Head of mobile
I joined Pearson South Africa‘s Innovation Lab as head of mobile, with the following milestones under the belt:
- Developed the 3-year mobile learning strategy for the company.
- Product manager of X-kit Achieve Mobile, Pearson South Africa’s first schools mobile service, offering high school test and exam revision for learners with feature and smart phones. The content is fully curriculum-aligned, levelled for difficulty and based on a solid theoretical framework, while the service includes leaderboards, badges and social network integration.
- Innovation Lab lead for the tablet implementation at CTI and MGI, two higher education institutions in South Africa owned by Pearson (the largest tablet rollout in the country).
- Strategic advisor to Project Literacy, Pearson’s 5-year global social impact campaign, launched in Sept 2014, that aims to support literacy develop in a mobile age.
Along with Prof John Traxler, I co-edited the Prospects: Quarterly Review of Comparative Education journal’s edition on mobile learning. John and I co-authored the introduction: The prospects for mobile learning.
I wrote a chapter Yoza Project : des histoires pour mobiles accessibles à tous in the book Téléphone mobile et création published by the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3. (Merci beaucoup, Laurence Allard, for the opportunity.)
I contributed to Education and Skills 2.0: New Targets and Innovative Approaches, a short book released at the World Economic Forum in Davos, as well as UNESCO’s Reading in the Mobile Era report, based on a project that I coordinated while at UNESCO.
Finally, I was interviewed for UNICEF’s Children, ICT and Development: Capturing the potential, meeting the challenges report.
Presentations and panels
I presented, or participated on panels, on the the following topics:
I was a judge in the Berkeley Big Ideas contest for the Mobiles for Reading category. The annual contest providing fundings, support and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of students from the USA who have ‘Big Ideas.’
I also helped to judge PEACEapp, a global competition organized by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the United Nations Development Program in collaboration with Build Up to promote digital games and gamified apps as venues for cultural dialogue and conflict management.
This year my work was informed by one core idea: that education, and the way people learn, is changing, and this change is interwoven with mobility.
In the Prospects journal introduction, John and I wrote: “Mobile learning is no longer an innovation within institutional learning but a reflection of the world in which institutional learning takes place.”
For the most part, when looking at the education system in South Africa, this change is not apparent enough. But the change, albeit subtle or out of view, has begun.
Overall it was a good year. Moving to Pearson was a significant shift from twelve years in the governmental, non-profit, international organisation and “open” worlds, to a corporate and “closed’ world. I made the move purposefully to learn and to develop a business perspective on the mobile learning field. It has certainly been interesting to see where corporates and non-profits are very different and, (perhaps not) surprisingly, very similar. The issues of profitability and sustainability in mobile education still loom large, but it has been refreshing and instructive to explore ways of attaining them from within a commercial company.
I intend to take these insights back to the non-profit sector one day since I am a believer that profit and non-profit have much to learn from each other and make the other one more effective and efficient.