The ‘Pocket School’: http://pocketschool.stanford.edu is the project that involves
designing, implementing and evaluating mobile learning technology to provide underserved indigenous children in Latin America with equal opportunity to learn basic literacy skills. In their report, Kim et al. (2008) emphasized eight factors that should be taken into account for designing a mobile learning device. They are:
situation specificity and cultural sensitivity, practical usability, theoretical applicability, phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, reading fluency, economic scalability, viable sustainability.
According to the article, learning should be enjoyable, meaningful and rewarding and those elements should be incorporated into the learning environments and culture of students in the right balance. In relation to ‘practical usability’, the article says that because there are not enough qualified teachers or literate parents in many rural regions who can direct students to learn using a mobile learning device, it is very important to make simple, easy-to-use and user-friendly interface letting students can learn themselves with a device, especially at the early stage of literacy development. Even if, mobile learning devices are given to indigenous students, if they can operate it, it will be meaningless. In addition, the content of mobile learning should meet needs and academic curiosity of indigenous students.
There still are so many indigenous children who cannot have an opportunity to have formal education in a formal school with qualified teachers; a mobile learning can be a good substitute of formal education in those regions. However, careful and deep consideration of content, students’ abilities, and contextual/cultural conditions should be given when designing a mobile learning program to maximize the effectiveness of mobile learning.
Kim, P., Miranda, T., & Olaciregui, C. (2007). Pocket school: Exploring mobile technology as a sustainable literacy education option for underserved children in Latin America. International Journal of Educational Development. 28(4), pp. 435-445.