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 International Journal of Education and Development using ICT > Vol. 10, No. 4 (2014) open journal systems 

Frontrunners in ICT: Kenyan runners’ improvement in training, informal learning and economic opportunities using smartphones

Per Olof Hansson, Linköping University, Sweden
William Jobe, Stockholm University, Sweden

The primary aim of this research was to study how mobile technology shapes, changes, and develops informal learning outside the classroom and school environment. In this study we provided each of the 30 Kenyan elite runners with a simple Android smartphone and free Internet for one year. This research project was a developmental intervention with a participatory action research approach, and aimed to facilitate innovation and examine how the runners developed their training, informal learning, and economic opportunities using a smartphone. Logs and tracking of smartphone usage recorded quantitative data, and interviews and participatory observations gathered qualitative data. Key findings were that the smartphone improved the runners’ training and race performance and created business opportunities. Second, a smartphone with an Internet connection empowered marginalized groups and augmented informal learning opportunities. Third, that a smartphone was not a significant technological hurdle for impoverished or uneducated individuals. Fourth, the participants were able to learn with little or no guidance or scaffolding. Fifth, the tracking log data indicated both a breadth and depth to individual learning. This participatory action research made a significant impact on the participants’ lives and the most common statement from the interviews was the statement “it helps us a lot”.

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International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology. ISSN: 1814-0556