Thursday, August 19, 2010

mLearning at the Bottom of the Pyramid (James BonTempo)

Presentation will center around opportunities in which we could potentially use mLearning.

Speaker's presentation looks good from the get-go. Presents the following stats:

5,000,000,000 subscriptions
4,100,000,000 mobile phones
3,600,000,000 subscribers (unique) (<-- Just over 1/2 the people in the world)

Greatest growth in mobile? Not's 7 times as high in emerging markets in the last 8 years (India, China, Middle East, etc.). The bottom 75% in Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia spent 20% of their income on mobile services alone. Holy wow...the cost of hardware has continued to drop, but the functionality available has stagnated. (shows some dinosaurs and what they cost today)

What can we do with these phones?

- Basic numeracy skills - The calculator on these basic phones can be used to teach basic arithmetic. Allows people who may have never had access to education the ability to not get ripped off at market, etc.

- Users can also learn to speak English (refer to links). Program in Bangladesh allows users to call and listen to ~3 minute podcasts (Basic, Intermediate, Advanced).

- Adopt healthy behavior - Users can sign up to receive SMS to help reinforce smoking cessation, etc.

- Get tutoring and learning reinforcement - Follow up SMS can reinforce items received in the classroom.

- Create communities of learners - Forget your higher up Social Networking...a phonecall/SMS is the original 'mobile community'.

- Report grades, attendance, and other data. It's like an LMS...sorta.

This is awesome, as by looking at the basics of mLearning with the most basic technology, it's quite revealing as to the true, inherent benefits of mLearning. I can tell I was really into it, based on the brevity of this post. What an intuitive, creative presentation on what runs the risk of being a very dry, stodgy topic. Amazingly well done.

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