Leveraging mobile phones to make ‘Vision 2021’ a reality

Walsh, Christopher and Monodol, Sikander (2011). Leveraging mobile phones to make ‘Vision 2021’ a reality. In: eAsia 2011, 01-03 Dec 2011, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

URL: http://papers.eletsonline.com/2011/11/21/leveragin...

Abstract

Large-scale models of teacher training which use mobile phones alongside face-to-face professional development in developing countries like Bangladesh is a largely unexplored field. This paper reports on English in Action's (EIA) field test of mobile phones, audio and visual resources and portable rechargeable speakers to realise the government's goal of creating a "Digital Bangladesh". Drawing on our own present and future scenarios of the democratic government's "Vision 2021", which targets the establishment of a resourceful and modern country through the effective use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), we present three technology kits we field tested in two rural upazilas or sub-districts. Drawing on qualitative and quantitative data, we describe the uptake and results of how these kits help both teachers and students learn communicative English. We illustrate classroom contexts in remote areas and present reflections from the field that demonstrate the potential of using mobile phones. We assessed the extent to which mobile phone-based teacher professional development, or the "trainer in your pocket", encourages teachers' continuous self and supported learning through SMS messaging and professional development videos. We then explain how we are scaling up with low-cost/mid-range Nokia mobile phones to provide similar technology kits to 12,500 teachers in rural and urban contexts over the next 3 years. We argue incorporating mobile phones alongside context-specific teacher professional development presents new opportunities for teachers and pupils to acquire English to levels that enable them to participate more fully in economic and social opportunities.

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