This paper is part of the UNESCO Working Paper Series on Mobile Learning. The Series seeks to better understand how mobile technologies can be used to improve educational access, equity and quality around the world. It comprises fourteen individual papers that will be published throughout 2012.
This paper, which will inform the forthcoming guidelines, raises key issues and questions that need to be considered when formulating policies related to mobile learning. It draws on the first twelve papers of the UNESCO Working Paper Series on Mobile Learning, which include global reviews of mobile learning initiatives and their policy implications, as well as reviews of how mobile technologies can support teachers and teacher development. This paper seeks to equip policy stakeholders with a better understanding of mobile learning and its contexts. The sections that follow provide UNESCO’s working definition of mobile learning and consider how policies related to mobile learning should interface with existing ICT in education policies. A set of guiding principles, which should be adhered to when creating mobile learning policies, is presented. The remainder of the paper identifies and discusses the key issues related to mobile learning, some directly within the sphere of education and others related to it. The main areas of focus are infrastructure, connectivity and technology provision; cost of usage and government funding; teaching, learning, and education planning and management; and inclusive and safe education. Many existing resources related to ICT and education policy, including those published by UNESCO, are helpful and relevant to mobile learning. Where appropriate, this paper draws on and points to those more detailed resources.