2.2 Emerging LCCDs in education: leveraging mobile devices

The growing ubiquity of mobile devices creates new opportunities to change how students are educated and to change the relationships between student and teacher and between student and content. Mobile devices allow teachers and schools to make content available to students in a format that is portable and interactive, particularly if the format is optimized for mobile handsets. Because mobile devices are typically carried at all times, individuals can have immediate and constant access to current content, regardless of their physical locations. This has special relevance in developing countries and rural areas where traveling to a school can be long, expensive and inconvenient. 34

As tablet computers have entered the mainstream technology marketplace (primarily in developed countries), they are increasingly included in discussions of LCCDs, alongside smartphones. Apple’s iPad may be the most well-known mainstream tablet, but several devices have been released at various price points, including some tailored specifically for the educational market and for developing countries. The expected advantages of deploying tablets in educational settings include lower costs compared with traditional laptop or desktop computers, as well as potential ease-of-use improvements due to their touch-screen user interfaces. 35 Education-oriented tablets have been developed, or are being developed, by some of the same players involved in the low-cost laptop market, including Intel (with its Studybook 36 ) and OLPC (with the xo-3). 37 In addition, e-readers, such as Amazon’s Kindle, offer an opportunity to make various types of content available to students, while also serving as literacy-improvement tools. E-readers, therefore, have been used in several pilot projects.

34 Op cit , p. 6.

35 For example, Hewlett Packard announced in February 2013 that it would begin selling a tablet for $169. Although it is not specifically designed for educational use, its relatively low cost could drive adoption in the education market. See http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/25/technology/hp-offers-a-new-consumer-tablet.html?_r=0 .

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