Sunday, September 20, 2015

Deadly Mob Learning

The Australia's "National Broadband Network" (NBN) will cost more than $30B, but may may increase inequity of access, particularly for education in remote indigenous communities.

The NBN is planned to use fibre optic and hybrid cable to households in the city, fixed terrestrial wireless in regional areas and satellite broadband in remote areas.  But if applications are developed for the higher speed urban part of the network, they may not work as well (or at all) on the remote satellite service, or on wireless mobile devices.

Education was envisaged as one use for the NBN. But the NBN was designed on the assumption that the primary use of the Internet would be in the home (even the wireless part of the NBN is fixed, not mobile). If users are mobile, then the network may be of little use. In particular this will disadvantage remote indigenous communities, which already have limited access to services, including education.

Philip Townsend at Flinders University of South Australia, is researching connecting remote groups of teachers together for education with mobile devices, or deadly mob learning ("high quality group learning" iAustralian Aboriginal English):
  1. Guenther, J., McRae-Williams, E., & Townsend, P. (2012). Can m-and e-learning support pathways for meaningful vocation in remote communities?. AVETRA 15th Annual Conference. The Value and Voice of VET Research for individuals, industry, community and the nation, Rydges Capital Hill, ACT Retrieved July. Retrieved from
  2. Townsend, P. (2014). Deadly Remote Teacher Education by Mobile Devices. Retrieved from,%20Deadly%20remote%20teacher%20education%20by%20mobile%20devices_0.docx
  3. Townsend, P. (2014). Mobile Learning Engagement is Location Neutral. Transactions on Mobile Learning, 5. Retrieved from
  4. Townsend, P. B. (2015). Mob learning-digital communities for remote aboriginal and Torres strait islander tertiary students. Journal of Economic & Social Policy, 17(2), 20. Retrieved from

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