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Frontrunners in ICT: Kenyan runners’ improvement in training, informal learning and economic opportunities using smartphones
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Political Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Stockholm University, Sweden.
2014 (English)In: ijEDict - International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, ISSN 1814-0556, E-ISSN 1814-0556, Vol. 10, no 4, 4-20 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The primary aim of this research was to study how mobile technology shapes, changes, and develops informal learning outside the classroom and school environment. In this study we provided each of the 30 Kenyan elite runners with a simple Android smartphone and free Internet for one year. This research project was a developmental intervention with a participatory action research approach, and aimed to facilitate innovation and examine how the runners developed their training, informal learning, and economic opportunities using a smartphone. Logs and tracking of smartphone usage recorded quantitative data, and interviews and participatory observations gathered qualitative data. Key findings were that the smartphone improved the runners’ training and race performance and created business opportunities. Second, a smartphone with an Internet connection empowered marginalized groups and augmented informal learning opportunities. Third, that a smartphone was not a significant technological hurdle for impoverished or uneducated individuals. Fourth, the participants were able to learn with little or no guidance or scaffolding. Fifth, the tracking log data indicated both a breadth and depth to individual learning. This participatory action research made a significant impact on the participants’ lives and the most common statement from the interviews was the statement “it helps us a lot”.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 10, no 4, 4-20 p.
Keyword [en]
Mobile learning; informal learning; smartphones; Kenyan runners; ICT4D; M4D
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-114854OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-114854DiVA: diva2:792803
Available from: 2015-03-05 Created: 2015-03-05 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. New ways of learning: Participatory action research and Kenyan runners’ appropriation of smartphones to improve their daily lives and participation in m-learning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>New ways of learning: Participatory action research and Kenyan runners’ appropriation of smartphones to improve their daily lives and participation in m-learning
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Nya vägar till lärande : Deltagande aktionsforskning kring kenyanska löpares appropriering av smarta telefoner i vardagen för mobilt lärande
Abstract [en]

In Kenya, mobile technology is widely used, with more and more people gaining access to the Internet. Mobile technology has the potential to support learning and improve lives, particular those of impoverished people. In this study, 30 Kenyan runners from poor backgrounds and with limited formal education participated. They were provided with a basic smartphone and Internet data bundles for one year so that they could participate in m-learning. The participatory action research approach was used. Sources of data included interviews, observations, fieldnotes, web inquiries, and mobile log files. A sociocultural perspective was used to analyze how the participants learned informally using the smartphones.

Findings indicate that the Kenyan runners’ rapid appropriation and mastery of the smartphones was based on their curiosity and interest in sports. The runners’ skills and knowledge increased over time, showing how digital resources improved their training, increased their social interactions, developed entrepreneurial skills, created awareness in and with the rest of society, and improved participation in m-learning. Sociocultural analysis showed that feedback from peers and the tool itself were both significant for learning. The participants themselves influenced the research process. From their interest emerged an online course (MOOC) about human rights. Key challenges in the process were power consumption, lack of electricity, and the availability and cost of Internet access. A lack of critical attitude about content on the Internet was also discernible. The main findings highlight how mobile technology can not only improve daily lives, but also develop new ways for people to participate in mlearning.

Abstract [sv]

I Kenya är användningen av mobilteknologi och Internet utbredd och ökar stadigt. Mobilteknik visar sig ha potential att öka medborgares intressen för lärande och kunskap, och därigenom förbättra livssituationen särskilt för fattiga människor. Den här studien syftade till att med deltagande aktionsforskning analysera hur sådana processer går till. I studien deltog 30 kenyanska löpare från fattiga förhållanden och med begränsad formell utbildning. Deltagarna utrustades med en enkel smartphone med fri surf under ett år och följdes med intervjuer, observationer, webbenkäter och mobilspårning. Deras lärandeprocesser analyserades ur ett sociokulturellt perspektiv om hur teknik tillägnas – approrieras – och används i vardagliga praktiker och utvecklar lärande.

Resultaten visade att de kenyanska löparna snabbt approprierade telefonerna och fann utifrån nyfikenhet och intresset för idrott olika sätt att använda dem. Kunskaper och färdigheter utvecklades över tid och de digitala resurserna förbättrade löparnas träning, ökade sociala interaktioner, utvecklade entreprenöriella färdigheter och nya synsätt på sina möjligheter i världen.

Den sociokulturella analysen visade även att feedback från andra deltagare och/eller av tekniken i sig hade betydelse för lärandet. Forskningsprocessen påverkades av deltagarna och utifrån deras intresse skapades en on-line kurs (MOOC) om Mänskliga rättigheter. Problem i studien var telefonens energiförbrukning, brist på elektricitet, tillgång till och kostnad för Internet samt deltagarnas kritiska förhållningssätt till Internet. Det övergripande resultatet är att mobilteknologi kan förbättra livsvillkor och skapa nya vägar till lärande.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. 145 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 189
Keyword
Participatory action research, m-learning, sociocultural perspective, Deltagande aktionsforskning, mobilt lärande, sociokulturellt perspektiv
National Category
Didactics Pedagogy Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-115804 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-115804 (DOI)978-91-7519-124-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-04-24, I:101, Hus I, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-03-20 Created: 2015-03-20 Last updated: 2015-03-24Bibliographically approved

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