Mobile Learning Week: from text books to telephone
UNESCO will hold an international experts’ meeting and symposium at its Headquarters in Paris from 12 to 16 December to promote the potential contribution of mobile telephones to education. Last year, 5.3 of the world’s seven billion people were using mobile phones, according to the International Telecommunication Union.
Organized in partnership with Nokia, Mobile Learning Week will contribute to UNESCO’s work on policy guidelines to help countries harness the potential for education of the most world’s most ubiquitous communication technology. It will provide insight into how mobile telephones can support teachers and their professional development while helping stakeholders share experiences and create international networks in this area.
The International Experts Meeting on Mobile Learning will take place from 12 to 14 December and will be followed by the UNESCO Symposium on Mobile Learning, 15 and 16 December.
During the Symposium, Nokia, Pearson Foundation, SK Telecom, ISTE, iLearn4Free, ICTP, Microsoft, Commonwealth of Learning, Alcatel-Lucent, Orange, Intel, Education Alliance, Ericsson, and KERIS will showcase recent developments in mobile technologies and projects on mobile learning from the field in the Open UNESCO space.
As 90% of the world’s population now has access to mobile networks, there is growing enthusiasm about the potential of mobile devices to improve education access, quality and equity. This potential has been proved by a range of initiatives in Mozambique, Pakistan, South Africa Niger, Kenya and Mongolia that have helped to: provide access to distance education for teachers, improve literacy among girls and women, motivate learners, nurture an interest in mathematics and enhance school administration and communication between principals and teachers.
Nevertheless, there are very few national policies directly related to mobile phones and learning and of those that do exist, many ban the use of mobile phones at schools. Mobile Learning Week has been designed to help meet the need to develop enabling policies for mobile learning, which is the purpose of the Guidelines on Mobile Learning Policy UNESCO is expecting to release in late 2012.
Close to 200 policy makers, educators, academics, researchers, practitioners and representatives from the private sector are expected to the attend the Symposium, which will feature keynote speakers from the World Wide Web Foundation (Stephane Boyera); Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA, Eric Klopfer), Stanford University (USA, Paul Kim) and the University of Nottingham (UK, Mike Sharples).