I must admit that before this week’s readings describing Paul Kim’s work and projects, every time I heard "mobile learning" I immediately thought about students from medium to high socio-economic status who were able to afford an iPhone or a tablet device and who could also afford being wirelessly connected to the Internet 24/7.
While it is true that using smart phones, tablets and other expensive portable devices is part of mobile learning, thanks to this week’s readings I’m aware now of how mobile devices can also promote literacy in rural impoverished communities in developing countries. First of all, the cost of mobile devices is decreasing significantly. The cheapest laptop I knew of was the $100 laptop project, but India has unveiled now a computer for just $35 dollars (Shah Singh, 2010).
Of course, there is no use of a computer in a rural area without electricity. So I found quite interesting Dr. Kim’s initiative about his PocketSchool project (Kim, 2010) in which his team has designed an sturdy and durable mobile device that could be charge either though solar panels or by connecting it to a bicycle and then riding the bicycle for a while. He has conducted multiple studies in different countries such as Mexico, Peru, Honduras, Malaysia and India. I found especially interesting the studies conducted in Latin America aimed at teaching reading and writing to indigenous children in rural areas which did not have any school or teachers.
Harmeet Shah Singh (2010, July 23). India unveils $35 computer for students. CNN World. http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/07/23/india.thirty.five.dollar.laptop/index.html?npt=NP1&hpt=Sbin
Kim, P. (2010) Seeds of Empowerment http://seedsofempowerment.org/index.html