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Phone-based education

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Sustainable Development Goals SDG04 Quality education
Authors Emilio Velis
Published 2021
License CC BY-SA 4.0
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Phones are an effective alternative for distance learning in developing countries due to the increasing access to feature phones and smartphones among youth in developing countries.[1]

This page lists some common technologies used for delivering phone-based education.

Feature phones (low-cost, low-tech) are more common than smartphones in many countries in the world[2]

Common technologies[edit | edit source]

Text/SMS[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia_Mobile_on_a_feature_phone

This is by far the most important technology due to the possibility of access to this low-cost technology for the population and the very developed mobile infrastructure around the world, as well as application operators for other uses such as financial applications and even humanitarian work.

Many common educational applications of mobile phones through SMS make use of bits of information delivered by using the 140-character limit of phones, to which either teachers[3] or students can either read or respond in the form of quizzes[4]. Some of the pros and cons of this technology are:

  • Messages are limited by a short character count.
  • Students can see their phones and learn at their own pace.
  • Not all students have phones readily available and some share devices with their siblings.
  • Parents or guardians sometimes do not allow for children to use phones unsupervised.
  • Responses depend on whether students have credits, or whether there is a zero-rate program in place for them.

Phone-based live connection to teachers[edit | edit source]

Some phone-based remote learning programs have made use of live call centers that offer tutor support. Students interact by either receiving calls or by calling radio hosts to discuss problems or to receive support in solving problems. One example is the Gyan Vani radio program[5] which offered a toll-free number to students during the COVID-19 pandemic and offered tutoring.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Sahu, M., Grover, A., & Joshi, A. (2014). Role of mobile phone technology in health education in Asian and African countries: A systematic review. International Journal of Electronic Healthcare, 7(4), 269–286. https://doi.org/10.1504/IJEH.2014.064327
  2. Silver, L., & Johnson, C. (2018, October 9). Basic mobile phones more common than smartphones in sub-Saharan Africa. Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2018/10/09/majorities-in-sub-saharan-africa-own-mobile-phones-but-smartphone-adoption-is-modest/
  3. Kaleebu, N., Gee, A., Maybanks, N., Jones, R., Jauk, M., & Watson, A. H. (2013). SMS story: Early results of an innovative education trial. Contemporary PNG Studies, 19. https://www.dwu.ac.pg/en/images/All_Attachements/Research%20Journals/vol_19/2013-V19-5_Kaleebu_Gee_Maybanks_Jones_Jauk_Watson_SMS_Story.pdf
  4. Abu Ziden, A., & Faizal Abdul Rahman, M. (2013). Using SMS quiz in teaching and learning. Campus-Wide Information Systems, 30(1), 63–72. https://doi.org/10.1108/10650741311288823
  5. NTDV.com. (2020, April 2). COVID-19 Pandemic: IGNOU Reaches Out To Students Through Gyan Vani FM Radio Broadcast. NDTV Education. https://www.ndtv.com/education/covid-19-pandemic-ignou-reaches-out-to-students-through-gyan-vani-fm-radio-broadcast-2205221