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Mobile Learning in Africa: How Used iPhones Can Reinvent Education

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  • Education is vital for any country’s progress and development
  • The education system of sub-Saharan Africa needs a major uplift, and technology can help
  • By providing used iPhones to students in under-developed countries, their educational needs can be fulfilled

The education systems all over the world go through stressful periods, but the African education system has been suffering the strain for far too long. When Covid-19 hit, the entire dynamic of education and academia changed, leading us to virtual classrooms and remote learning.

Although this massive change came with its own challenges, it also opened new learning horizons. This shift acquainted the world with the art of remote learning – a potential solution for the educational disparities in sub-Saharan Africa. With Africa being the second largest and fastest growing mobile market worldwide, it is only fitting to use technology as a means of education.

This guide sheds light on how used iPhones can be a potential solution to support and extend their education in unimaginable ways.

But first, let’s understand what mobile learning actually is.

What Is Mobile Learning?

Mobile learning, M-learning, E-learning, or EdTech, all refer to an innovative means of education that combines mobile devices with learning materials. Simply put, you can use your tablets, smartphones, cell phones, or other portable devices to access educational materials online.

This type of learning is highly beneficial for under-developed countries where people cannot even afford basic education. They can access incredible knowledge resources online through their mobile devices.

For e-learning, students or teachers don’t even need a brand-new device. All they need is a functional one with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or 5G connectivity. So, having a brand-new iPhone 14, a refurbished iPhone 11, or a used iPhone 8 doesn’t matter as long as it can access the study materials.

Benefits of Mobile Learning

Although smartphones are not widely popular, a vast majority of people in sub-Saharan Africa own mobile phones. According to a survey, the number of people owning a cell phone in Ghana rose from 8% in 2002 to 83% in 2021. These are extremely promising numbers that are expected to grow further in the upcoming years.

Having such active access to mobile phones can prove highly beneficial for eager-to-learn students with limited and subpar classroom education.

E-learning has a number of benefits, including the following:

Low-Cost Teaching Resources

Mobile learning is a cost-effective alternative to traditional classrooms in Africa. It not only eliminates the need for a brick-and-mortar classroom, but they can buy a used iPhone to cut down various other expenses.

For instance, students and instructors don’t have to travel to the school for lessons. They can learn sitting at their homes while collaborating with each other as long as they have an active internet connection. If they cannot manage an active Wi-Fi connection, they can get together once a week to exchange learning materials, assignments, and grades.

Besides, if someone cannot afford to pay an instructor, they can use their mobile device to learn from free online resources.

Access to Unending Resources

In most African schools, there are either no books or extremely outdated books that don’t bring any innovation to a child’s education. According to Sofia Alexandre of the all-online Africa Virtual University, while she was teaching at a high school in Gabon, 

“[The] textbooks were decades old and had already been used in Portugal. Students didn’t have the books teachers were using. In fact, they did not have any books. It’s not acceptable to still use the same information that [teachers] have used for ages.”

E-learning gives students and instructors access to a treasure of online resources through their iPhones and iPads. They can access videos, tutorials, lesson plans, research journals, and whatnot. It allows them to broaden their learning horizons and get out of their outdated and obsolete course books. Moreover, they break out of the age-old, extremely stereotypical narrative of textbooks when they study more up-to-date syllabus.

Enhanced Educational Value

Learning decades-old course content through outdated methods doesn’t deliver quality education to any student. Compared to the traditional classroom, mobile learning is more engaging and improves knowledge retention by 55%.

When it comes to e-learning, it is not about cramming pages and pages of incomprehensible concepts. Nowadays, there are a number of educational games and apps to help children learn and retain knowledge more efficiently.

Instructors can also use programs like Microsoft Math Solver in their classrooms or online. This is designed to run on the slowest of internet connections. So, students can learn in groups while the teacher can monitor their progress online.

