Requirements and opportunities for the development of a mobile learning strategy in emergent countries
Claudia Aparicio, Fundación Telefónica, Colombia
The situation in Colombia: 85% internet access in public education, mobile market penetration of 90%, 1 computer per 21 students, techer’s e-learning uses are still low, teachers haven’t broadband access at home, the monthly income for a teacher is US$ 600 in average. So, what could be the impact of using mobile technologies in this context? How can m-learning help in overcoming these challenges?
The other part of the context is that people already use SMS to get news and WAP to access remote tools. This has boosted a positive attitude towards Information and Communication Technologies. SMS have reduced the costs of communications and advanced services have brought communities closer.
Notwithstanding, there still is the challenge on how to apply these tools and the positive attitude into the educational arena.
A strong point is converting the teachers from consumers into producers. A combination of a web authoring platform + tutorials can enable the teacher to produce their own leaning materials, make them more personal, reduce costs. The project (the platform) will work either through SMS, WAP and a web portal.
Ismael Peña-López: What has been the involvement of the education community in the project? A: Telefónica Foundation has been in constant contact with the community. Indeed, the Educared Colombia community is already very active and has been eager to participate in the design and testing of the project.
Iolanda García: Is it SMS/WAP an alternative to broadband? It may not, but it actually is in many places (e.g. rural areas) where broadband is not accessible. In these places, teachers download online materials on their phones to use them in their classrooms, where no-one (but the teacher) has access to the Internet.