of words, we have connected to an online dictionary, listened to, learnt the lyrics and danced to some inspiring world cup songs and this week successfully completed a comprehension exercise. I look forward to the next few weeks and so do the learners! Will keep you posted!
        Marianne

  13. Looks very interesting! I founded MobileSchool in Norway (Mobilskole in Norwegian, http://www.mobilskole.no), and we are helping Norwegian schools with leveraging mobile communication to improve education. In October we are co-partner in a Nordic Conference on mlearning here in Norway.

    Do you have relecant contacts, companies or potential key-note speakers in Norway?

  14. Radzi Manap

    Hi everyone,

    It is very interesting to read about mlearning development happening around the world. It is no doubt that mlearning is now taking the centerstage. I am currently conducting my PhD research on the use of mlearning for distance ESL learners in Malaysian university. I really appreciate anyone with the same interest to share your experience.

  15. As mlearning is taking the centerstage in our effort to achieve education for all goal, how can we apply it to library services in schools especially among undergraduate students fresh from the secondary schools in Nigeria? Henrietta from Donald Ekong Library, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

  16. Sounds very interesting!!! I look forward to reading the working papers.
    In 2004, I started my mLearning research and works mostly in SEA and Europe. It is interesting to learn how things have evolved rapidly. One of our papers relevant to this area can be found at http://tinyurl.com/79fn8bh.

  17. Before we all get too excited about the educational benefits of mobile phones, I'd like to remind everyone that not even mobiles have a 100% penetration rate. In fact, only 52% of Tanzanians have a mobile – and I doubt those are children, especially children outside wealthy areas.

    • Steve Vosloo

      Quite right, thanks Wayan. In cases like this it makes us think of how to use mobile phones in non 1:1 ways. One phone per group in a class, one per class, or even one mobile per school — my presentation on this is at http://www.slideshare.net/mlabsa/one-mobile-per-s….

      • Or even using mobile phones outside of school completely. My advice is to start mLearning initiatives outside the classroom where 100% penetration isn't an issue and many-to-one-device is already an expected norm.

        • Hi Wayan and Steve, how about mobile learning games which in most cases require direct user interaction? I am currently working with some students from Aalto University in Finland in developing games that change the process of learning, especially in developing countries. The idea is to enhance critical thinking, rather than the current educational methods of memorization and repetition. The parameters of the games are therefore that they should be fun, enable children to discover, experiment and discover their interest areas. We had no specific platform for the games at the design phase, but as we continued, we began thinking about mobile phone platforms, but the challenge of penetration as Wayan pointed out was a limiting factor. Do you see any future in mobile learning games in developing countries? do you know any initiatives that have been done on a large scale in this regard?

        • mark80west

          Yes, it seems like this might allow for more innovation and ensure a sort of bottom up genesis. Sometimes governments and school systems can take the reins too quickly and steer projects toward a lowest common denominator. It would be wonderful to have more models of mobile learning possibilities.

    • mark80west

      Indeed. A figure that gets tossed around a lot comes from ITU. According to the organization's most recent report there are 5.9 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide. The keyword that often gets glossed over "subscriptions." It's "subscriptions" NOT "subscribers." There are, I would imagine, no where near 5.9 billion unique mobile phone users. (Remember, of course, that a world population figure of 7 billion includes infants and the very old.) I've searched high and low for a reliable figure estimating the number of unique mobile phone users globally. Does anyone have or know of the existence of such a number? Many thanks.

  18. Muhammad Raheel

    I am a General Duty Trainer(Teacher Trainer) in Beaconhouse Pakistan. It a marvelous idea to use mobiles for teaching and learning because of its potential to extend learning beyond the four walls of class room, especially in a developing country. I will stay connected in order to learn and later collaborate with the colleagues in education world wide.

  19. Sam Ng

    Like everyone else here, I'm reading the reports with interest.

    Scanning through the comments, it's apparent that there's a lot happening. Does anyone know if there is any type of website/wiki that lists all the different initiatives that are out there, globally? A kind of Yellow pages for m-learning initiatives?

    Thanks in advance.

    • ScottKipp

      The Mobiles for Education (mEducation) Alliance will launch its website very soon, which will contain a projects map users can browse & contribute to.
      You can sign up now at the url http://www.meducationalliance.org and follow @m__eudcation on twitter to receive notice when the whole site goes live and to keep informed about events, including the upcoming mEducation Alliance Symposium, to be held Sept. 5 – 7 in Washington D.C. The call for proposals for this event is available on the mEducation site, and is open for submissions through May 25.

  20. Need more details for training the teachers for primary and professional college.
    as@successmantra.net

  21. This sounds amazing! Is there anyone able to inform me whether this program is underway in rural Zambia? I have worked in education in some rural villages and the educational system is still appalling no matter how many times the language policy has changed in the country. With teachers being moved into areas where they do not speak the local language and neither can the students understand eg English or Bemba, the constraints to learning are great, left alone the lack of administration and poor incentives.Many teachers do not want to move to certain areas for the lack of infrastructure and distance to market areas, so students are sometimes left with a great gap of lectures between the terms. Mobiles however are plenty and very much helpful in some difficult to reach areas. I will be down in the Gwembe valley in Southern Province during the whole summer, conducting research on the sociolinguistics constraints to educational performance, so anyone interested in exploring this field further, do get in touch!

    • Steve Vosloo

      Thanks Cate. Education in Zambia could definitely benefit from mobiles. I was part of a workshop there in 2009 to raise awareness of mobile learning with teachers and curriculum advisors, and after 3 days they "got it" and thought it could work for them very well. Good luck with your research.

  22. Tim Kelly

    There was a nice article in the Zambia Daily Star this week (May 22), to quote:

    "Pupils at Katete Girls Boarding School in Eastern Province yesterday rioted and destroyed school infrastructure and property worth about K54 million following a decisoin by the school management to confiscate their mobilephones if found with them in school"

  23. WapEduc is designed to help secondary-school students prepare for their baccalaureate exams, while the Priory School’s major mobile learning activities have been developed by a single teacher specifically to help students learn geography.
    This mobile learning plateform is mainly used in France, Belgium, Canada, Côte d'Ivoire, Sénégal.
    The WapEduc project was started in 2005 by Philippe Steger, a secondary-school teacher in Montpellier, France, to provide ‘anytime, anywhere’ learning for his students. WapEduc has since grown to support students throughout France who are studying for their baccalaureate, a series of exams required for secondary-school graduation. A reported 32,000 students used the system in its first three years of operation. WapEduc is funded by the Montpellier Local Education Authority, and access to its materials is free for both teachers and students, though users must consider the costs of downloading data based on their personal mobile contracts.

    Contact : wapeduc@wapeduc.net
    Best regards,
    P.Steger

InfoDev UNESCO

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