ML4D: Mobile Learning for Development

2010-03-01 00:00
2010-03-03 17:00

A participatory design workshop for educators.
Venue: Center for Information Tech & Systems, University of Lagos
Contact: ML4D@datasphir.com

Registration Form: Click here

Synopsis

New technologies offer endless opportunities for empowering individuals and communities through access to knowledge, means of expression, and coordinated action. Mobile and social technologies are penetrating every aspect of our life; personal, social and professional. Every day we witness new initiatives to leverage the potential of such technologies in education, government and civic society. Yet many of these initiatives fail, and those which succeed are often hard to replicate.

This workshop is designed to enable educators to design and develop solutions to the challenges they confront daily, by making innovative use of existing, off-the-shelf, free resources. The first day will focus on outlining the state of the art in mobile and social technology for learning and development. The second day will lead participants through a hands-on design experience.

Target Audience

This workshop is aimed at development practitioners across the academic, commercial and NGO sectors. The typical participants will be involved in the practical work of designing and developing a mobile application to support learning and/or training. The workshop has been designed for 20-25 participants at beginner and intermediate levels.

Aim

The aim of the workshop is to provide participants with the capacity to design their own mobile learning activities. This will build on techniques developed over the past three years and on the course module 'Designing mobile learning activities', run at the London Knowledge Lab.

Benefits

The following questions will be addressed:

  • How can we support mobile design capacity in developing regions sustainably?
  • How can individual projects work in partnership with local educational and research organisations to develop capacity in mobile design?
  • How can roles be configured and negotiated to maximize both the chances of developing successful products and enhancing local capability?

Participants will also:

  • Understand how to use the latest mobile applications in their development practice
  • Develop skills in the design of mobile learning activities directly related to their everyday practice
  • Become part of the mobile learning for development network, being established as a result of the workshop series

During the workshop

Day 1: Surveying the Landscape

The workshop facilitators will present participants with several case stories of effective use of mobile technologies. Participants will be given an opportunity to test some of the tools used in these case stories. Working in groups, participants will discuss these cases and relate them to their personal experiences.

Examples of case stories (these are not necessarily the cases which will be discussed):

  • Ushahidi in Haiti
  • Twitter in Zanzibar
  • CoMo
  • SMS: Medic

Day 2: Participatory Design and Prototyping

The morning will allow participants to introduce themselves, their experience, and the current challenges which brought them to the workshop. Working in groups of four they will use collaborative concept mapping and force mapping techniques to articulate these challenges in the context of mobile technology. These will be presented back to the whole group and iterated upon, reflecting on the diversity but also the commonalities raised within the group. In this way, we will explore the specific issues; collate concrete examples of similar experiences between the participants; and explore possible responses. Having done this each group will be well positioned to identify the defining characteristics of their context, which will afford discussion of design solutions.

The afternoon of the workshop will focus on authoring responses to the identified issues. The aim will be to produce a set of mobile resources of use to practitioners and educators. Workshop participants will design a resource to address one of the following challenges:

(i) how to support the integration of mobiles into practice;
(ii) how analysis of mobile data can provide new insights into learning processes; or
(iii) the role played by mobiles in personal support and guidance for learners.

Their design will again be shared with the whole group.

After the workshop

Post-workshop meetings will be used for reflections and discussing possible projects and support requirements. The on-line space will be used to share the resources, i.e. sharable design knowledge (Winters and Mor, 2008) that have been produced with interested researchers who are not able to attend the workshop. We are investigating the possibility of editing a special issue of an appropriate journal, based around the workshop topics.

Materials

Participants will need individual access to computers and there will be desktops available but personal laptops with wireless are welcome.

Large A3 sheets of paper and markers and 5 smart phones are provided for the group work. Participants may also want to bring in their smart phones.

Cost

N150,000