Bridging the East West digital divide.
I grew up in India, where landline phones were limited, even in the largest metropolis. It was a privilege and you had to wait years to move up the list to actually get one. Entire villages would manage on one phone line and one phone. Who could have dreamt up this present day where even the rickshaw driver and the tea boy respond to the fancy trills of their mobiles. Ben in CapeTown holds his mobile high hardly realizing that it is his bridge across the digital divide of learning. With his mobile phone, he can access the world of information, skim over the heads of teachers, ignore schools and their curricula and study with the giants of the world. The mobile phone breaks down traditional barriers to knowledge and paves the way for a more democratized future of learning.
At OpenStudy, we have always believed in a vision of connecting learners everywhere. We were till now, a little hampered by the lack of computers for learners everywhere, so they could actually access OpenStudy. We realize that only a small fraction of the privileged school and college age learners have their own personal laptop and internet connectivity. Schools and colleges seldom provide adequate access to computers. But everyone has a phone. Turns out 2.89 Billion phones are predicted for the Asia pacific region alone. And people are increasingly accessing the internet from these phones, and using their phones to download media, access and interact and communicate with peers and markets. Mobile first and mobile only web access is narrowing the divide between Asia Pacific’s advanced and developing economies.
So as we release our mobile version, it is with deepest satisfaction because we feel we have moved a little closer to our goal of connecting learners everywhere! So Ben in CapeTown can punch in his question and Amistre in the US can interact with him. Punching in a question and getting an explanation in real time does not need a computer anymore. That is a liberating moment.
So we have high expectations of our mobile version and mobile learning in general. Why do we consider mobile the next big wave in education? You can get a fast response, greater interactivity, comes in a form factor that allows the device to be prosthetically attached at the hip – what else can an educator ask for?