Over the past few years, we have received many requests for information on the purchase and implementation of the Mobile Learning Lab. With input from our partners and other organizations, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ).
Below are some of the lessons we have learned:
Security of tablets, solar panels and other equipment
Our partners have dealt with this issue in various ways including placing the equipment in an inconspicuous locked storage box in the school or community, or putting a community group in charge of overnight security and distribution.
Insufficient number of tablets
Based on our experience, the optimal number of tablets is one per child. However, when this is not possible, it is preferable to have as many tablets as possible so that, even when sharing, children are able to maximize their time with the resources. Students invariably ask for more time with the tablets.
World Possible, which produces the RACHEL, has offices in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Guatemala and has been available to our partners to trouble shoot problems (see FAQ, point 6). World Possible also has a supportive community forum to help users share their experiences. The forum offers information on hardware and software and videos on how to use the RACHEL. Some partners have trained a young person in the community to be in charge of managing issues that might arise.
Accents in the videos which made them hard for the children to understand
It is preferable to have videos in the children’s mother tongue and that use familiar accents. Many partners have created content using material relevant for the local context and based on the local curriculum so children can get the most out of the resources available to them.
Insufficient local language content
For communities where English is not the children’s mother tongue, providing them with learning resources can be a challenge. More resources are being developed in other languages, namely French, Spanish, Hindi and Arabic and many apps and programs, such as KA Lite and Feed the Monster, are available in over 30 languages. Also, it is often possible to upload government educational curricular content, normally available in that country’s official language(s). For less widely spoken languages (such as indigenous languages) some of our partners have created content specifically for these communities.
Content does not reflect local community sensitivities
In this case, several partners decided to create their own content. For example, one of our partners put together resources related to sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence so that young people were still able to access useful content in a way that was age-appropriate, sensitive to cultural perspectives and acceptable to the local community.