Tablets in Schools

Interactive Mobile Learning Content for Schools

Amany AtefCairo (EG), November 2013 - Amany Atef is Director of eLearning Center of Excellence at the Information Technology Institute (ITI), MCIT in Cairo. She is the manager of eLearning on the strategic level, visioning, and Egypt's eLearning Roadmap. She is currently overseeing mobile learning and the transitioning from eLearning to mobile learning in Egyptian schools.

Which Egyptian schools use this type of content?

Amany Atef: The Egyptian public schools, and by the way, the language of instruction in these schools is Arabic. The content is used particularly in the preparatory schools in grade eight.

How do the students get the mobile devices?

Amany Atef: Mobile devices and the tablet devices will be provided to the students as part of the Egyptian national project for using tablets in schools. They will be provided and subsidized by the Egyptian government, mainly by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Ministry of Education.

Is the content purchased, commissioned from publishers, or developed by the teachers themselves?

Amany Atef: Content is developed by the "eLearning Center of Excellence" at the Information Technology Institute (ITI), which is affiliated with Egypt’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. At ITI we're able to cluster our expert staff in eContent and eLearning/mLearning technologies in a Center of Excellence (eLICA). It combines expertise and knowledge of the latest practices in developing interactive mobile-learning content for school students. Implementing the pilot project is a first action step towards transforming the entire content of the national school education system into eContent that is accessible through tablets. The next phase of this project will include the training of the teachers to develop content by themselves.

In your opinion, which subjects and which type of instruction are particularly well suited for mobile content?

Amany Atef:  Any subject that can be delivered via web-based format can also be delivered in mobile learning format. However, before asking this question about mobile learning, we have to consider the following:

  1. Why is mobile delivery the best option?
  2. How will you be leveraging the unique attributes of mobile technologies?
  3. What are the anticipated benefits?
  4. Is your audience ready for mobile?
  5. What is the smallest amount of information I can provide to the audience to increase their knowledge and skills and improve their attitudes?
  6. When do they need this content, and what will they be doing when they need it?

We should also differentiate among the types of the mobile devices. There are mobile smart phones, tablets (iPad, Galaxy Tab, etc.), and "phablets", such as the Samsung Galaxy Note.

For smart mobile phones, content should be in small, chunked pieces. Each piece can be a complete standalone learning object of not more than ten minutes each. Here the mobile phone can be used for learning through content like videos, simulations, podcasts, social networks, QR code, game-based learning, quizzes, and immediate support and response, e.g. surveys.

For tablets and phablets, the content can be the same as for smart phones. However, the bigger size of the screen encourages the use of complete eCourses , interactive books, augmented reality, game-based learning, simulations, native apps, mobile web apps, etc.