25.04.2012 - Education Sector

Learning in a book-poor, mobile-rich world

mLearning Africa- Zambian high schoolers and their mobile phones

Mobile technologies are promoting collaborative learning in science classes in Chile; strengthening communication between principals and teachers in Kenya; reinforcing newly-acquired literacy skills for women and girls in Pakistan; facilitating adult vocational training in Europe; and improving the efficiency and speed of educational data collection in Argentina.

These are just some examples UNESCO is highlighting in a new online publication series on mobile learning.

The number of mobile phone accounts worldwide is approaching six billion. For every individual who goes online from a computer, two more do so from a mobile device.  Even where schools and computers are scarce, people still have mobile phones. Africa alone will account for some 735 million subscriptions by late 2012. A majority of Africans have individual access to an interactive information and communication technology for the first time in history.

Because mobile phones are everywhere and have so many functions, UNESCO is committed to better understanding how they can support learners, teachers, and entire education systems, particularly where educational opportunities are scarce. Around the world, the evidence for mobile learning is mounting, as described in a new UNESCO Working Paper Series on Mobile Learning.

The papers, published online, provide concrete examples of the way mobile technologies are providing professional development opportunities for teachers in rural Mozambique; extending the reach of learning management systems in Mongolia; helping young people read and comment on short stories in South Africa; and enabling high school students in North America to better understand the ecosystems surrounding lakes.

Along with providing concrete examples, the series shows how mobile technologies can respond to educational challenges in different contexts; supplement and enrich formal schooling; and make learning more accessible, equitable, and personalized.


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