In a newly released report, the GSMA points out that mobile has the potential to change dramatically the way education is delivered, thus enhancing learning for more than a billion people around the world.
Transforming Learning Through mEducation reveals how a number of early trials in mEducation across diverse geographies and education segments have improved education outcomes successfully, indicating tremendous potential for mEducation in the future of learning worldwide.
"mEducation is poised to lead to a major transformation of the education landscape," comments Ana Tavares Lattibeaudiere, who heads Connected Living at the GSMA. "Mobile operators can play a significant role beyond that of connectivity providers by developing products and managing systems.”
She continues, “Teachers can teach in a more innovative and personalized way, leading to greater student engagement, higher attendance and improved achievement. Increased support by governments can assist the process of moving on from pockets of innovation to widespread mobile use in education and ultimately help drive global adoption."
The Emerging Promise
Early trials of using mobile technology to facilitate education in Asia already have resulted in substantial improvements to learning, the group notes. For example, in India, local teachers introduced a simple mobile-based game to help primary-school pupils from rural, low-income households develop English-language comprehension, sentence construction and spelling. As a result, students’ test scores improved by almost 60 percent.
Meanwhile, in the United States, teachers in New Mexico are using mobile devices to assess the reading progress of kindergarten pupils and to develop their communication skills. Within the first three years, the percentage of children reading at the level expected for their age group went from 29 percent to 93 percent.
Education Revolution Trends
Despite the momentum, there still are a number of barriers to overcome in both developed and developing territories. These include the perceived extra burden for IT departments in facilitating teaching through tech-based products; cultural resistance from some teachers who are reluctant to integrate new teaching methods into their classrooms; and some negative perceptions that still exist around the introduction of smartphones and tablets in the classroom.
To help overcome these barriers, the following trends support mEducation adoption:
>> Growing support and promotion by governments worldwide for mEducation initiatives within schools, colleges, and other education and training establishments;
>> Mounting evidence highlighting the success of mEducation in improving access to education, learning outcomes and efficiency of education delivery;
>> More mEducation pilot projects leading to commercial models that are sustainable for both education-sector customers and service providers;
>> Better understanding and sharing of mEducation innovations and best practices so these can be utilized, where applicable, in different learning scenarios around the world; and
>> Increasing availability and affordability of mobile devices suitable for mEducation.
The core opportunity for the mEducation market is the K-12 segment of kindergarten to grade 12 equivalent students, aged between six and 18, which receives around 55 per cent of global expenditure on education. Another key segment is higher education, which commands around 30 per cent of global education expenditure.
The mEducation market could generate a global revenue opportunity for mobile operators worth $70 billion by 2020. mEducation products and services will represent a $38 billion market, nearly 90 percent of which will be generated through such content as educational e-books, software (including such educational apps and platforms as learning-management systems) and mobile learning environments. The opportunity for mEducation devices like smartphones and tablets will be worth a further $32 billion by 2020.
The market is predicted to grow at between 50 percent and 55 percent CAGR between 2012 and 2020 in such developing regions as Latin America, developing Asia Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa, compared to between 25 percent and 30 percent for developed regions of Europe, North America and developed Asia Pacific. Due to factors including first-time provision of the Internet, lack of fixed-line infrastructure and the more cost-effective deployment of mobile networks, mEducation spend will grow fastest in developing Asia Pacific, while North America will remain the biggest market for mEducation products.
How To Play
Providing connectivity for mEducation products and services could be worth $4 billion in revenues by 2020. However, a bigger opportunity for mobile operators is created across the entire value chain. For instance, enabling the mEducation ecosystem – through such technical support as IT, network, content and data management services – could generate revenues of $20 billion. Taking the lead as an end-to-end mEducation service provider could open up the full $70 billion opportunity. By assessing their capabilities, aspirations and risks, operators can determine their positions in the future of the mEducation market.
"Mobile technology now has the potential to revolutionize education for people of all ages across the world," adds Tavares Lattibeaudiere. "With the growing availability and demand for mEducation solutions, mobile operators can seize this opportunity to transform the classroom forever."
To read the entire GSMA mEducation report, click here
In separate but related news, the Boston University School of Management and technology giant Ericsson announced that a team of MBA students from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill won first place in the seventh annual International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition.
This invitation-only, Ericsson-sponsored, 24-hour competition (worth $47,500 in prizes) challenges business students to help solve real issues that face global technology leaders. The event took place at Boston University School of Management late last month.? ?This year’s competition focused on the role a “networked society” could play in innovating education. Each team was asked how Ericsson could develop successful business models that will create value for the world in a networked society through education and the sharing and combining of expertise.
According to this year’s case author and Boston University School of Management Professor N Venkatraman, one of the most important challenges of the case was the need to devise a business strategy that would remove the physical limitations that often accompany education; competitors then had to develop ideas to digitally spread educational opportunities to all members of society.
"Ericsson believes that the networked society is not just about connecting devices; it’s about the power that is unleashed when everything is connected," comments Helena Norrman, senior vice president and Communications head at Ericsson. "At the core of this transformation is education, which can now be offered to people everywhere, regardless of social or geographical boundaries. The development of human potential within society as well as inside enterprises will change the world for the better. It was fantastic to take part in the thoughts, insights and ideas on the topic that the students brought into the final round.”?