I was quite excited about the breakout sessions, particuarly the session as the title suggests, about reaching underserved communities. I was excited about the international aspect, but also the values that come with working with underserved communities.
As I joined the session, M-Ubuntu were discussing their efforts in working with mobile phones in education or m-education. The project sounds facinating to me and I look forward to discussing it more indepth with then over the next few hours.As the press release says: M-Ubuntu (?I am because we are? in Zulu), a project that uses inexpensive mobile phone technologies to connect teachers in South Africa to each other and to teachers in the United States.
The concept of blended learning was discussed. Check out the video below to see an example of how it is being utilized in South Africa.
Other projects included in the session are Global Challenge, Mobile Voices, Mumbai WACW, and Tecno.Tzotzil, a project that leverages low-cost laptops to help indigenous children in Chiapas, Mexico learn by producing and sharing their own media creations.
Mobile Voices is an interesting project that utilizes the video cameras on mobile phones to help members of the Latino community in Los Angeles tell their stories about their lives. Check out their website. One of the goals of the project is to help some of the places that are outside of the city, places that get less focus and attention. Critical learning theories are an important aspect of this project and one of their ideas is to work with day laborers.
Each project sounds facinating and I hope to describe them all more as the time goes on.
The issue of challenges came up. Holly Willis said that Mobile Voices is facing issues of power and privilege, how people participate - users of mobilevoices, encouraging participation, and sustainability beyond the grantperiod. One issue that came up was the recognition and lending legitamcy of certain educations. Specifically having a degree in New Media, having a special minor (informal vs. formal education) formaleducation that offers a specific degree in a subject, rather than ageneral honors certificate.
Check out all the winners here. (opens as PDF)