The Power of Mobile to Educate, Support and Engage


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Presented at m-Libraries 2012, United Kingdom, 25 September 2012

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  • Focus not on m-libraries, but on mobile learning, specifically how mobiles are being used to Educate, Support and Engage people.I’m a great believer in taking ideas from other fields and applying the best and most relevant to your own. So the idea of my presentation is to look at mobile learning initiatives – to see what works and doesn’t for them – and to try to apply that to the needs of m-libraries.We’ll end by looking at trends and ways to “think mobile” for libraries and the services they offer.
  • Two things first:I love libraries! This is a photo of the Bibliotheque Saint-Genevieve in Paris by Franck Bohbot. (Original image: I love the space, the tranquility. Like Paul Theroux I find books to have a calming effect. Book shops are also wonderful places. I love the smell of books. As a child I would spend hours in the Walmer library in PE, just enjoying the books. Smelling them! Occasionally getting into embarrassing situations as a librarian found me smelling a thumbed copy of War and Peace in the back corner.So, being here, I feel like I am amongst friends!
  • This is roughly what the Walmer library looked like: there were books, librarians, systems in place, people using the facility. But we were privileged. Image: CC
  • This is what libraries, especially mobile libraries, look like for many people.Most of my work is in developing countries. So, secondly, while there are amazing mobile learning apps, and m-library apps I’m sure, for the iPads and smartphones out there, and while ebooks can be loaned in developed country libraries, that is not the reality for billions of people. UNESCO’s work is most pressing in communities without the full range of resources that we most of us have access to. So my examples will come from developing countries.Image: CC
  • Policy Guidelines for Mobile LearningRaise awareness and put mobile learning onto the ICT in Education agenda.Promote value and practicability of mobile learning.Make high-level recommendations for creating policies that enable mobile learning.Aimed at national government policy makers
  • Image: CCCisco: There will be 788 million mobile-only Internet users by 2015 ( the first time in the history of the world, most people can be reached and can communicate with each other.
  • In August TIME magazine ran a special issue on our wireless society, focusing on how mobile has changed the way we vote, give to charities, provide healthcare, play, learn, pay for things, and more. 16 August 2012.
  • 16 August 2012.
  • But remember: the mobile landscape is uneven. Varied: infrastructure, costs, handset features, perceptions, literacy levels, etc.Most people buy there airtime here, pre-paid in small amounts.Image: CC
  • BBC Janala allows Bangladeshis to use basic mobile phones to practice and improve their English language skills. Users of the service simply dial a number which connects them to a three minute audio lesson. The lessons are updated once-a-day and employ interactive voice response technology to ensure the lessons are engaging and interactive. The cost to complete a single lesson is just .50 BDT or 0.0061 USD. Due to its ease-of-use and affordability, the voice lessons were accessed over 15 million times during the project’s first two years of operation.  In addition to the voice service, BBC Janala also hosts an internet website designed specifically for use on mobile devices. With an internet connection, Bangladeshis can freely download English language lessons for use on their personal mobile devices. In a two year period, over 250,000 lessons had been downloaded. While BBC Janala supports English language learning in other mediums, including television and print media, its support of mobile devices has been instrumental to the project’s success. Because most Bangladeshi’s do not own tethered computers or have consistent access to television and print media, project planners were able to vastly expand the reach and impact of English language learning materials by making them available to people via mobile phones.
  • This is a picture of a real school library in Kade, Ghana. Not an uncommon library in Sub Saharan Africa.Image: Worldreader
  • Worldreader’s mission – books for all. Using new digital technology, Worldreader brings books to folks who have no books, enabling them to learn to read, to fall in love with books, to become lifelong readers.Reports: Worldreader
  • Image: CC
  • Image: CC
  • Access to free booksLocal and international contentWide variety: Fiction, non-fiction, classics, short stories, skills development, textbooks, reference materialsComprehensive searchIntegrated DictionaryIntegrated social platformImages:Worldreader and biNu
  • Images:Worldreader and biNu
  • People are actively searching for content. 180,000 Searches per month. Top 20 Searches account for only 9% - so really you have a very long tail and very broad interests.What’s interesting is that that month to month this never really changes.
  • This information is based on 3 surveys of a combined no. of 17 865 Worldreader app users over 6 weeksImages:Worldreader and biNu
  • While most people associate the Khan Academy with videos about math, the educational content covers a wide range of disciplines.The screen shot here is from a video about the Opera House in Paris. It is one of hundreds of videos collected under the rubric of Art History. The video shows numerous photographs of the opera house, architectural drawings and artistic renditions of the building. By incorporating images, narration, and sound into the videos, they make for a far different experience (and probably far richer experience) than reading about the Paris Opera House in a traditional text book.
