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12.09.2014 - Communication & Information Sector

UNESCO to host online Oxford Union Debate on mLearning

Steve Vosloo, Osama Manzar and Barbara Reynolds - CC BY SA

Starting on 18 September, UNESCO will be holding a 9-day online Oxford Union debate on the topic of mobile learning (mLearning). Moderated by Barbara Reynolds (Guyana), the debate will feature Steve Vosloo (South Africa) as the Idealist and Osama Manzar (India) as the Realist. This Oxford Union debate will be held on the WSIS Community platform, allowing the public to actively participate and influence the outcome of the debate.

As mLearning continues to evolve, the possibilities for mobile learning appear endless. The concept alone of education being freely accessible through a mobile device opens the door to endless possibilities. However, mLearning has been largely debated over the years despite its potential for global education transformation, expanding learning at home, and reaching marginalized populations from both a geographical and social standpoint.

UNESCO aims to rectify this discrepancy with the launch of an Oxford Union debate on the topic of mLearning on 18 September.

The concept of mLearning, or mobile learning, can be described as the use of handheld technologies to facilitate, support, enhance and/or extend the reach of teaching and learning. mLearning materials are virtually accessible from any location and may be used at any time, creating a form of distance learning that allows content to be open-sourced, shared and customizable.

Although applauded for its convenience in accessibility, mLearning has also been criticized for its inconveniences: lengthy reading on small electronic screens; limited battery life on mobile phones, and limited platform availability.

The 9-day online debate intends to extensively cover every single highlight and drawback of mLearning as a global education tool.  

UNESCO’s Oxford Union debate is proud to have Barbara Reynolds (Guyana) as the debate moderator with Steve Vosloo (South Africa) as the Idealist and Osama Manzar (India) as the Realist.

Steve Vosloo plans on drawing from his experience as a mobile learning specialist in developing countries to convince audiences – as well as his opponent – that mLearning is here to stay.

As our Realist, Osama Manzar’s job will be to pick apart Vosloo’s Idealistic vision with the harsh facts and realities of mLearning in today’s world and education systems.

With many opportunities to get involved, this debate on mLearning will allow participants to simply follow along, vote or comment – all on UNESCO’s WSIS Community platform.

The debate will be clearly structured around three key phases of discussion:

1)     The Opening: 18 September 2014

2)     The Rebuttal: 23 September 2014

3)     The Closing: 26 September 2014

Create an account and participate in this exciting debate on mLearning by visiting us at the Oxford Debate on Mobile Learning.

To find out more about the UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative, follow us on Twitter @YouthMobile_ or visit our website: www.youthmobile.org

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