Posted by: crudbasher | June 11, 2012

Why Will Smartphones In Africa Affect The US Educational System?

I know Apple came out with a bunch of new stuff today, but I’ll write about that tomorrow after I ‘ve had a chance to digest it.

For today, I want to start an interesting theme to play with this week! To start with, this is an article that talks about how in five years time, most Africans will have Smartphones. Should this matter to us? More importantly, will that affect education in the US? I think it most definately will.

I came up with a cool little saying about distance learning a few years ago. I said “Once the teacher and the student aren’t in the same room, it doesn’t matter how far away they are.” I am obviously talking about distance learning. I believe in finding the exact right teacher for each student in order to bring out the best in them. You have a much chance of doing this when you expand your search to the whole world right?

Yes but they don’t speak the same language? Yes but the computer can translate in real time pretty soon.

Companies in the US who are becoming education providers will not ignore this new market of millions of people. Not only that, but much of the learning the African kids will do will be self driven, based on interest, not because they are trying to get a good grade. Sometimes, less gets you more.

The technology developed to do this will have to be robust, adapt to a wide variety of learning styles, and be very low cost. This same technology can change the way US students learn too. If we see a sudden boom in innovation coming from Africa in 20 years time, smartphone should get the credit.

    • I’ve spent a good chunk of my life wandering around and writing about the developing world, and as lots of folks have recently argued, that’s still feature-phone territory, and will stay so for the foreseeable future. OK. Fair enough. But when precisely does the foreseeable future end? Because when the smartphone revolution hits the developing world, that’s when things are going to get really interesting, because it will also be their computer revolution and Internet revolution, all at the same time.
    • a whole cluster of factors make me think that rate of smartphone adoption in Africa will leave the rate of feature-phone adoption in the dust.
    • So here’s my prediction: in five years’ time, most sub-Saharan Africans will have smartphones. Too optimistic? I don’t think so; after all, from 2003-2008, basic mobile-phone penetration went from 6% to 40%, and I believe the above is a fairly convincing list of reasons to believe that smartphone adoption will outpace that. Still, it’s quite an extraordinary thought.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.



  1. […] week I am putting together a puzzle of ideas. On Monday I started with a story that most of Africa would have a smartphone in 5 years. Yesterday I wrote about how solar power is dropping in price quickly and worked best in places […]

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