Alex Twinomugisha

Alex Twinomugisha

4p

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621 weeks ago @ Educational Technology... - Mobile Phones Need to ... · 0 replies · +1 points

Bob, I have also been very conscious of the way i use my phone after this debate started :-) Let just say that as a result, I have more appreciation for google and wikipedia (ok and and CNN mobile). Last week, the Kenyan government in its annual budget reading has removed taxes on cell phones with a view to increasing access. The next day, the newspapers were awash with adverts highlighting reduced phone prices. I looked at the various phones on offer and saw several "wap enabled camera phones" for $30 and even better ones for $40. Thats a dramatic drop in price for a wap enabled phone. And these were "branded" phones from Nokia and Samsung. Now I bet those cheap phones with wap could do many if not all of the things the iphone did for Bob's trip at a fraction of the cost. In short, cheap smart phones may already be here or they are certainly coming to a store near you- at least in the developing world.

622 weeks ago @ Educational Technology... - Phones Are a Real Alte... · 0 replies · +1 points

I am inclined to agree with Scott Motlik who argues in his paper “Mobile learning in Developing Nations” (see http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/vi... that it would be a “serious disservice to learners and instructors” in Asia and Africa if they were to choose web (and by extension computer) based technologies over mobile phone technology. Already, mobile phones are widely available, widely used and widely understood and network coverage is growing rapidly to reach even the most remote regions of the developing world. Perhaps what developing countries need is to concentrate on developing more and better applications for the mobile phones rather than focus on the web. This approach is already paying incredible dividends in other fields such as finance (mobile money transfer and banking) so why not education? But I agree wholeheartedly with Robert on one issue- the potential or power of mobile phones or indeed computers to impact or transform education depends less on the technology and more on overall educational reform including reform of curriculum, assessment, pedagogy, teacher development and support and overall management of the system.

622 weeks ago @ Educational Technology... - Phones Are a Real Alte... · 0 replies · +1 points

There is no black and white in this debate; however, I will attempt to present counter arguments to Robert’s main premise for the sake of enlivening the debate. Moreover I believe that, as one commentator neatly put it, this debate will soon become "stale" because of technological convergence.
“Computers are more capable than mobile phones” because many of today’s applications have been deliberately designed to take advantage of the ever growing power of computers. One can argue that there is a clear design bias here. But what if applications were designed for the average mobile phone today? The education applications and capabilities that Robert says are more suited to computers can actually be effectively handled in many cases by existing middle-of-the-range (which I will simply define as those costing around US$ 30-70 for arguments sake) mobiles and even the low end ones. Mobiles in many parts of the developing world can now access the internet, can be used for collaboration through SMS, email and via social-networking sites, can create or display basic image or video productions useful for visualizing abstract concepts and interestingly, more often than not, also have a radio in-built. Granted $70 is still quite high for many of the poor in the developing world but prices are dropping steeply and rapidly and more features are becoming available in low-end mobiles (one can blame the no-brand Taiwanese and Chinese phones flooding the markets). The problem, in my view, is that the (web-based) applications that mobile phones are supposed to access were designed for computers. This is changing quickly with many of the new web applications having mobile versions. In Nairobi ( I know this is a far cry from rural Africa or Asia but nevertheless offers interesting insights), scores of secondary and university students can be found rapidly clicking away on their mobile phones: chatting using Google Talk, exchanging emails via Gmail and constantly interacting on Facebook (which I am told is the latest mobile addiction in this city!). All these applications can be harnessed for education. And interestingly one of the local operators here, Safaricom, has launched a new mobile education application where students can take primary and secondary levels quizzes in maths, science and English etc and also “review” past national exams on any WAP enabled phone. I have tried out this application and it is not very different from popular web-based quizzes except that it is more widely accessible in a country like Kenya with many more mobile phones than computers. I have personally found myself using google on my phone to look up information or to settle an argument on the go. I would call this real anywhere-anytime learning.