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Smartphones ­sed to Engage with Learners


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Sean Lyons

Waterford Institute of Technology project manager Sean Lyons

Credit: Courtesy of Waterford Institute of Technology

The mCommunity project is a new partnership between Pembrokeshire College, Gower College Swansea, Wales, and Waterford Institute of Technology Telecommunications Software & Services Group that will help educators deal with long-term and general unemployment using state-of-the-art telecommunications technology.

The project has developed a learning platform designed for adults that are currently unemployed or not taking formal education classes. The users are given a smartphone that has access to more than 15 virtual course modules with topics ranging from confidence-building to interview techniques, with the goal of improving employment potential and opportunities through education.

The mCommunity project was developed using Zimbie, an instant messaging and social networking service, which was used to create a flexible communication and virtual learning platform. Course tutors can use the mCommunity portal to specifically develop a module for an individual learner. An important component is the presence function, which allows tutors to see when learners are online and monitor how they are using and engaging with the mCommunity platform.

"The programs are structured to allow learners to continue working in full-time employment whilst continuing to study part-time via a mobile device," says Gower College Swansea's Rob Murphy.

From Waterford Institute of Technology
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