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Mobile Learning in Affordable Private Schools in India

Begins:   Jun 12, 2012 16:00
Ends:   Jun 12, 2012 17:15

Mobile Learning in Affordable Private Schools in India
Matthew Kam, Carnegie Mellon University

room G8-090
The World Bank 'G' building
1776 G St., NW
Washington, DC

4 - 5:30pm
12 June 2012

external participants, please RSVP to

Researchers and practitioners in the field of information and communication technologies for international development (ICT4D) have been grappling with complex questions around sustainability:

  • How can we design ICT4D projects with an eye toward having them scale and be financially sustainable?
  • What are the conditions that promote sustainability?
  • How does sustainability relate to technology adoption?

In this talk, we will take a step towards proposing some answers to these sorts of questions, based on lessons from a mobile learning program during the 2011-12 academic year that impacted 250 children in four “affordable private schools” in the city of Hyderabad, India. While private schools that target students from middle-income households have been commonplace in the developing world, affordable private schools that charge fees as low as US$2 per month are a more recent  phenomenon that is mushrooming in the developing world. National surveys indicate that over 25% of parents in rural India enroll their children in such schools, with significantly higher enrollments estimated among low-income communities in urban India. In comparison to public schools where government accountability is limited, affordable private schools run by enterprising entrepreneurs who could potentially

  1. use part of their tuition revenue to cover the operating costs of a mobile learning program;
  2. leverage technology to improve learning; and, in turn
  3. use technology to differentiate themselves from competitor schools.

This talk will examine the socio-political fabric in the four affordable private schools where  a year-long pilot study was recently concluded, in order to shed light on perceptions that stakeholders have about education, and discuss what this might mean for the adoption of mobile learning initiatives.

About the speaker
Matthew Kam is an Assistant Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. His research investigates the theory, design and in-situ use of technologies -- broadly defined -- by underserved communities in learning contexts throughout the world, in the service of improving the lives of the poor. The research lab that he directs was recently named a 2012 Computerworld Honors Program Laureate, and was featured at the Clinton Global Initiative and World Economic Forum. His research is widely cited in industry publications, and has appeared in the international press, ABC News and a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television documentary. Matthew's research draws on his multidisciplinary background: a Ph.D. in Computer Science with a minor in Education, B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, and B.A. in Economics, all from the University of California, Berkeley.


related information:

sponsored by EduTech, the World Bank's ICT and education thematic group

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