Wednesday, October 25, 2006

MIT research scientist goes to Africa to study mobile technology

MIT Research Scientist, Dr. Nathan Eagle, goes to Kenya to research and study the future of mobile technology (i.e. cell phones). Why Africa you might ask? According the the MIT website, "Africa is well-suited as a testbed for the development of a mobile phone programming curriculum. Given their massive adoption and widespread use, as well as the recent technological advances in their computational power, mobile phones are ideal substitutes for the personal computer throughout the continent." Here are some more statistics about Africa and mobile technology from the MIT site:
  • Worldwide, there are more than 2.4 billion cellphone users, with more than 1,000 new customers added every minute.
  • 59 percent of these 2.4 billion people live in developing countries, making cellphones the first telecommunications technology in history to have more users there than in the developed world.
  • Mobile phone shipments grew 19 percent to 810 million units in 2005 and are expected to rise by 15 percent to 930 million units in 2006
  • Cellphone usage in Africa is growing almost twice as fast as any other region and jumped from 63 million users two years ago to 152 million today.
This is very interesting research for those of us that are interested in working to enable Africa with greater access to university education via online technologies. Dr. Bruce Edwards, Associate Dean of Distance Learning at BGSU, has traveled extensively to East Africa and is dedicated to bringing more education to the developing regions. I may also be traveling to Tanzania in the next year or so to explore the logistics of setting up a distance learning center on behalf of BGSU.

1 comment:

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