Last week was the third annual mEducation Alliance Symposium in Washington, D.C., attended by over 175 participants from 20 countries with 40+ presentations about innovations for using technologies in education. Overall, this year’s event addressed a range of topics including technologies for reading, youth and workforce development,and for application in complex and challenging environments.
I gave four presentations, one of which was the UNESCO concept note Integrating mobile learning solutions for Syrian refugees in Iraq. This is a proposed project for which UNESCO is looking for partners for funding, technology support, content development, and more.
The abstract is as follows:
UNESCO research has indicated that mobile learning has special applicability in post-conflict, post-disaster contexts: displaced people often have working mobile devices; mobile networks are robust and tend to work even when other communication networks are down; and mobile content can be developed quickly and disseminated cheaply. Research has further indicated that mobile learning is most effective when it is integrated into more comprehensive educational solutions, rather than “parachuted in,” unconnected to schools and other community institutions. In the coming months UNESCO Iraq plans to build three schools for Syrian refugees in Kurdistan; UNESCO HQ proposes the creation of a mobile learning program to supplement, enrich and extend the educational services that will be offered in brick-and-motor buildings. Apart from providing immediate and urgently-needed educational support to Syrians, the project also allow UNESCO to establish an implementation model that can be applied elsewhere to advance the learning of refugees or other traumatized people.