As the world’s largest wireless technology company, we’ve seen the positive impact of connecting people with information, but our schools have been left behind.
Despite many successful education pilot projects that demonstrate how giving students 24/7 access to their learning materials has a positive impact on their achievement, uptake of mobile learning has been stymied due to a number of barriers, such as:
- Lack of connectivity infrastructure on and off campus
- Minimal, inconsistent IT support in schools
- Cost of devices/connectivity
- Equity issues for students who have access to devices and high-speed broadband at home and those who don’t
- Privacy and security liability issues schools and administrators face when opening the Internet up to school-provided devices
- Teacher training on digital content
Although these barriers are complicated, I’m deeply encouraged to see that governments and the private sector are coming together to bring the latest technology into education. Earlier this month, President Obama announced nearly $3 billion in commitments from the Federal Communications Commission and several private technology companies that aim to “close the technology gap in our schools.”
In Brazil, laws have been passed to double education spending to 10% of GDP over the next 10 years. Turkey’s Fatih project will provide 16 million mobile devices to K-12 students over the next 5 years. Egypt announced a project to modernize its education system, which includes giving tablets to 18 million public school children over the next 3-4 years. Saudi Arabia committed 26 percent of its budget to education and training.1
These commitments are remarkable.
As a wireless technology enabler, Qualcomm is doing its part to help ensure investments in mobile devices and connectivity support a safe, affordable, equitable, 24/7 mobile learning experience for students. At this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. will demonstrate a new dual mode and dual wallet framework, which is aimed at helping schools overcome the barriers mentioned above. We believe that new business models can be introduced into education by allowing parents, schools or governments to pay for connectivity for school-related content separately from connectivity for personal or entertainment use.
Learning doesn’t stop when the school bell rings, so we must work together to figure out how every student can stay connected to their schoolwork, classmates and teachers whenever and wherever they need it.
Our end-to-end framework seeks to provide a safe, seamless and intuitively managed experience across WiFi and 3G/4G. Once mobile devices have this functionality, teachers and students will not only be able to access their learning environment 24/7, but also be empowered to take advantage of the latest mobile technologies including proximity communications, augmented reality, contextual awareness, LTE Broadcast, small cells and many others.
Coming together with public and private organizations, the wireless industry can create business models where everyone wins and every student has access to the latest technology regardless of their socio-economic status, location, time of day and whether they are using a school-provided device or a device purchased by their family.
We’re inspired by these investments and will do our part to encourage and drive the ecosystem forward to ensure that our students are prepared for the jobs of the future. Please stop by the Qualcomm Exhibit at Mobile World Congress (Booth #3E10, Hall 3) to see our mobile learning demo.