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The 123s & ABCs Go Mobile

With an estimated 10 billion connected devices in 2012, and an expected 25 billion in 2020, mobile technology has become the largest information and communication platform in history, and it must be leveraged to improve education globally. On average, there are approximately 360,000 babies born and more than 1 million smartphone users added every day. This opens up a critical opportunity for learning, especially when you take into account that nearly a billion people will enter the 21st century unable to read a book.

Qualcomm Wireless Reach and Sesame Workshop are harnessing the power of the latest mobile technology to help increase literacy in children at an early age and transform 21st century learning. We see the potential to make an impact in children’s lives, and in their preparedness for the job market, by getting them connected.

Sesame Workshop’s education projects reach more than 150 million children in over 150 countries. Imagine how they could reach hundreds of millions more—and more quickly—via mobile technology. One of the reasons I’m so excited about our collaboration is the wealth of data showing that Sesame Workshop’s programming helps prepare children for academic success. According to their research, frequent Sesame Street viewing in preschool is associated with grade point averages in high school that are almost 16 percent higher than those of children who didn’t grow up watching the show.

Of the new and exciting applications that we have collaborated together to build, my current favorites are: Big Bird’s Words (see video below), a vocabulary building augmented reality application that features a virtual ‘wordoscope’ to search for new words in a child’s environment—improving vocabulary through a fun and interactive experience; and Abby’s Fairy Rock, a game designed to teach preschoolers the fundamentals of music by turning a tablet into a virtual guitar.

In addition to projects that have been developed in the U.S., we are working with Sesame to help children in developing countries in India and China. We will launch a new project in China this week, which will provide tips, activities and other tools to help families with young children prepare for emergency situations, specifically natural disasters.

It is through inventive projects like this that we hope to educate, inspire and engage young children everywhere as we prepare them for future success in a global economy. We are excited to see access to wireless devices continue to grow and be supported as an important learning tool.

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