Open Source

Mobile phones for learning

Next week I will be in South Africa. This is already my third trip this year to there. This time I have great expectations for the trip. With partners from SA, Indian, Brazil, US and Finland we are planning a new project called MobiLed – Mobile phones in informal and formal learning in developing countries. The project itself is still under construction, but in the workshop next week we will already generate some scenarios and produce video mock-ups out of them.

I can’t write down here any of the scenarios we have discussed already online, but I can tell you what are the main technology components we are going to use. They are:

The pedagogical foundations of the scenarios are:

  • Student and group-centred learning;
  • Project-based learning;
  • Problem solving;
  • Inquiry learning.

And you can trust us, we will be very activity-centered in our design. It’s going to be a fun week!

By the way: I do not believe on the MIT Media Lab’s $ 100US PC project. PC is not the way to go in developing countries. PCs are clumsy. I have wrote about this before and so did Douwe before me.

3 replies on “Mobile phones for learning”

Well.. We did a similar experiment in a class room set-up in the west coast campus of Carnegie Mellon. I used to use the mobile for recording audio and video content in the class and play it to my team time and again. Another interesting feature we observed was posing a query to one of the fellows and it gets forwarded and finally it gets back to us with an answer. That was real fast… I would say a Real- Time Learning environment… and Bunch of times I got answers to my questions.. across the geographies.. This is what the community can do to you.. I am sure internet does the same… But my mobile never made me wired to my laptop.


Experiments where students are given mobile phones/PDAs to take pictures and to record audio about something, and then asked to brining them back to the class-room are right now carried out everywhere around the world. This is great, although per see, it doesn’t have anything to do with learning. Anyway this is absolutely fabulous way of using the tools compared to the first wave of experiments where students were given mobile phones/PDA’s with “multimedia content”.But what we are trying to create in this project are “practices” rather than “tools”, but still modifying the tools to fit very well to the practices designed. In the design of the practices we naturally face the pedagogica questions: does this improve the way of learning if compared to some other way of doing things? Do students learn in this practice something we haven’t thought they will? Is it good or bad?


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