Tablets Instead of Teachers? A Powerful Argument for Mobile Learning in Africa


Inspired by the lack of schooling for over 100 million 1st grade students worldwide, the One Laptop Per Child program embarked on an ambitious project to give laptops to illiterate children in remote villages in Ethiopia with little or no instruction, to see if the kids to learn to read all by themselves by experimenting with pre-installed e-learning apps.  The Motorola Xoom laptop tablets were outfitted with solar charging devices, and memory cards were exchanged on a weekly basis to track student activity and progress.  What happened is something incredible. A box full of laptops was dropped off in the village, and within days, students were not only learning to read and speak in English, but were teaching others in the village and amazingly within 5 months they had hacked the Android software and learned how to customize the desktop, activate the camera and disable other security controls.

This experiment clearly indicates the creative and intellectual potential of some of the world’s poorest children. As tablets and smartphones become exceedingly more affordable, with major developers working to produce a $15 smartphone, and billionaire philanthropists committed to educational development such as Mark Zuckerberg who is working to bring free internet to all of Africa, the demand for educational technology solutions to deal with the changing landscape grows exponentially.

Ednastics is excited to be part of the development of educational programs, especially with regard to the application of educational technology solutions in Africa.

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