"Mobile Education Requires Smart Ideas, but Not Smart Phones"

FrontlineSMS was recently the focus of an article from IIP Digital, a site for all the latest news from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information. You can find an extract below, and read the full article here. Latin American education leaders who gathered at a TechCamp workshop in Montevideo, Uruguay, late in 2011 learned this and much more from technology experts who demonstrated ways they could use cellphones to extend education to almost anywhere.

TechCamp is part of Civil Society 2.0, an initiative aimed at helping communities around the world gain access to practical and affordable technology to solve local problems. The needs of the communities determine the types of technology presented.

Because mobile access far exceeds Internet access in many developing countries, governments, nongovernmental organizations and communities are eager for effective ways to use cellphones to reach underserved areas on a large scale.

“You have this enormous communications platform, but the question is, what do you do with it, and how is it that people are interpreting it,” Sean McDonald, operations director for FrontineSMS, said. Students, many of whom already use the technology, provide a promising opportunity for determining what works.

“After you’ve taught something, how do you know after the student has gone back to their environment that the student has absorbed the information and it is making an impact?” he asked. “You can create questions and quizzes. The system will automatically grade the quizzes, and then map them to the contact, which you are able to track over time.”

FrontlineSMS is an open-source group messaging software platform that has multiple applications. In Montevideo, McDonald presented a version of the software called FrontlineSMS:Learn that is tailored for use in remote or distributed education settings.

To read the full article, please visit IIP Digital here.