Strategies and practices to maximize the potential of mobile technologies in education will be the focus of UNESCO’s Mobile Learning Week 2016, which will take place at the Organization’s Headquarters from 7 to 11 March.
The five-day event will bring together technology experts, government representatives, education specialists, project managers, researchers and industry partners from around the world.
According to the UN, there are six billion mobile phone subscriptions in the world today, used by a population of seven billion and access to the internet is growing fast. This, combined with the technical improvement of mobile devices and the development of dynamic learning content, has led to a great increase in the educational potential of information and communication technologies, notably in communities where books and schools are scarce.
Mobile technology is particularly pertinent for work to meet the education targets set out in the Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030 adopted by the UN late last year. It aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” SDG4 also emphasises the role of ICTs in strengthening education systems and enabling quality and effective learning.
“Technology is changing as we speak and this event offers a chance for education specialists and technology experts to share and take stock annually of new ways to best use it for learning. Mobile Learning Week (MLW) is a dynamic information exchange and a chance for countries and individuals to learn from each other,” said Mark West, who is coordinating the event.
MLW will explore four key areas:
Quality education for new learners: How technology can help ensure relevant and equitable learning opportunities for all young people, bearing in mind that the population of people under 18 in Africa is expected to increase by two-thirds before 2050.
Quality education for employment: How mobile technology can facilitate full employment in a global employment market characterized by high unemployment among under-skilled workers and a shortage of skilled employees.
Quality lifelong learning: How technology can extend learning pathways and make them more flexible and relevant for learners of all generation as people remain in employment later and ageing adults need to update their skills to keep pace with technological changes.
Quality education to empower women and girls. MLW will examine strategies to ensure women have equal access to mobile technology and are able to use it for learning and empowerment to offset the fact girls currently have less access than boys to both education and technology.
The programme of Mobile Learning Week will include:
· A Webinar co-organized with Education Fast Forward will bring participants from different parts of the world to the table to ask expert speakers how and to what extent mobile technology can facilitate learning and strengthen the quality of education.
· Workshops to enhance the capacity of mobile learning practitioners through knowledge-sharing.
· A two-day Symposium featuring 64 breakout session about mobile learning innovations and strategies to improve quality, as well as keynote addresses and panel discussions with leading ICT in education specialists.
· A Policy Forum jointly organized with ITU to facilitate the sharing of successful policy interventions to foster innovation and bring mobile learning to scale.
Journalists wishing to cover the event should contact UNESCO’s Media Relations Section: Laetitia Kaci: l.kaci(at)unesco.org +33 (0)1 45 68 17 72