Mobiles for Reading
As part of a longstanding partnership with Nokia, UNESCO is researching how people use mobile technologies to access and read text. In many countries reading opportunities are constrained because printed text is expensive and in short supply.
In book-poor environments, simple mobile phones can open up portals to reading material. The United Nations now estimates that of the seven billion people on the planet, six billion have access to a working mobile device. A variety of applications can transform mobile phones into easy-to-use libraries. With minimal data fees, people can navigate to books and stories aligned to their interests.
But beyond merely enabling access, mobile devices—thanks to their interactive and multimedia features—can also help people learn to read. UNESCO is in the process of reviewing initiatives that leverage mobile technology for literacy and reading. This review will be published in late 2013.
Additionally, UNESCO is working with Worldreader, a non-profit organization that optimizes books for consumption on digital devices, to study the habits and preferences of mobile readers in seven countries: Kenya, Zimbabwe, India, Pakistan, Ghana, Nigeria and Ethiopia. The results of this study will provide governments and other relevant stakeholders information that will help them better utilize mobile technology to advance literacy, especially in developing countries.