Mobile Technologies for Learning and Development (III). Dolors Reig: Mobile Learning in rural environments and development countries

Notes from the UOC UNESCO Chair in e-Learning VII International Seminar: Mobile Technologies for Learning and Development, held in Casa Asia, Barcelona, Spain, on October 6-7, 2010. More notes on this event: eLChair10.

Mobile Learning in rural environments and development countries
Dolors Reig, Consultant & editor-in-chief at the ICT – educational weblog El Caparazón, Spain

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The Internet is not about empowerment of new leaders, it is about the empowerment of everyone (Levinson).

The context of m-learning is changing: the penetration of the feature phone and the penetration of the smartphone is converging and the latter could catch up with the former by 2011 Q3 according to Nielsen. Today, 14% of total web traffic comes from mobile phones and for 70% of 16-25 youth mobiles are the most important media.

Of course, the context in which education takes place is also changing and the system is in a dire crisis. There is an increasing trend towards open social learning. Clay Shirky states that there is a cognitive surplus, a social surplus and a creative surplus in collaborating and creating collectively.

The social web is definitely boosting the upper stages of Maslow’s pyramid. And the social component is now more important than ever. This rising social component is having a positive impact on education: it is now more easy than ever to get information and, indeed, to get answers to one’s queries. The web is a research, knowledge platform. John Seely Brown states that mobiles are curiosity amplifiers.

The digital divide is increasingly a participation divide.


Eva de Lera: How much are institutions an obstacle to m-learning by trying to replicate the “ancient” methodologies to mobile phones? How much is it about technologies and how much about pedagogies? A: Yes, we should adapt the pedagogies and methodologies to the new devices, but not only the devices, but the new paradigms that the new platforms imply.

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