Socioeconomic Strata, Mobile Technology, and Educational Development:A Comparative Analysis
• TeacherMate Mobile Learning Device - A Comparative Analysis of Two Underserved Schools in Mexico
• Our motto: "Our goal is to empower children with 21st century education - everywhere." (by Paul Kim)

Summary

TeacherMate is a mobile learning device that enables the easy development and deployment of effective interactive educational content on a highly portable, easily distributable and substantially affordable platform to complement educational curricula in underserved areas of the world. The programmable open-access design (open Flash under Linux) of this mobile technology enables free and easy development of any future content with little programming background.

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Description

Mobile devices such as the TeacherMateare highly portable, easily distributable, substantially affordable, and have the potential to be pedagogically complementary resources in education.

Figure 1. TeacherMate mobile learning device and a screenshot of a Spanish literacy content.

Here we present a representative study that investigated the potential implications of this mobile technology-based learning model in underserved communities near the Mexico-USA border in the state of Baja California, Mexico. In total, 160 2nd grade students participated in our study from two public primary schools: one in an urban slum and the other in a rural village.

Figure 2. Students helping each other with the mobile learning device

In a pretest, a standard Spanish language literacy achievement test was administered to assess the students' baseline level of literacy. Then both schools (Rural & Urban) were divided into two groups (Experimental with mobile devices & Control).
During the course of 16 weeks, students in the Experimental groups were using TeacherMate to supplement their learning. After the 16 weeks period, the literacy achievement test was re-administered (posttest).
Main findings of the study: (1) overall, the rural school students performed better than urban school students, (2) the advantage of the rural group was due to the supplementary use of the mobile learning technology, (3) in addition to technology, socio-economic and parental involvement factors also mediated the effect of improved learning.

Figure 3. Significant difference between the Experimental posttest groups at the two schools demonstrating that students with the TeacherMate mobile learning device in the Rural school (Rural Experimental) had higher literacy achievement scores than Urban school children also using the mobile learning technology (Urban Experimental).

In contrast, there was no evidence of interaction with parental education levels, the experience of teachers or school principals, or the teachers’ perception or preparation of the technology.
Overall, the mobile learning technology adoption was rapid, seamless, and actively driven by the students rather than the teacher.

Figure 4. Overview of the differences between pretest and posttest literacy achievement levels showing a beneficial effect of the 16 weeks learning period in the rural group and in students with mobile learning technologies.

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Publications and Reports

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People

Faculty Former Member

Dr. Paul, Kim
  Dr. Tamas Makany  

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"Socioeconomic Strata,
Mobile Technology, and Educational Development: A Comparative Analysis" is the subproject of POMI in Education.