About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3730-3740
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1811

Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain

MOBILE LEARNING IN NON-FORMAL CONTEXTS. EXPLORING THE NEXUS OF PRACTICE AND USE OF MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES AMONG SMALLHOLDER FARMING COMMUNITIES IN RESOURCE LIMITED ENVIRONMENTS

D. Nampijja

University of Agder (NORWAY)
In the field of higher education, emergent technologies like mobile devices have gained momentum and increased popularity as seen from the many researchers and practitioners’ recent engagement with them. Various studies have been conducted in the field of mobile learning, but with less focus on how mobile technologies can support learning in non-formal contexts. To address the current global challenges that affect the world today, the education system needs to embrace and utilize mobile technologies to enhance productivity and inclusiveness in learning; even among those in resource limited settings, like the case with smallholder farmers. Smallholder farmer’s access to mobile phones can provide bridges to support learning for secure livelihoods. Hence, by exploring the nature and type of learning afforded by mobile technologies, this study attempts to explain the nexus of practice and use of mobile technologies among smallholder farmers in resource limited environments. Analyzing the possibilities and constraints of using mobile phones for learning is part of this exploration.

Methodologically, a qualitative study through an interpretivist and social constructivist perspective from multiple case sites of Grameen Foundation - Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) project in Uganda was adopted. A total of fifty smallholder farmers and ten key informants was used through data collection techniques like informal interviews, participant’s observation, and focused group discussions. NVivo aided the analysis of the field data through code classification themes like practice and use of the technology, nature of learning, as well as possibilities and constraints of using mobile phones for learning.

Using the community of practice social learning theory, the study mapped out learning constructs like learning as doing, learning as experience, learning as becoming, and learning as belonging. Based on the findings, it is clear that the CKW - mobiles for development project had reached out to a handful of farmers, leaving the (‘other’) majority wanting. The project uses smartphones for information access and sharing among farmers. In embracing mobile technologies people have to effectuate their learning affordances, mobile phones worked as digital libraries that facilitated both individual and group learning activities. Learning was a socially constructed conversational activity where those with access to mobile phones shared information and knowledge with those with limited or no access to mobile phones. Despite the type of learning, albeit learning in non-formal contexts, the education system we have to uphold is that which is transformative and empowering to those undertaking it. Farmers noted some benefits from the mobile for development project like increased social networks, development of leadership skills, better farm management practices, among others. They however encountered varying constraints like the breakdown of mobile phones, inability of some farmers to apply the knowledge gained, and intermittent networks and funding. Although all farmers in the project attested to the increased learning afforded by mobile technologies, other factors like social relations and networks among farming communities influenced the use of mobile phones for learning. Therefore, there is a need to further explore the role of such social networks in facilitating and strengthening smallholder farmers’ resilient capabilities while using mobiles for livelihoods.
@InProceedings{NAMPIJJA2017MOB,
author = {Nampijja, D.},
title = {MOBILE LEARNING IN NON-FORMAL CONTEXTS. EXPLORING THE NEXUS OF PRACTICE AND USE OF MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES AMONG SMALLHOLDER FARMING COMMUNITIES IN RESOURCE LIMITED ENVIRONMENTS},
series = {9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN17 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-3777-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2017.1811},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.1811},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {3-5 July, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {3730-3740}}
TY - CONF
AU - D. Nampijja
TI - MOBILE LEARNING IN NON-FORMAL CONTEXTS. EXPLORING THE NEXUS OF PRACTICE AND USE OF MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES AMONG SMALLHOLDER FARMING COMMUNITIES IN RESOURCE LIMITED ENVIRONMENTS
SN - 978-84-697-3777-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1811
PY - 2017
Y1 - 3-5 July, 2017
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN17 Proceedings
SP - 3730
EP - 3740
ER -
D. Nampijja (2017) MOBILE LEARNING IN NON-FORMAL CONTEXTS. EXPLORING THE NEXUS OF PRACTICE AND USE OF MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES AMONG SMALLHOLDER FARMING COMMUNITIES IN RESOURCE LIMITED ENVIRONMENTS, EDULEARN17 Proceedings, pp. 3730-3740.
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