mobile education

Grassroots Support Organizations and Capacity-Building in M4D: A Case Study of the Jokko Initiative in Senegal

Posted by LindsayEllen on Sep 30, 2011
Grassroots Support Organizations and Capacity-Building in M4D: A Case Study of the Jokko Initiative in Senegal data sheet 1108 Views
Lindsay E. Powell
Publication Date: 
May 2011
Publication Type: 

Fueled by renewed enthusiasm about the potential of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) for development, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are implementing ambitious projects with mobile technology components in the developing world in a phenomenon commonly referred to as “Mobiles-for-development” or “M4D.”


A participatory approach that responds to the needs and realities of local communities is widely recognized as a necessary component of a successful M4D intervention. However, project failure-especially in sub-Saharan Africa- remains the norm, pointing towards the need for more thorough enumeration of best practices and more rigorous impact evaluation on the part of field-based practitioners. This thesis calls for greater attention to be given to the role of human capacity, which is a precondition for participation in M4D interventions but which also tends to be deficient in rural, poor communities. A greater focus on capacity would entail both assessing capacity- in terms of physical resources and human capabilities- at the local level and including capacity-building in project activities when necessary.


This study employs the human development and capabilities approach and the case study and participant observation methods to examine the efforts of the American NGO Tostan to integrate mobile technology into its non-formal education and empowerment program in rural Senegal. The findings of this study underscore the decisive role played by local capacity and intent and by effective, locally based intermediary organizations, conceptualized in this paper as grassroots support organizations (GSOs), that support the acquisition of the human capabilities needed to harness the empowering potential of mobile technology and other ICTs.






Mobile Learning for Africa

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Aug 25, 2011
Mobile Learning for Africa data sheet 2238 Views
Parker, Jennifer
Publication Date: 
Jan 2011
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Within this brief an applied project was conducted in collaboration with the ILO in Geneva. The ILO is currently launching a worldwide training programme called (Managing Your Cooperative), which aims to teach contemporary principles of managing agricultural cooperatives to people in Africa, Asia and Latin America.


The goal of this applied project was to identify mobile learning opportunities within the delivery of this training programme in the African context. The result is a mobile learning toolkit that contains an overview of mobile learning, 15 mobile learning methods and a selection of tools that can be used to facilitate these methods. Each method includes a general step-by-step guide plus a customisation to the training programme.


The mobile learning toolkit is an open source resource that can be used in the delivery of all kinds of training in any developing context. It has been designed to be as inclusive as possible, with most of the methods requiring only low end devices (basic mobile phones with voice calling and SMS capability). In this way the toolkit can be used to deliver interactive distance learning experiences to participants even at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP).

Mobiles Games for Education and Development: What Is the Score?

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Jul 22, 2011

As mobile gaming explodes worldwide, the market for “games for good” (either with an educational or social-change focus) is open for growth. Mobile games provide a way to quickly pass time, an always-on-hand source of entertainment, and a way to connect with others through competing scores or sharing strategies.  Can mobile games also be used to teach, inform, and raise awareness?

Level One: The Mobile Gaming Landscape

The current mobile landscape shows that games are popular worldwide, regardless of handset type or region. A June 2011 Gartner report on the state of the gaming industry reported that mobile gaming is expected to see the largest growth percentage of any aspect of the industry (compared to consoles and PCs), estimating “its share growing from 15 percent in 2010 to 20 percent in 2015.”  Tuong Nguyen, principal research analyst at Gartner, is quoted as saying, “As the popularity of smartphones and tablets continues to expand, gaming will remain a key component in the use of these devices. Although [mobile devices] are never used primarily for gaming, mobile games are the most downloaded application category across most application stores, […] For this reason, mobile gaming will continue to thrive as more consumers expand their use of new and innovative portable connected devices.”

The growth of mobile games can be clearly seen in US mobile trends; a July 2011 report from Nielsen says that games are the most popular kind of app for smartphone owners, with 64% of US smartphone owners using a mobile game app at least once a month. The Nielsen report also found that “the average mobile gamer plays an average of 7.8 hours a month,” and that  “those with iPhones tend to play around 14.7 hours each month while those with Android smartphones play around 9.3 hours per month.”

