Mobile Learning in Low Resource Countries

Mobile Learning in Low Resource Countries 2019-11-28T15:25:02-05:00

Mobile Learning in Low Resource Countries:

Efforts to improve literacy and learning in low-resource countries with mobile devices have long been greeted with great fanfare. After decades of investment and hype, where do we stand? What have we learned? What has worked? Why? What hasn’t?

The prospect—even inevitability—of classrooms becoming mobile-dependent mandates that we learn from past experiences. In March, 2018 IBB sponsored an extended report that summarizes knowledge to date, provides examples that illustrate trends, and suggests future directions for investment. A newly updated version is now (March, 2019) available at Mobile Learning in Low Resource Countries.

We welcome your comments, suggestions for resources, and ideas for the next chapter of mobile learning.

What others are saying...

  1. David Robson April 12, 2018 at 10:09 am - Reply

    I just downloaded the report and am surprised at how thorough it appears. 12 pages summarizing activity in the field and 4 pages of reverences/links. I’ll add another comment after reading it all.

    • Vic Korenman April 12, 2018 at 5:25 pm - Reply

      Look forward to your next comment..

  2. Wendy Saul May 14, 2018 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    In many ways, educational technology appears to be a solution in search of a problem. I am not meaning to suggest that it is NOT a solution, but rather that we need to see what it can do that is both useful and do-able, that can’t be done as well by other entities like teacher or books? Can little kids learn to read on a phone screen when their tendency is to point to words? Does word calling, even if taught well on a screen, lead effectively to meaning making? Will parents in low resource countries allow a first grader to take to school the one phone available in a family? That said, shipping books and training teachers is expensive in both time and money. As this study points out, machines alone won’t “do the trick.” Would love to hear from folks on the ground about their experiences with technology in educational settings.

  3. Cynthia Tysick July 9, 2019 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    I take old 1st generation Kindle Fires to developing countries, Tanzania and Ghana. I load them up with free Amazon kids books, learning apps from the Amazon Apps store, and then give them an Amazon gift card and instructions on using a WiFi Hotspot (that many can find with mobile phones so prevelant) to purchase titles they want. I sometimes take a collection up and get enough money to buy popular kids’ books titles too. I have done this 4 times now and I can tell you each teacher has been THRILLED! One teacher, a preschool teacher in the Mara Region asked if we could bring her a small projector next time because she wanted to connect the Kindle up and read to the whole class, not just 3-4 kids at a time. As a librarian I know that shipping or traveling with donated books is EXPENSIVE. I can’t put 100 books in my suitcase but I can put them on devices that we all throw away and make a difference in a whole school. I highly support this type of initiative and look forward to helping in any way I can.

    • Brittney Wilson August 5, 2019 at 9:44 pm - Reply

      Hi Cynthia,

      Your comment has inspired a great idea. I’m looking to donate some books to a basic school in the Caribbean, but old Kindle Fires might be more efficient. How did you come by these devices?

      • Brian Anderson November 15, 2019 at 9:33 am - Reply


        I am in the process of doing the same thing for schools in the Dominican Republic but am running into some roadblocks from Amazon. Would you be available to discuss this with me? I have “adopted” five schools with the hopes to adopt 100 within the next year so I would like to scale up.

  4. AFRICAN AID FOUNDATION August 16, 2019 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    I have learned that using tablets loaded with Books and kids video motivate a lot of kids to learn than using physical Books. And I think our direction should focus on this. We have a lot of online materials as well as tablets ( kids version at low cost) – This could also make a big impact.

  5. The Delta Rural Foundation January 16, 2020 at 2:16 am - Reply

    As a nonprofit that operates exclusively in rural communities of the Niger Delta in Nigeria, we know for sure that ebooks on mobile devices go a long way in addressing the many educational challenges that rural primary and secondary schools face. First, most of these schools do not have proper roofs, doors, windows, desks let alone libraries to shelve books. Second, tentatively speaking, 90% of these schools are severely understaffed with some schools having just one teacher in attendance some days. We know that it is easy to see the problem here and that we desperately need to keep advocating and facilitate the building of these schools and involve more teachers, but we know how long these problems have been there. So, whilst we are all at that, pupils and students should have the opportunity to continue learning which is why further scaling of mobile learning should be encouraged.

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