Mobile Phones and Education

Most of us are appalled to see children even as young as 4 and 5 years of age using cell phones. If you are a little technologically challenged, don’t be surprised if the little one teaches you how to maneuver through the menus and lists to get where you want.

This is all fine, but aren’t many of us concerned on watching our young ones constantly glued to their phones? The lack of physical activity, addiction, health hazards, all cloud our mind and we worry where this current generation is headed.

But what if cell phones proved not to be that harmful? What if they helped develop a child’s well-being and personality instead of hampering it?

What if cell phones were used to revolutionise education?

A new term M-Education has been coined and it is currently poised to lead a major transformation in the education landscape. Ebooks, and mobile applications such as Dictionaries, Nursery Rhymes, Logarithmic tables, Maps, and even Entrance Exam preparation apps aid learning throughout the academic lifecycle. So, our children will be able to access these applications which are available for free or at a very small premium over the internet.

And I think it is not just the externally downloaded applications that aid learning.  A phone’s camera can be used by students to annotate their everyday assignments with pictures. The calendar and reminder features can help scheduling study time and mark important submission dates. Newsreaders, email, and internet access via gprs can keep the child up to date over current affairs and news.

If you feel that mobile-phone aided learning is and is going to remain a purely Urban phenomenon, you may want to think again.

In Rural India, local teachers introduced a simple mobile-based game to help primary school pupils from rural, low income households develop English-language comprehension, sentence construction and spelling. As a result, students’ test scores improved by almost 60 per cent. Teachers can teach in a more personalised way, increasing student engagement and attendance.

Through M-learning and e-learning, we can easily overcome geographic barriers as it provides learning at anytime from anywhere. Another advantage is that it will remove the need to physically attend a course, eliminating travel time and costs. It has been my observation that children from remote areas, especially females do not attend school because they must travel to far off places. Learning aided by mobile phones is poised to change all this. Free education that is easy to understand and assimilate will soon be available to all.

With advancements in technology, people want information instantly. People want to keep themselves updated via gadgets. They prefer reading newspapers on their gadgets. Education is also heading in the same direction.

In the next few years, I envision the telecom sector expanding at a neck breaking pace. There are fifteen verticals such as value added services, network security, service providers, handset manufacturers, telecom infrastructure, etc. which are in need of unique technology and skill management sets. The telecom sector will certainly grow at a rate of over 20% in the near future and according to the projection, jobs in this sector will grow at 7% every year.

Also, I strongly believe that with the increase in rural telecom density, M-Education will be the most feasible way to achieve government’s initiative of education for all, and bring about economic progress of the country.


For a free downloadable presentation on this topic and other related topics, follow TheRadiationDoctor on slideshare.

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