Creative M-Learning Technology for Rural Malaysia

Azlin Sharina Abdul Latef

The widespread use of mobile phones is spreading like wildfire. It is difficult to walk without colliding with a sea of people using mobile phones nowadays. In fact, there is a study reported the rapid growing of active mobile phone will reach 7.3 billion by 2014 which resulting the world having more mobile phone accounts than people on earth (International Telecommunications Union, 2013). The same situation applies to other portable devices.

The rise of mobile technology in the form of phones and tablets allowing computing power and wireless communication in the hands of millions of new users at prices they can afford and in a form that is easier to use than the desktop computer. This phenomenon indirectly leads to various kind of study involving portable or mobile devices thus changing the landscape of technology learning tools. The used of mobile technologies appears to be in line with the strategic goals in education besides facilitate and promoting learning anywhere and anytime. However, despite the realization of ubiquitous mobile infrastructures and practices in much of the developed world, a digital divide still exists in rural developing regions. They do not yet benefit from the widespread availability of information over the internet or the ability to consume, create and share multimedia content, due to the lack of internet and mobile connectivity, client devices and corresponding textual and computer literacy.

This research aims to explore the potential of new digital media content and mobile technology to support learning in rural Malaysia. As a Category 1 country listed by UNESCO in 2012, with a mature mobile market, high mobile phone penetration and strong ICT infrastructure, rural Malaysia will be a good context for exploring the potential of M-Learning technology. This study is hoping to reduce the significant digital and education gap between rural and urban communities in Malaysia.

The key requirements for learning technology in a rural village context, forms of existing materials are used in teaching and learning, kinds of multimedia content which is more effective for learning outcomes and the general principles apply to interaction design in this context are some of the main research questions in this study. By understanding the rural communities, this PhD aims to develop a high value application for the context and contribute lessons to theory and practise in multimedia technology design, human computer interaction and ICT4D.

Supervisors: Professor David Frohlich and Dr Janko Calic