WALTHAM, MA | August 20, 2012
The increasing use of mobile devices, such as cell phones, e‐readers, and tablet computers, in the developing world has led to expanded opportunities for delivering education and job skills. Drawing on their expertise in mobile learning (m-learning), EDC staff members will present several innovative ideas at the second annual mEducation Alliance International Symposium. The conference, which will focus on using mobile technologies to improve literacy and job skills and create partnerships, will be held September 5–7 in Washington, D.C.
During one presentation, Scott Isbrandt will discuss the use of mobile phones to improve livelihoods in countries where resources are scarce. He will also demonstrate EDC’s new Stepping Stone mobile content development platform, which was created for use with out-of-school youth in Mali. Once field testing is completed, Stepping Stone will be released as an open source solution for ministries of education, educators, and curriculum developers worldwide to create and distribute educational content on low-cost phones. EDC plans to distribute the phones along with modules on basic education, work readiness, functional French, and math to an estimated 12,000 youth by 2014.
“So many of the youth we work with have never had access to formal education,” said Isbrandt. “Stepping Stone will help students reinforce what they’re learning in and out of the classroom, with an emphasis on building reading and entrepreneurship skills. We see it as a key to learning and finding meaningful work.”
During a second presentation, Simon Richmond will discuss the latest use of interactive radio instruction (IRI), an education delivery system EDC has used in more than 30 countries that has consistently shown learning gains over conventional instruction, despite its audio-only format. Richmond will discuss how the IRI medium can be upgraded through the use of Pico Projectors, which add a visual channel that can be synched with the audio instruction.
Lastly, Yvette Tan will present a session on the use of eEGRA, EDC’s electronic reading assessment tool, which was first unveiled at last year’s conference. Tan will detail how EDC is using eEGRA, partnering with Microsoft, the British Council, JBS International, and others to drive innovations to transform literacy services in the developing world.
The conference is sponsored by USAID’s Mobiles for Education (mEducation) Alliance, an international collaborative effort between bilateral and multilateral donors, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, private sector partners, academic researchers, and implementing organizations. Participation in the conference is by invitation only. For more information, visit the mEducation Alliance website.
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), is a global nonprofit organization that addresses some of the world’s most urgent challenges in education, health, and economic development. EDC manages more than 250 projects in 23 countries. Visit edc.org.