  • Pakistan is one of the countries in South Asia with low literacy levels, with an average adultliteracy rate of 55.5%. Illiteracy is especially pronounced among women: in 2011, only 40%of women over the age of 15 were literate, while 69% of men were (UNESCAP, 2011). Images: UNESCO Pakistan and BUNYAD Foundation
  • In 2009, UNESCO collaborated with the mobile service provider Mobilink and a local nongovernmentalorganization (NGO) to launch a mobile learning project in Pakistan aimed atpromoting literacy education for women through mobile phones (UNESCO, 2010). A fivemonthpilot project was conducted with 250 adolescent girls in rural areas of the Pakistaniprovince of Punjab to examine the impact of literacy education via mobile phones onmarginalized women (Miyazawa, 2009). After the completion of a basic literacy course, theparticipants were each given a mobile phone to receive learning resources via daily textmessages from teachers enlisted by the NGO. The students were required to practicehandwriting and re-reading the messages in their workbooks, and to respond to their teachersand answer questions through text messages. The cost of the project was approximatelyUS$55.2 per student, which included the cost of a mobile headset ($33), a SIM card ($3), aShort Message Service (SMS, or text messaging) plan ($12), and hiring a teacher ($7.2 perstudent for 5 months). Participants’ literacy gains were evaluated each month. Before theintervention, only 28% of the students scored an ‘A’ grade in the examination following thebasic literacy course. After participating in the programme, more than 60% of the participantsreceived an ‘A’ grade, which represents a significant improvement from the initial stage.Another indicator of the project’s success was the participants’ willingness to continue theliteracy programme after the pilot project ended. Each participant voluntarily contributedabout US$6 to continue the literacy programme with mobile phones. In addition, the womenoften shared learning resources and information with their family members, which may implythat this type of programme, when successfully implemented, could encourageintergenerational learning, benefitting even non-participating members of the community. Theprogramme also faced some challenges, including difficulties gaining support from localcommunities and participants’ family members in the early stages of the project, and SMScharacter limitations, which prevented teachers and students from sending longer messages.Images: UNESCO Pakistan and BUNYAD Foundation
  • “The most solid point of reference that we have is that there were 102.777 million active SIM cards in Pakistan, as of June 2010. Using UN and Pak government population projections for that year gives a figure of between 55.6 and 59.2 SIM cards for every 100 members of the population – or a 55.6 to 59.2 percent penetration rate.”Images: UNESCO Pakistan and BUNYAD Foundation
  • A new project from the same partnership was launched in 2012 to improve the literacy of semi-literate women between the ages of 15 and 30 in rural Pakistan via mobile phones.  In the current phase (2012), a total number of 2500 learners are included in the programme.  The scope of learning has also been expanded through pilot testing of Nokia developed application called "eTaleem".  UNESCO Islamabad provided the contents for "eTaleem" to Nokia Pakistan.  The contents include Urdu (National Language) Book-1, 2, 3 and Maths-1. Images: Nokia
  • Good URL: from ML Paper (Asia – Teacher) The Boat School project is implemented by ShidhulaiSwanirvarSangstha, a national researchand development organization in Bangladesh that aims to provide education and otheressential services to marginalized waterside communities in Bangladesh through a fleet ofeighty-eight flat-bottomed boats built from locally available materials. During the monsoonseason in Bangladesh, many children cannot attend school due to flooding. The boats maketheir way through the hundreds of rivers and canals of northern Bangladesh to bring a rangeof educational services and renewable energy supplies to 87,000 families.On the boats, the project provides daily classes in primary education for children, libraries,training in sustainable agriculture for adults, health advice, mobile phone and internet access,and battery-charging facilities. All boats have solar photovoltaic-powered lights and mobilephone services provided by the Grameen, Robi and Citycell mobile phone networks. Themobile phone connection on the boats allows learners to make personal phone calls. Inaddition, they can use mobile phones to talk to health experts and get agricultural advice.Each Boat School consists of a classroom for 30 to 35 students, an internet-linked computer, amobile phone, 500 books, and electronic resources such as locally developed CDs containingliteracy and numeracy exercises, animated drawings, and videos. The teachers are usuallywomen selected from local villages, and the students are often working children from poor,landless families. The Boat School provides classes six days a week and gives educationalmaterials to students for free. The ability to access computers and technology, and well as thecontinuity of the learning experience, gives students hope for higher education and economicimprovement.According to the project’s M&E, beneficiaries view the Boat School as a relevant contributionto their education. This is significant in deeply conservative countries such as Bangladesh,where religious and cultural traditions restrict the mobility of women. Because the BoatSchools move from village to village and dock in front of people’s homes, they allow womenand girls to take advantage of education and internet facilities delivered right to theirdoorsteps. The proximity of the facilities allays the concerns of the children’s parents andguardians. Moreover, the Boat School saves travel time for working children and hasmotivated parents to help their children continue their education. ShidhulaiSwanirvarSangstha has also adapted courses to meet learners’ specific needs; for example, classes areoffered both during the day and at night to accommodate the schedules of working children.
