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Start mLearning initiatives outside the classroom

By Wayan Vota on March 19, 2012


Mobile phones may be amazing, ubiquitous, and a real platform to learn with. Yet, the mobile phone (like many ICTs) comes with associations that prevent it from widespread usage and adoption in formal educational systems. In fact, mobile phones are often banned from schools outright – schools in 52 countries and counting.

Back in 2006, South Africa started banning mobile phones over Mxit, and since then Kenya banned mobiles in schools, and now Nigerian states are banning them too. Mobile phones are seen as too disruptive for student use.

That’s not to say mobile phones do not have educational value. There are valid, impressive mEducation initiatives that should and are being deployed and expanded, but these are usually outside of formal educational systems.

How then to get mobile phones used in public schools? Use them to improve the administration of education – student and teacher tracking, grading, and other data collection and reporting intensive activities. There, outside the classroom but still in the school, are the easy wins that can pre-stage an eventual, gradual realization and adoption of mobile phones as educational tools in the classroom.



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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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2 Comments to “Start mLearning initiatives outside the classroom”

  1. We quite far down the line in South Africa in utilizing mobile devices for learning. The http://www.m-ubuntu.org site tells a story and not only answer some questions you raised, but certainly begs more to be asked. Thanks. Theo

  2. Steve Vosloo says:

    Hi Wayan,

    Very interesting point about how to increase the chance of adoption of mobile phones in formal schooling: first show utility outside of the learning experience, but inside the school system.

    Do you have a reference for “52 countries ban mobille phones”?