Low cost mobile phones for large scale teacher professional development in Bangladesh

Walsh, Christopher S.; Shaheen, Robina and (2012). Low cost mobile phones for large scale teacher professional development in Bangladesh. In: 11th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning (mLearn 2012), 15-18 Oct 2012, Helsinki, Finland.

URL: http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-955/papers/paper_53.pdf

Abstract

Education has the power to transform societies and contribute to social and economic development. In this paper we present the mobile technologies used for teacher professional development (TPD) and communicative language teaching in English in Action (EIA). The project aims to assist 25 million people access greater social and economic opportunities through English language teaching and TPD. EIA, in partnership with the Government of Bangladesh, will work with 80,000 teachers through a work-based programme of TPD using audio and visual resources on low cost mobile phones. With access to over 700 audio files aligned with the national textbook English for Today and professional development films that explain and then illustrate successful student-centred English teaching and learning, the project has already documented significant improvement in teachers’ and pupils’ English language competency. This paper provides an account of, and rationale for, the changes in the technologies used across two phases of the project, from the iPod Nano and Touch used in the pilot study with 690 teachers (2009-2010) to the low cost Nokia C1-01 mobile phone with a micro secure digital (SD) being used in upscaling to 12,500 teachers (2012-2014). We argue the low cost alphanumeric mobile phone with micro SD cards provides unprecedented opportunities to both deliver TPD and improve teachers’ and students’ communicative English language skills. The paper considers the unique suitability mobile phones present for resource constrained education systems in developing countries. Simultaneously we highlight the need for further application and research into the use of mobile technologies, not only for large-scale TPD projects, but for a diversity of international development projects and programmes which aim to achieve sustainable change at scale.

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