English In Action: innovation using mobile for classroom and adult learning in Bangladesh

English in Action (EIA) is a nine-year UK government funded programme aiming to raise English language skills in Bangladesh. This presentation will provide an insight into two distinct methodologies where mobile learning has been successfully launched at scale.

The presentation will first examine the schools’ component of the project, where mobile technologies are used for teacher professional development (TPD) and communicative language teaching. The presentation will examine the changes in the technologies used as the project has developed and will demonstrate how low cost mobile phones provide unprecedented opportunities to both deliver TPD and improve teachers’ and students’ communicative English language skills.

The second half of the presentation will introduce the adult learning initiative of English In Action, which aims to address widespread desire amongst adults to learn English. Under the brand of “BBC Janala”, the project’s mobile learning service is accessible at reduced tariffs from all of the country’s mobile operators and, at the end of July 2012, had 6.3 million users. As well as addressing challenges of user experience and content, the presentation will outline lessons learnt in the development and evolution of the service and examine how its business model will influence its sustainability going forward.

Robina Shaheen and Richard Lace

Dr. Robina Shaheen
Dr. Robina Shaheen is a Senior Research Fellow at the Open University UK and Head of Research and Quality Assurance within English in Action. She completed her PhD (Education) from University of Birmingham in 2010. Prior to this she worked within the NGO sector before joining the International Labour Organisation working on child labour elimination; and then UNICEF and the National Commission for Human Development (Pakistan) where she managed large-scale education projects aimed at enhancing access and quality of primary education in Pakistan. She has undertaken evaluation and consultancy projects for Aus-AID, NORAD and the Higher Education Academy as well as undertaking research, with a focus on the development of student creativity.

Richard Lace
Richard Lace is Head of Project (English In Action) for BBC Media Action Bangladesh, leading a team of local and international staff delivering across all the BBC Janala media platforms (television, radio, mobile, web, print and social learning). He has extensive experience in using media to develop individuals and achieve social change; working on multi-media projects engaging young people across Africa, Asia, Europe and South America as well as running one of the leading community radio projects in the UK.

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