mLearning4Africa & Middle East – Eastern communities in urban and remote areas
mLearning4Africa is an innovative open platform that is modular, holistic, and easy to use. It combines GPS, mobile, and satellite communication technologies in a virtual webspace (phase 1) and a mobile handset (phase 2). The platform’s virtual webspace acts as a medium between educators and mobile users, facilitating content authoring, management, and publishing through Web 2.0 technologies. In addition to this web-based platform, we have also designed a mobile application that can be deployed on mobile platforms such as iPhone and Android. Content will be compatible with these two platforms, along with others such as RIM and Symbian OS.
The proposed project provides a low-cost mobile platform that will enable reporting for nomadic population units, or “cells” – tribes or extended families, for example.
mLearning4Africa and Middle East aims to contribute to scientific and technical expertise by learning about how groups of people in remote areas use mobile devices in their everyday knowledge acquisition and problem solving. It also aims to discover user innovations and concepts relating to mobile devices through a participatory design process. Based on the scenarios developed, the technology development team behind this project has built a prototype version of mLearning4Africa & Middle East that employs three main technology platforms to achieve its goal: 1) An SMS communication interface/gateway to send and receive text messages. 2) The Asterisk Open Source PBX for audio telephony communications. 3) A media wiki server offering relevant content These technologies are used to address environmental and infrastructural challenges in providing and supporting education where conventional e-learning technologies would fail; this should lead many to reconsider the accepted developmental or evolutionary paradigms.
The primary ability of the proposed product is to identify, locate, and coordinate mobile population groups such as nomadic tribes, herders, and displaced social groups in order to enable the implementation of educational programs, including e-learning and m-learning. The concept could reach a large number of urban, rural, and remote users between the ages of 10 and 55 (and older).CUSTOMER BENEFIT
The main impact of the project will stem from the creation of a technology that supports existing social infrastructures and increases the potential of current practices with mobile phones by introducing opportunities for knowledge sharing, community building, and joint learning in the authentic context of studying. The application explores and comprehends the cultural, social, and organisational contexts of people in remote areas using models and scenarios of how mobile technologies could be used for teaching, learning, healthcare and user empowerment.