But mobile games aren’t just popular on smartphones; feature phone users are embracing the mobile gaming trend as well. MobiThinking’s 2011 global mobile statistic report found that among Africans who use mobile devices as their primary means of accessing the Internet, 55 percent report downloading games. OnDevice Research’s 2011 Mobile Internet Satisfaction report found that mobile games can influence handset purchase, as users want mobile devices that can support games. They report that, “89% of mobile media users in Kenya consider the quality of games they can play on their device when choosing a new phone.”

A 2009 report on India’s mobile gaming field from Vital Analytics found “approximately 120 million urban Indians used their mobile phones to play games during quarter ending July 2009, a reach of 41%. In terms of time spent playing games, 37% of the population spends less than an hour in a week playing games while on the other end of the spectrum 9% spend over 5 hours on an average.” The report also found that most popular types of mobiles games for Indian users were sports games (such as cricket) and arcade-style puzzle games.

With all these mobile gaming enthusiasts out there, where does that leave educational and social change games? Couldn’t some of this popularity be turned toward math, literacy, or advocacy games? The landscape shows that mobile games are popular regardless of handset and location, so the question now is how to make a game that provides both value and entertainment to the player.

Learning Communities Enabled by Mobile Tech: Case Study of School-Based, In-Service Secondary Teacher Training Rural Bangladesh

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Oct 01, 2010
Learning Communities Enabled by Mobile Tech: Case Study of School-Based, In-Service Secondary Teacher Training Rural Bangladesh data sheet 1864 Views
Sarah Lucas Pouezevara and Rubina Khan
Publication Date: 
Dec 2007
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Adapted from Executive Summary: With the aim of providing developing member countries (DMCs) with better guidance to use information and communication technology (ICT) effectively in education, the Asian
Development Bank (ADB) funded a 21-month regional technical assistance (RETA) in Bangladesh, Nepal, Mongolia, and Samoa. The RETA researched approaches to using ICT in education in ways that succeed in improving teaching and learning and also are sustainable given the region’s development challenges.

The study in Bangladesh, part of the e-Teacher Training component, complements the existing ADB-funded Teaching Quality Improvement in Secondary Education Project (TQI-SEP;2005–2011), which has as one of its objectives, to provide in-service professional development to all serving teachers working in secondary schools recognized by the Ministry of Education (MoE) at least once during the project period. 

The study equipped two subject trainers, a training coordinator, and a cluster of 10 schools with “smartphones”2 (with video, speakerphone, and three-way calling capabilities), for use by 20 Bangla and math teachers in 10 schools of the Barisal region in southern Bangladesh. The existing training curriculum was revised from a 2-week, face-to-face workshop to a 6-week distance-mode training based on printed materials and practical application of training content with peers. The phones were intended primarily to enhance communication, motivation, and multimedia delivery.

The objective of the study was to develop a case study on the use of mobile connectivity in support of distance education and to determine whether:

• it is an effective mode for teacher training and improvement in classroom practice
• it is a suitable mode to reach rural and remote teachers, including women and disadvantaged groups
• it presents other benefits in terms of education administration (including student assessment and costs) and pedagogy.

The study also sought to determine the costs of this model, and the features of the smartphones that would be most useful as a support to distance learning.

Using Mobile Phones to Improve Educational Outcomes: An Analysis of Evidence from Asia

Posted by PrabhasPokharel on May 18, 2010
Using Mobile Phones to Improve Educational Outcomes: An Analysis of Evidence from Asia data sheet 2626 Views
John-Harmen Valk, Ahmed T. Rashid, and Laurent Elder
ISSN/ISBN Number: 
Publication Date: 
Mar 2010
Publication Type: 
Journal article

Despite improvements in educational indicators, such as enrollment, significant challenges remain with regard to the delivery of quality education in developing countries, particularly in rural and remote regions. In the attempt to find viable solutions to these challenges, much hope has been placed in new information and communication technologies (ICTs), mobile phones being one example.

This article reviews the evidence of the role of mobile phone-facilitated mLearning in contributing to improved educational outcomes in the developing countries of Asia by exploring the results of six mLearning pilot projects that took place in the Philippines, Mongolia, Thailand, India, and Bangladesh. In particular, this article examines the extent to which the use of mobile phones helped to improve educational outcomes in two specific ways: 1) in improving access to education, and 2) in promoting new learning. Analysis of the projects indicates that while there is important evidence of mobile phones facilitating increased access, much less evidence exists as to how mobiles promote new learning.