Using mobiles to teach English

Developing Telecoms has a very interesting story on how in Bangladesh, mobiles are being used by the BBC to teach English.

Mobile users in Bangladesh have accessed more than 1 million English lessons using a new service, BBC Janala (‘Window’), which is promising to transform the way people learn language through m-technology in the developing world. Launched in just November 2009 by the BBC World Service Trust, the service has proved hugely popular with the country’s growing 50 million mobile users, many of whom want to learn English to improve their access to the global economy.

The first of its kind in the world, BBC Janala has turned the mobile phone into a low-cost education device by offering hundreds of 3 minute audio lessons and SMS quizzes through people’s handsets. By simply dialling 3000, almost anyone can learn with new classes each day ranging from: ‘Essential English’ for beginners, to ‘How to tell a story’ for those more advanced.

The BBC World Service Trust is pioneering the use of mobiles in South Asia for education and empowerment, including using ring tones for safe sex awareness in India.

When will the languorous ICT Agency of Sri Lanka, which itself needs lessons in English, realise the domestic potential of these cutting-edge regional examples?

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