Mobile technologies: current practice, future possibilities

Power, Tom and Sankale, James (2009). Mobile technologies: current practice, future possibilities. In: Vrasidas, Charalambos; Zembylas, Michalinos and Glass, Gene V. eds. ICT for education, development and social justice. Current Perspectives on Applied Information Technologies. Charlotte, NC. USA: Information Age Publishing, pp. 123–146.



This chapter seeks to investigate the potential relationship between mobile technologies and professional learning for teachers through:
- an analysis of recent global trends in increased access and use of mobile communications networks, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the implications of such trends for teacher professional development.
- case studies showing early examples of harnessing the potential of mobile devices for educational and developmental purposes, including the SEMA project in Kenya (Sankale 2007), and the DEEPER project in South Africa (Power & Thomas 2007).

From these sources, this article seeks to identify current practices and future possibilities for capitalising upon the mobile revolution as a tool for education and development, with a particular focus on the professional knowledge and practices of teachers serving disadvantaged rural communities

The case studies here represent two early examples of exploring the possibilities. In order to move forward, it is necessary to establish:
1. The ways in which mobile devices can support good classroom practices
2. The ways in which mobile devices can support best practices in teacher professional development programmes
3. The nature of infostructure (software and resources) development required to support 1) and 2).

There is an ongoing whirlwind of change in access to mobile networks, ownership of mobile devices and the the capabilities of mobile devices. There remains much more that is yet unknown about whether and how such changes might be exploited to help equip teachers with the professional knowledge, tools and resources that are desperately needed in the global south. But it seems clear that the educational technology world can no longer afford to ignore the mobile revolution.

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