Singaporean mobile operator Sing Tel has launched Genio, an interactive education service to be used with the local primary school curriculum. Genio is available for iOS tablets and smartphones, as well as through any online browser for computers and on Sing Tel mio TV. The service will be available for Android devices by the end of August. Through the service students can access and view educational videos, which have been jointly developed by the operators educational partners Learning Point and On Sponge, anywhere and at any time. After viewing each video lesson, students complete an in-app assessment. Although users are not charged for the Genio app, customers must purchase each school subject for SGD 118.96 (US $95.16). Subscribers are being offered a discounted cost—SGD 108.98 (US $87.16) per subject—for purchases made by 30 June. Users can access the subjects that they bought for 12 months from the purchase date. Genio is rolling out this service for Primary grades 3 through 6, with the periodic addition of Math, Science and English classes.
Mobile learning projects such as Sing Tel’s Genio service are available sporadically around the world; however, according to a combined report from UNESCO and GSMA, large-scale programs are rare, particularly those that receive government support. In this category are a number of initiatives that leverage mobile technology to speed up progress, such as the Education for All programs that have been launched by the governments of Thailand, Uruguay and Rwanda. Nonetheless, the report’s findings indicate that m-Education could be a US $70 billion opportunity by 2020 due to the fact that mobile technology can widen access to education and improve its quality.
The digital behaviors of today’s students foster the need to educate them with more flexibility, mobility and immediacy than what was provided by older educating systems. The move toward virtual and interactive learning is beginning to change the education landscape; however, institutions have been slow to step out of their comfort zones and traditional methods of teaching. The GSMA/UNESCO report indicates that despite handset availability and improved connectivity, mobile learning implementations are still very much in the early stages, and that educators and policy makers need training and guidance, with support from the mobile industry.
Mobile technology’s impact on transforming education cannot be overemphasized. It will remove education from the classroom to a certain extent, and it will also be a bridge between in-class and out-of-class learning. Mobile operators can embrace this flourishing opportunity in several ways. There is the obvious need for devices and connectivity, but to go further, MNOs can partner with educators to provide technical support and advice in addition to hosting services. An additional step would be to take on the role of complete m-Education provider as Sing Tel has done with its Genio service, and we expect to see other operators doing the same by offering m-Learning solutions to academic institutions.
The above item appeared in a recent issue of The Tarifica Alert, a weekly resource that analyzes noteworthy developments in the telecoms industry from around the world. To access all of the latest articles and issues: http://www.tarifica.com/TarificaAlert.aspx