Monday, 6 October 2008

mLearn08 and can mobile phones help the fight against poverty?

The mobile conference with a difference (mLearn08) runs this week in Telford, Shropshire, United Kingdom. I am looking forward to attend, speak and learn from the other participants. This is a renowned conference on mobile learning, so I am quite excited to go and gain new insights on the future of learning (yes, as you can see I am a believer...)

While preparing my trip, a TED-talk by Iqbal Quadir on how mobile phones fight poverty caught my eye. I was rather sceptic at first, because the first notion that came to my mind when reading the header was: 'right, give poor people a phone so they can give the limited money they do earn to the big telecom providers'... but by now I know that my quick judgements must not keep me from gaining more information about something, so I watched and it was worth the 16 minutes.

What got me enthusiastic about Iqbal Quadir (originally from Bangladesh) were the phrases:

  • You must activate the citizens of a nation;
  • Economic development is off the people, by the people, for the people.
  • Connectivity is productivity.

He builds on the knowledge from the World Bank and ... his train of thought makes sense. So my hope in mobile connectivity and learning is enhanced thanks to Iqbal's speech. And now I am even more enthusiastic to follow the mlearn conference.