Mobile Learning Professional Development at New School Starts

Swedish mobile educator, Ms Louise Österberg and Cape Town-based edupreneur, Mrs Angela Stewart, conducted the introduction to Mobile Learning at Hodisa Technical Secondary School, just outside of Bloemfontein, SOUTH AFRICA.

Teachers saw a full demonstration of the value of mobile devices for learning by engaging in a project themselves to experience first-hand the power of mobiles for learning.Funded by a collaborative between Learning Academy Worldwide and Royal Haskoning DHV, the 1-day event was preceded by onsite visits at the school.

“These teachers show true enthusiasm”, explained Mrs Stewart. “It is encouraging to see how the principal of the school makes teacher professional development a priority”, she added.

The introductory sessions will be followed up by formal in-class sessions where the Learning Academy Worldwide team will show the use of devices in the classroom environment. It is scheduled for May 2014

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Mobile Devices as Tools for Pre-reading

Learning Academy Worldwide's M-Ubuntu project strongly believes that preparing young readers for the texts or stories that they will read improves their reading skills.

That is why M-Ubuntu’s Mobile Pre-Reading Strategy (MoPreRead) helps teachers to excite their young readers about the paragraph, short story or book that they will be reading.

Re-cycled phones, refurbished MacBooks and wireless routers form the technical infrastructure of this initiative and the M-Ubuntu MobiTechs supports teachers, in-class or prior to class, during deployment.

The school’s existing curriculum content determines the design of the pre-reading strategy which is easily constructed by the Teacher or MobiTechs by using the MoPreRead Template. Images, Video clips, Sounds or Texts (related to the curriculum content) are used from an existing database and a set of questions are designed to give structure to the mini-lesson.

These pre-reading strategies, also called mini-lessons, can be created by teachers on any mobile device that is connected to the local server (refurbished MacBook) and is then seamlessly pushed to the student devices right at the time that the teacher needs it.

Mini-lesson creators even source content from the immediate surroundings, either in class or outside on the school grounds.

Students are also engaged to use their mobile device to capture their observations and share those with the class, either in support of the pre-reading strategy, or as an outcome of the pre-reading strategy.


Off-the-grid solution showcased at UNESCO conference

Mr James Williams demonstrated the Learning Academy Worldwide tech-solution for pre-reading strategies at the Unesco Mobile Learning Week in Paris last month.

Part of the M-Ubuntu project in South Africa, the teacher-lead, off-the-grid solution will stream curriculum-related media-rich content to mobile devices.

Using recycled phones donated by Sprint, USA, refurbished routers and MacBooks, Mr Williams created a local internet that works within the parameters of the school where, especially rural schools with unreliable internet connection, can access curriculum-related content in a browser-based interface.

Several schools in South Africa will switched on their own internet at the beginning of the 2nd quarter of the country’s academic year.

A professional development program for young Mobitechs and Teachers will also be launched as part of the roll out starting in April, 2014