UNESCO Mobile Learning Week 2016


Hundreds of leaders and educators convened in Paris to discuss how mobile devices and apps can play a role in the educational growth of children in developing countries. Here's a brief run-down.




Hi, everyone. Jason Bavington here and we’re standing outside of the UNESCO building in Paris, France, which is just crazy. If you just look over to the right of myself, you can see the Eiffel Tower in the back. It’s a short little jaunt away to check out the Eiffel Tower.

Now, UNESCO. UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. Their mandate is to promote peace around the world, to eradicate poverty around the world, and to promote dialogue with various cultures in various parts of the world. To this end, this week they’re holding Mobile Learning Week.

Now, Mobile Learning Week is a symposium that brings together people from all around the world. Hundreds and hundreds of people. I couldn’t actually believe how many people are attending this thing. I’ve had the privilege of hearing seminars and presentations from people from Korea, from India, from Brazil, from Israel, from Turkey, and Europe and North America.

And everyone’s working toward the same three goals. The goals for this particular session or symposium are how do we get mobile devices in the hands of people that simply don’t have access to this kind of technology? Maybe where they are is too remote, maybe money is an issue, maybe they just simply don’t have access to school, which is quite common in the case of women and particularly girls all around the world. They just simply can’t go to school. So, how do you overcome these issues? And get their hands on these mobile devices and interact with them?

Once people are using these devices, what can they do with them? What can these kids do? What kinds of apps are on these devices? What do these apps do? What do they accomplish? How do they help the kids learn? Are they designed for the kids or are they designed for the teachers to aid them, as a teacher’s aid?

Another question is, how do they recharge the devices when there’s no electrical infrastructure in place? So, some very, very interesting conversations where, particularly myself, we take these things for granted. I’m able to film this thing simply because I can pop into a store and pick [an iPhone] up. That’s quite the privilege. So, lots of very, very interesting questions.

Once these kids have these devices, and they’re using them, then we need to evaluate their success. So, what are their success methodologies and metrics that can be used to determine: are these devices helpful, are these devices genuinely educating people and helping them learn better and learn more effectively?

Mobile devices are tools, just like many other tools we have for educating the kids. But the tools should be a means to educate them and a means to an end, not an end in itself. So, fascinating questions. Interesting people here.

It’s very, very enjoyable and a privilege to learn and to know that we can potentially be part of this evolution of education in our society. You know, 5 or 10 years from now we’ll look back at this and say, hey we got a lot of stuff right. Yeah, and we got some stuff wrong. Being part of that evolution is fantastic.

So, again, Jason Bavington from Midnight Illusions in Paris, France. I’m going to go check out that big bad boy in the background there a little bit later today. But, for now, it’s back to Mobile Learning Week. I’m looking forward to hearing your comments about what you think about mobile devices and how they can be used or not used to educate in our future. And we’ll talk with you soon. Take care. Au revoir.



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