Saturday, November 24, 2018

Micro-credentials by Mobile Phone for the Solomon Islands

Exploring the mobile internet,
Solomon Islands,
Photo: Irene Scott/DFAT.
The Australian Government is paying for a fibre optic cable to the Solomon Islands. With the Solomon Islands Technology for Development Challenge, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has asked for ideas how this could help young people with skills and education. The winning idea will receive up to $250,000 AUD for implementation.

I have entered the Challenge with "Micro-credentials by Mobile Phone", to develop courses delivered via smart phones, which provide a vocationally relevant credential, within months, rather than taking years. The winning idea will receive up to $250,000 AUD for implementation, as part of the Australia’s Cyber Cooperation Program. I outlined my proposal to the Australian Computer Society's Canberra conference a few months ago National IT Conference in Colombo in October and will be presenting a short paper on it at the 7th International Conference on Teaching, Assessment, and Learning for Engineering, in Woolongong, 6 December 2018.

Micro-credentials by Mobile Phone

Explain your idea

Provide short courses to students via mobile phones. To provide maximum benefit, the courses would provide a micro-credential, as well as industry certification, and credit towards more advanced qualifications. The courses would be designed and delivered jointly, by institutions across the Indo-Pacific, to mixed classes of students from the region.

Who will benefit from your idea?

Courses will be delivered to those with at least a primary school education. The course content will be designed to work on low cost phones now available and with limited network access. Initially courses would focus on teaching teachers in how to use the technology for teaching. Courses would connect students from across the Indo-Pacific, reducing isolation. Micro-Credentials would be achievable with a few weeks study, unlike conventional qualifications, which take months or years.

How will your idea have a development impact?

Providing training and qualifications will improve the prospects for employment of youth employment. The use of short mobile courses will provide education to those who could not be catered for in conventional courses.

How developed is your idea?

Research & Early Testing
A short formal paper on this has been accepted for the 2018 IEEE 7th International Conference on Teaching, Assessment, and Learning for Engineering (TALE), in Woolongong, 4-7 December 2018.
A project at the ANU has developed prototype software to deliver courses:

Tell us more about you

I am an independent educational technology consultant, and an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Research School of Computer Science at the Australian National University. I am a Certified Professional member of the Australian Computer Society, as well as a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and have a a Master of Education in Distance Education  and am the author of "Digital Teaching In Higher Education".
My plan is to make use of some of the 300 ANU Techlauncher students to build software, and education students to build content. I am also looking to work with academic, and business, partners.
Some of the other ideas proposed so far are: 

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