Better Teacher Training

EdTech is beneficial not only for students but also for instructors. A well-informed teacher can impart more knowledge to students, improving their learning. Due to this, there’s an increasing demand for teachers skilled in basic subjects as well as online communication and critical thinking.

For African teachers, mobile learning can prove worthwhile to improve their teaching skills and power growth across every field. They can take different training courses, like distance learning courses. They’ll need an active online connection and a used smartphone or tablet to do that. They don’t even have to get a brand-new phone for this purpose because they can search for used iPhones for sale online from reliable and affordable retailers like Phone Daddy.

Why is Mobile Learning a Good Educational Choice for Africa?

According to a report by UNESCO, 10 million African kids drop out of primary school every year. Those who get to complete primary school only do it with subpar literacy and numeracy levels. Besides, there are close to no well-trained and motivated teachers in these areas.

To provide quality education to every child, sub-Saharan Africa needs to recruit at least 6.2 million new instructors by 2030. Since recruiting such a large number of teachers isn’t possible, mobile learning is the best available alternative in Africa.

In the past few years, many African countries have worked hard against significant odds to improve access to basic education. However, there’s still a lot of work to be done, and mobile devices can help.

Since the tried and tested methods of educating the children aren’t working anymore, Africa needs to adapt to the next best thing available. Technology can play a vital part in enhancing the accessibility and quality of education in Africa.

Can Technology Replace Teachers?

The concept of self-directed mobile learning is still a utopian dream in sub-Saharan Africa. African countries still have significant gaps in gender, education, and technology. And there’s only one thing that can bridge this gap: empowered teachers.

Africa has a scarcity of teachers, but recruiting more teachers will cost a lot more than buying used iPhones for the students and teachers to encourage e-learning. However, despite being cheaper, technology cannot replace human instructors.

According to Payal Arora of the Erasmus University Rotterdam,

“That’s like saying telemedicine can replace a doctor. A good teacher will not at all be threatened, because technology can be a powerful pedagogical means to engagement.” 

Teachers are crucial for making students understand the study material they find hard to comprehend. Moreover, Africa is still dealing with numerous gender-related issues, including the reluctance of parents to send girls to school. This is where m-learning is not as beneficial because only a human instructor can try to convince such parents to let their daughters study.

What Can Educators Achieve Using Mobile Learning?

By adopting mobile learning through used iPhones, African educators can enhance the remote classroom experience for students. The opportunities are endless, but we’ve shared some to give you an idea:

Improve Student Engagement

Mobile learning helps educators improve student engagement by stimulating their interests. Students often get bored by the dry course materials, but mobile devices can make the same content enjoyable.

Moreover, shy and introverted students can also excel in m-learning because they can also participate without hesitation. Educators can help create a safe environment through this type of learning to develop a close-knit community.

Encourage Collaboration

After creating a safe space for everyone, educators can encourage students to collaborate with each other on educational projects. They can socially engage with each other on education apps they can install on their used iPhones. By fostering a sense of community and collaboration, educators can make students share knowledge with each other for their mutual benefit.

Teach Complex Concepts

Traditional teaching methods often fail to help students understand complex concepts. As a result, students tend to dislike subjects or topics that don’t spark their interest.

With the help of mobile learning, teachers can make complex topics understandable and more interesting for students. They can use different apps or design different activities to make them learn new concepts. Moreover, they can use gamification to make the content more engaging.

Increase Teaching Efficiency

Mobile learning also helps students get a grasp of content quickly. It also gives them more time to think about what they have learned.

Final Thoughts

Education is vital for the progress of any country. While a vast majority of people lack access to basic education in Africa, technology can pave the way to unending resources of knowledge. By getting used iPads, teachers and students can revolutionize their countries’ education systems.

Many online retailers, like Phone Daddy, sell used Apple products at reasonable prices. Besides, their products are PhoneCheck-certified and come with a one-year warranty, so you don’t have to worry about getting a damaged item.

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