  • A growing library of titles: 31 m-novels, 18 poems, 5 Shakespeare playsGenres include teen issues, romance, soccer, adventure, “classics”, poetrySome stories are serialised (a chapter a day) and every chapter of every story has a comment prompt or vote promptChapters around 400 words (some stories 200 words)Total length: 4000 to 10000 words Stories in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosaStories are free but costs for mobile data (about 7c per chapter)All stories are either openly licenced (CC) or in the public domainOn MXit all comments are moderated before going liveAvailable in South Africa and Kenya on Mxit
  • Reading becomes social.
  • Our research has revealed that a lot of learners are setting up their own educational communities.A number of social networks have been tailored for educational use, including most prominently Facebook and Twitter, but also other lesser known sites. A recent (2012) research paper examined how medical students in Nepal turned Facebook into a platform that was used to exchange factual and academic forms of knowledge. Students used Facebook pages to host explicit learning and teaching practices. Students posted and took quizzes, presented case studies, and shared multimedia learning resources via hyperlinks. (Pimmer, Linxen and Gröhbiel, 2012)Facebook as a learning tool? A case study on the appropriation of social network sites from mobile phones in developing countriesChristophPimmer, Sebastian Linxen and UrsGröhbielBritish Journal of Educational Technology Vol 43 No 5 2012 726–738doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01351.xA separate study from 2010 revealed that in the “field of medical education a study reveals that one quarter of the students used Facebook for educational reasons” (Gray, Annabell & Kennedy, 2010).
  •, 24 August 2012
  • The Power of Mobile to Educate, Support and Engage

    1. 1. The Power of Mobile toEducate, Support and EngageSteve VoslooUNESCO Programme Specialist: Mobile LearningPresented at m-Libraries 2012United Kingdom, 25 September 2012
    2. 2. RoadmapUNESCO’s work in mobile learningMobile revolutionEducateSupportEngageImplications for libraries
    3. 3. UNESCO’s work in mobile learning
    4. 4. UNESCO’s work in mobile learningMission: to leverage mobile tehnologies to support Education for AllBy: Conducting research and disseminating knowledgeProviding guidance to member statesAction projects for pilot testing and capacity buildingConvening communityPolicy for mobile Teacher development Literacy for women andlearning and mobile technologies girls through mobilesWorking Paper Series on Projects in Nigeria, Regional and globalMobile Learning Senegal, Pakistan and research MexicoPolicy Guidelines on WorkshopsMobile Learning Working Paper Series on Mobile LearningWorkshops WorkshopsMobile Learning Week
    5. 5. Turning on Mobile Learning in …• Africa and the Middle East• Asia• Europe• Latin America• North America• Global
    6. 6. Mobile Learning for Teachers in…• Africa and the Middle East• Asia• Europe• Latin America• North America• Global Themes
    7. 7. Mobile revolution
    8. 8. “The mobile phone has become a kind of super-extension of ourselves—faster, brainier, more reliable and always on.”Rick Stengel, TIME Magazine
    9. 9. “It is hard to think of any tool, any instrument, any object in history with which so many developed soclose a relationship so quickly as wehave with our phones. Not the knife or match, the pen or page.” Nancy Gibbs, TIME Magazine
    10. 10. “For all the apps and gee-whiz features of phones, their ultimatetransformative power is the ability of one person, no matter where he or she is, to communicate with another.In developing nations, the simple text message represents a quantum leap in connectivity.” Belinda Luscombe, TIME Magazine
    11. 11. EducateBBC JanalaWorldreaderKhan Academy
    12. 12. BBC Janala• Part of an overarching programme to improve the English language skills of Bangladeshis• Enables learners to easily and affordably access English lessons and other educational content via their mobile phones and a website• 15 million calls were made to mobile service in the first two years of operation• Over than 250,000 English audio lessons were downloaded from the mobile internet site in the same period
