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Mobile Learning for Expanding Educational Opportunities Workshop

Post-event Statement

This workshop was held in Tokyo from 16-20 May 2005. It was organized in collaboration with UNESCO in Bangkok. Several non-government organizations (Academic ADL Co-Lab, APSCC, CPSC, PREL, and the Simputer Trust) and the private sector (Heuristix Lab, HP, IBM, and Microsoft) supported it in addition to ADB and the World Bank. Forty-five participants from 18 countries attended. Through this workshop we were able to document our resource speakers' presentations that will be published on this web site.

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Investment in education and development of appropriate skills for the workforce are prerequisites for continuing economic growth, particularly in an era of rapid and revolutionary advances in information and communications technology (ICT). However, equity of access is a continuing problem in the education sector in the Asian and Pacific region. Even though universal primary education has nearly been achieved in many countries in the region, it still accounts for almost three fourths of the world’s illiterate population. The number of illiterates in the region is about 651 million. The regional adult literacy rate has risen to 73%, but female literacy rates overall are still only half the rate for males. Children of poor families are most likely to drop out before completing primary schooling.

Wireless local areas networks (LANs) and mobile learning (m-learning) are still in their infancy. The principal advantage of using a wireless device for e-learning is convenience and cost effectiveness. M-learning offers enterprises the ability to keep their employees engaged in ongoing learning activities that will enhance their productivity and effectiveness while they work. M-learning can deliver "just in time learning" to enable workers to solve immediate problems and remember the solutions. Because of its portability and low cost, this concept can also be applied to basic education in rural and remote areas. This will greatly expand the educational opportunities and contribute to reducing digital gap in developing countries. The workshop will review recent developments in m-learning and examine the feasibility of applying the concept in the education sector in general and basic education in particular.

The workshop will discuss the following topics:

  • Status of ICT and education in Asia and the Pacific
  • Developmental trends of mobile and wireless learning programs
  • Benefits of using satellites for education purpose, with a focus on satellite delivery of m-learning content to servers with hot spots (wireless LAN access points)
  • Technological aspects of mobile and wireless learning
  • Content development for m-learning
  • Teacher training for m-learning
  • Operation and management of m-learning
  • Monitoring and evaluation of m-learning
  • Conducive environments for m-learning

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  • To review recent trends of mobile and wireless learning programs in terms of infrastructure, end-user devices, content development, etc.
  • To examine issues in introducing mobile learning programs in rural and remote areas to expand opportunities for basic education
  • To identify policies and strategies that can effectively promote mobile learning for disadvantaged groups and employed workers
  • To draft action plans to introduce mobile and wireless learning programs in the participating countries

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  • About 30 trained participants in managing m-learning programs
  • About 30 realistic action plans to introduce m-learning
  • Workshop Proceedings and its CD-ROM version
  • At least 5 lecture CD-ROMs

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Decision makers in government ministries of education, human resource development, labor, economy, or planning of the member and associate member countries of UNESCO and ADB. About 25 participants will attend this workshop from 22 countries. In addition, about 5 observers from civil society and international agencies are expected to attend the workshop.

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English (No interpretation will be provided.)

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Each participant is required to prepare a country report describing the needs of m-learning in their country and an action plan to implement m-learning programs to expand educational opportunities.

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Cosponsors were ADB, Academic ADL Co-Lab, Asia-Pacific Satellite Communications Council, CPSC, Hewlett Packard, Heuristix Lab, IBM, Microsoft, PREL, Simputer Trust and UNESCO.Toshiba, and UNESCO.

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© 2015 Asian Development Bank Institute.