eDevelopment workshop on mobile innovation – Session 4

Notes from the World Bank eDevelopment Thematic Group workshop on “Mobile Innovations for Social and Economic Transformation – From Pilots to Scaled-up Implementation on 16 September in Washington DC.


Working Lunch & Session 4: Mobile Innovations in Education


Introduction: Mike Trucano, Sr. ICT Policy Specialist


Reaching Out to Transform Education
Mohamed Ally
, Professor, Athabasca University

Some people in developing countries prefer buying a phone than buying food or clothes

Mobile learning (= education & training) has become more and more interesting for many countries

We’re moving from the e-world to the m-world

  • one issue: going from electronic libraries to mobile libraries
  • mobile education will help people achieve better basic education
  • mobile learning as a prerequisite for the other mobile services
  • need of more teacher training for mobile services

Many marginalised groups need access to education

We underestimate people from developing countries or living in remote areas in their abilities and interest in technology – e.g. Hole in the wall project by Sugata Mithra

Digital divide is something of the past

  • how to provide learning materials for the people?
  • without content they won’t use the device
  • How to get teachers to prepare well designed mobile learning materials?

Examples of mobile learning projects

  • language training
  • accent reduction
  • games for HIV/AIDS information
  • teacher support

Mobile education has a major role to play in goal 1-8 of the Millenium Development Goals of the UN

Education should be free & is a human right – Open Access mobile learning initiatives

Mobile education to prevent intellectual starvation – can save a lot of problems the world faces now, as well

With mobile technology ‘education for all’ is in reach

Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world


Improving Quality of Education through Innovative Use of Mobile Technology
Kate Place, Program Manager, International Youth Foundation, BridgeIT download presentation


  • access to digital video content ‘on demand’
  • teacher training & support
  • learner centered

Projects in the Philippines and Tanzania


increase educational quality & student achievement in primary schools in math, science, English and life skills through the innovative use of cellular & digital technology

Improving learning outcomes with the provided material – integrate BridgeIT in the education systems, improve teachers performance & learning gains


  • 1st system: SMS ordering and satellite download
  • 2nd system: mobile only with 2.5 / 3G network – eliminating a lot of middle steps

Enhancing existing education with integrated ‘on demand’ videos

  • Only few training needed for the teachers


  • better learning results
  • more participation
  • higher motivation
  • increased attendance


  • complexity of startup operations
  • cost of initial investment – equipment, teacher training, developing videos, …
  • technology constantly evolving
  • project management
  • transition of ownership


  • other uses for classrooms – community education, …
  • prices decrease – possible scaling
  • dissemination of new content


Commentary: MobileActive.org representative

Mobile education and mobile learning is about where eHealth was about 5 years ago

Transition from E to M – there are huge numbers of rural communities getting mobiles who had no possibility to access the internet before – big shift

Wonderful pilotes going on but interesting point

  • how have mobiles been used as a basic platform for literacy
  • a lot more happening in the informal than in the formal sector


Q & A

BridgeIT: works only on Nokia? can videos be shared between teachers? can teachers upload own content?

Benefits include ensuring teachers present more of std. curriculum. So, main effect of intervention not tech?

Often local governments cannot increase the budget of education, what to do there if you want to introduce mLearning?

  • Rethinking the model of education – keeping the cost down by enabling the student to learn from everywhere
  • The mobile phone is never going to replace the classroom

Who is paying for the content provider? How is the business model?

  • so far BridgeIT is quite expensive but we are working on decreasing the cost of the package – projectors instead of TVs, solar power, …
  • there is already a phone out there which has an integrated projector – this will bring down the cost

Donors keep financing content – what is your advice not to use donors money recreating content?

  • Changing the attitude of teachers – who say they only use their own material, motivating them to share their content

What are lessons learned on using mLearning for literacy?

How are experiences on issues of scaling up?

mLearning is a great way of complementing education – education is not about only access, traditional approaches should not be be substituted

  • the role of the teacher will change – he will not disappear but become a facilitator, social software makes a difference, in social networks pupils form groups and interact; schools are nothing traditional, hundreds of years learning was a 1 to 1 tutoring, with mLearning we’re going back to that
  • it depends on which level you’re looking at – at primary and secondary level teachers are still very important; in higher education, distance education is definitely possible

What about staff / on the job training?

  • World Bank wants to look at that – actual practices

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eDevelopment workshop on mobile innovation – Session 4
was published on 16.09.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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  1. links for 2009-09-18 « Design in Africa Says:

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