    13. 13. Worldreader: Books for all
    14. 14. Worldreader: Books for all
    15. 15. The traditional way
    16. 16. The new way
    17. 17. It’s still all about books
    18. 18. Almost 1000 books and counting
    19. 19. e-Reader in your pocket: Worldreader and biNu biNu Worldreader and related applicationsbiNu home screen Worldreader app home Worldreader book titles Worldreader book text What’s Hot on Worldreader
    20. 20. Will people read on a small screen? Yes!489 000 readers read over 24m pages in July ‘12 Page Views By Region Rest Of World 27% Nigeria Nigeria 42% India Ghana Zimbabwe 5% Ethiopia 5% Zimbabwe 10% India 11%
    21. 21. 47% - 240x320 14% - 128x160480x800 - Smartphone
    22. 22. The power of content Page Views per Monthly Active Users100.00 90.00 80.00 Wave of new content added 70.00 60.00 Africa 50.00 Asia Rest of World 40.00 South America 30.00 20.00 10.00 0.00 1-Sep-11 1-Oct-11 1-Nov-11 1-Dec-11 1-Jan-12 1-Feb-12 1-Mar-12 1-Apr-12 1-May-12 1-Jun-12 1-Jul-12
    23. 23. Search on the Worldreader biNu app Top 20 Search Terms Search String Search Count sex 3,172 love 1,505 bible 1,338 harry potter 1,199 quran 1,078 things fall apart 969 chemistry 915 biology 856 physics 850 dictionary 781 english 688 romeo and juliet 669 twilight 600 kamasutra 513 animal farm 458 ramayan 433 love story 433 hindi 426 oliver twist 401 bangla 381 Σ 17665
    24. 24. Survey of Worldreader users on biNu• Who are the users?• Where do they live?• What do they like/dislike?• How do they spend their time?• What books do they want? This information is based on 3 surveys of a combined no. of 17 865 Worldreader app users over 6 weeks
    25. 25. Why do people read on their mobile phones? . Primary and Secondary Reason for Reading on Mobile Phone700600500400 Primary300 Secondary200100 0 Its more convenient Access to books Because its free More fun than a book Light from the screen (for (otherwise unavailable) night reading)
    26. 26. Reader stated preferences matches reading data What kind of books do you like reading?80%70%60%50%40% Men Women30%20%10% 0% Romance Action Textbooks Spiritual Classics Self Help Local Fiction
    27. 27. One mobile = multiple readers Who reads on your mobile phone? Check all that apply. 100.0% 90.0% 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 93.1% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 28.9% 10.0% 9.6% 11.7% 6.1% 0.0% my children my parents my siblings my friends me
    28. 28. The mobile internet Primary Way for Accessing the Internet 2.1% 5.0% 0.8% My own Mobile My own Computer on a computer in an internet cafe Other 92.2%
    29. 29. Need for a wide variety of educational materials What learning materials/resources would you like to have on your phone? 9000 8000 7000 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 Language Training Textbooks Material (Atlas, Encyclopedia, etc) Material Reference Skills Development Online Courses Books and Stories
    30. 30. Khan Academy• Library of over 3,300 educational videos• Freely accessible from a variety of devices including mobile technologies• Incorporates practice questions• Provides learners feedback regarding their mastery of content• Overall: a custom self-paced learning tool
    31. 31. SupportLiteracy promotion through mobile phonesEMIS in ArgentinaBoat schools in Bangladesh
    32. 32. Literacy promotion through mobile phones
    33. 33. Literacy promotion through mobile phones
    34. 34. Why mobile phone for literacy ?Mobile penetration rate is same asliteracy rate in 2010Learners enthusiasm for novellearning approachAnywhere, anytime learning
    35. 35. Literacy promotion through mobile phones
    36. 36. EMIS in ArgentinaProblem: Poor and outdated information aboutschool and student performance. Inefficientcommunication between schools and centraladministrative bodiesSolution: Provided smartphones to 350 schoolsupervisors in Mendoza. Supervisors used thephone to enter relevant data about school sitesand student performance. Information wasinstantly uploaded to an online system that isused by central administrators to make moreinformed and more timely decisions
