126.96.36.199 Benefits for teachers and administrators
Mobile devices and associated training can also be used to develop the human capital of teachers. There is a global shortage of teachers, primarily in areas with high poverty rates. 70 In addition, many teachers around the world are unqualified or underprepared to meet the educational demands of the 21st century. 71 Mobile devices can facilitate faculty mentoring and participation in online professional communities, making it easier for teachers to share best practices within their schools and with counterparts at other institutions, as well as to collaborate and motivate one another. 72 Mobile devices increase teachers’ accessibility to rich repositories of free online lesson plans and educational content that can be downloaded, reviewed, and even projected or printed. 73
For example, Mozambique’s Ministry of Education has adapted curricular materials for mobile phones and created multiple versions to accommodate particular cultural and linguistic contexts. The United States Department of Education has worked to make its online resources easily searchable. 74 Many such databases seeking to freely disseminate content already exist, including projects by universities such as Stanford, Harvard, and MIT. These platforms contain systems for testing, grading, providing student-to-student assistance, and awarding certificates of completion. 75
Further, leveraging the ubiquity of mobile phones allows teachers and schools to improve communication with parents and students. Without the need for complicated applications or even smartphones, educators can call or text students and parents to keep them apprised of information ranging from assignments or attendance to the availability of new resources or important news about school facilities. Similarly, mobile technology can be used to improve communications between school administrators and teachers. The SMS for Better Schooling in Sindh (Pakistan) initiative involves 400 schools and uses text messages to inform schools and communities about such developments as the planned delivery of new textbooks – and to check in to make sure that the textbooks have actually arrived and are in use. Other services being monitored include the state of lighting in classrooms and the quality of drinking water in schools. 76
70 UNESCO, “Mobile Learning for Teachers: Global Themes,” (2012), available at http://www.meducationalliance.org/sites/default/files/mobile_learning_for_teachers_global_themes_2012.pdf .
74 See, for example, Federal Resources for Educational Excellence at http://free.ed.gov/.
75 UNESCO, “Mobile Learning for Teachers: Global Themes,” (2012), available at http://www.meducationalliance.org/sites/default/files/mobile_learning_for_teachers_global_themes_2012.pdf .
76 World Bank, “More on SMS Use in Education in Pakistan,” (June 7, 2011), available at http://blogs.worldbank.org/edutech/sms-pakistan-2.