GROWTH OF MOBILE EDUCATION PLATFORMS AND THE IMPACT ON LEARNING IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN KENYA
iHub Research (KENYA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The free primary school education concept was re-introduced in Kenya by the NARC government in 2003. The abolishment of tuition fees in the country made it easier for parents with low incomes to be able to afford to take their children to schools. Currently, there are over 27,000 primary schools with an enrollment of slightly over 8 million students in Kenya. ((ICT Capacities and Capabilities in Secondary Schools in Kenya 2009/2010 NCST No: 046). Statistics indicate that the number of teachers teaching in these schools is just about 185,000 countrywide. High enrollment rates and low number of teachers in the schools has had an impact on the quality of education deployed to the students. There has been a rise in the number of mobile technologies deployed in Kenya within the education sector. A majority of these mobile applications have been devised with the purpose of providing a platform from which education content can be accessed easily by students for revision purposes in preparation for the exams that are taken at the end of the academic year. The mobile applications run on different platforms ranging from simple feature phones that have the calling and texting capability, e-readers and kindles to the smart phones that have additional video and graphics capabilities.
This research paper looks into the question of the necessity for the usage of mobile technology to enhance learning in the Kenyan education sector. The focus is on assessing the education environment in the primary schools in Kenya for mobile technologies to be deployed as well as the policies that would need to be incorporated by the government to support mobile learning and willingness by stakeholders in the education sector to embrace these technologies to complement their work of teaching students in the Kenyan primary schools.
The potential impact that use of mobile technologies could have to improve performance by students in primary schools is something that should be harnessed. Challenges of using mobile devices for learning include risking breakages of devices, investing time to train users on how to use the devices and high costs of purchasing the mobile devices. The benefits include being able to provide students with several books in one device through e-readers and kindles, getting students to use low cost sms to take quizzes and digital tracking of students performance over time.
Keywords: Primary education, Kenya, mobile learning.