Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mobile, Wireless, and Ubiquitous Learning

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.
Kim, P. (2010) Seeds of Empowerment


  1. I also admire Dr.Kim's work. He is so sincere to help those children.

    Mobile device market is the fastest growing market in all over the world. Most of the people have more than one device and use them for several purposes. Ten years ago, cell phones were just for talking and texting. Today, people use internet, play games, listen audio (music, podcasts and etc) and use several applications beneficial for their daily life. Because of their portability and comparatively cheap price, people are kind of addicted to their cellphones. Even though the educational outcomes are formally not evaluated yet, they definitely have a big potential.

  2. Hi,Miguel, I also have the same feeling. Before this class I always think that mobile learning belongs to those students who can afford a smart-phone, but Dr. Kim really showed us a picture of "WE ALL LEARN", and the little bycicle they used to charge the mobile device is really amazing!