Mobile technology 'can transform personal and business development'
Mobile technology may be able to transform the face of education for young people looking to learn new skills and businesses that need to improve company training. According to an article written in the Guardian by Linda Raftree - supporter of the mEducation alliance - and Nick Martin, who is the president of an organisation providing IT training for social change, the widespread availability of the mobile channel could be crucial to educational and professional development and those managing youth and workforce projects should be looking to capitalise on existing technologies. The authors referred to a recent story from the Brookings Institute that stated there is not enough evidence in place describing what works in mobile education or mobiles for workplace advancement. However, it said firms should be able to make assumptions based on what worked for smaller pilot programmes that have used mobile learning. In addition, they pointed to recent figures published by the International Labour Organisation that indicated 74.8 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 were out of work in 2011, climbing by more than four million since 2007. While in some places this is due to the fact there are very few - or no - jobs, it is also because employers are failing to recognise the potential of apprentices to become fully-fledged professional workers after receiving right training. Therefore, the article stated, "the use of mobile devices to connect youth to education, workforce training and development and job opportunities seems like an obvious solution. Training youth with ICT skills seems like a quick fix that could resolve the skills gap". It drew on the words of John Traxler, director of the International Association for Mobile Learning, who recently gave a talk at the mEducation symposium and said organisations need to think about the learner - and not the interface of the device - being mobile. He suggested to make mobile function as a channel for workplace and personal development, less device-specific research needs to be carried out, while more should be done on understanding mobile learners.