MOBILE LEARNING GROWING RAPIDLY IN AFRICA
NEW YORK - As the use of new technologies continues to expand in Africa, so does education. The initiative to incorporate new information and communication technology in the education system has led to the development of successful projects that provide Africans living in poverty with the opportunity to learn through the use of mobile phones.
The project Mobile Learning has generated easier access to education for millions of Africans and many have replaced classrooms and books for mobile phones.
“Mobile technologies have improved education opportunities for the poor communities, through blended learning and rapid interactivity” says Mobile Learning’s eLearning website. M-learning brings education to communities of scarce resources that have little access to transportation, electricity or the internet. Teachers are able to communicate with multiple students simultaneously no matter the location and scholars are able to receive instant feedback through instantaneous messaging.
Many institutions have developed programs to emphasize the studying of specific subjects like math, science and health. Bridge It, a project developed in Tanzania, enables teachers to connect mobile phones to a TV and pass videos to their students relating “human biology, geometry and HIV/AIDS,” according to the eLearning website.
The accessibility and benefits of the program have made M-learning a top choice and it is often preferred over the use of other electronic devices. Despite the fact that laptops and desktops have been installed throughout schools, many prefer to use portable phones that provide some of the same functions. Students can listen to audio files anywhere and as many times as they want and obtain and share information through the internet or SMS at low cost rates.
In poor countries like Kenya and Tanzania, M-learning has become extremely popular. According to the eLearning Africa News Portal, because of the demand for distance education there are more than 500 million subscribers today up from 246 million in 2008.
M-Learning is expected to continue growing as it also plays a key role in health education. Many health institutions are using it to inform communities about diseases like HIV/ AIDS and diabetes.