    37. 37. Boat schools in BangladeshProblem: During the monsoon season manychildren cannot attend school due to floodingSolution: Boat schools and libraries which relyon mobile technology and connectivity. A fleetof nearly 100 boats bring education and otherresources to the doorsteps of learners. Manyboats offer free classes, modest libraries, andaccess to technologies including mobile devicesequipped with educational content
    38. 38. EngageYoza Cellphone StoriesFacebook Mobile in NepalDr Math on MXit
    39. 39. Yoza Cellphone Stories“Its great ... for me it really hard to pick up abook to start readin but i don mind readin onmy phone”dotty1
    40. 40. Yoza Cellphone Stories• Yoza enables reading, writing and engagement via mobile phones• South African project launched August 2009, initially funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation• Through Yoza, short stories, poems and classic literature are published on mobile phones (MXit and on a mobisite -- a website for mobiles)• Highly interactive: users can comment, vote, enter writing competitions and review stories
    41. 41. South African households that own no leisure books (TNS Research Surveys, 2006)
    42. 42. Public schools in South Africa that have functional libraries of any kind (Equal Education, 2009)
    43. 43. Growing library of stories
    44. 44. Yoza Cellphone Stories“If friars plan wrks, then romeo wil b able2 cum nd take juliet wit hm 2 liv hapily2geda at mantua bt if it fails, sumbdysgna b dead. Lol!”Elsie
    45. 45. Yoza stats (19 months)• Complete reads: >475,000• No. of comments: >47,000• No. of unique visitors: >180,000• No. of MXit subscribers to Yoza: >69,000• No. of votes: >44,000(Period: August 2010 to May 2012)
    46. 46. More comments than War and Peace
    47. 47. “I realy lv de story, it ws touchy evn painfulagain i hv learnd a lot 4rm it. Am gona passit 2 my frnd nd family 2 read 4 dem self”(Anon)
    48. 48. “A gud st0ri alth0ugh vewi sh0rt id lyk 2 cm0re 0n mxit bk0z it enc0uragez readin!”Lesleigh(F)
    49. 49. Mobile phone is the e-reader ofAfricaParticipatory culture happensthrough mobile phones:consumption, creation, engagementtxtspk iz hr 2 stay
    50. 50. “I dn’t usully go 2 da library but now I hve alibrary in my pockt”
    51. 51. “The stories r interesting nd fun 2 read, theykip ma englsh gng”Hlengiwe gulube
    52. 52. Facebook Mobile in Nepal• In Nepal, medical students and faculty used mobile phones to build, access, and contribute to Facebook pages dedicated to medical and clinical topics• Learners create ad-hoc professional networks by appropriating social network platforms to facilitate learning• Share advice and experiences• Pose questions to a trusted community
    53. 53. Dr Math on MXit• Started in January, 2007 by Meraka Institute• Enables tutors to help with mathematics homework over mobile phones• Over 30,000 users• Tutors help approximately 50 pupils per hour• Service runs from 14:00 – 22:00, Sunday - Thursday• Tutoring mostly done in English, but some Afrikaans cases are occurring• Learners contact Dr Math from their homes, while on buses, taxis and on the sports field. Even from the bath!
    54. 54. dr.math: What grade are you in? what are you covering in math?Spark plug: 7dr.math: grade 7?Spark plug: yesdr.math: Are you doing "pre algebra" stuff like What is the value of X if x + 3 = 10?Spark plug: yesdr.math: Ok, so what is the value of x if x + 3 = 10?Spark plug: 7dr.math: Ok. how about (15 x 2 ) + x = 35Spark plug: 5dr.math: (I am going to use * for multiply so not to confuse it with x, ok?)Spark plug: okdr.math: (2 * x) + 8 = 18Spark plug: 5dr.math: Very good. can you explain to me how you figured that out?Spark plug: 18 - 8 is 10 so 2* what is 10 and the answer is 5dr.math: Excellent.
    55. 55. Implications for libraries
    56. 56. Think mobileComplementarity (both and NOT either or)Think mobile, meet people where they are, leverage the tech in theirhandsEducate• Additional access channels to contentSupport• System strengthening, collecting data, connecting people, virtual support, quizzesEngage• Online communities, reader wants, social reading
    57. 57. UNESCO Mobile Learning Week 2013UNESCO HeadquartersParis, France18-22 February
    58. 58. Thank Thanks toWorldreader, biNu, UNESCO Pakistan, BunyadFoundation, Mark West for help in preparing slides
    59. 59. More