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.
The Africa and Middle East (AME) region suffers an endemic crisis in its teaching and teacher development systems. This crisis manifests as a shortage in the number of qualified teachers and a dearth of motivated teachers who can deliver quality teaching and learning within a twenty-first-century educational context. It is widely believed that addressing this challenge requires a range of interventions, including the integration and use of information and communications technology (ICT) and open and distance learning (ODL) opportunities (Perraton, 2007). More recently, the rapid growth of mobile phone subscriptions in the region has sparked interest in how mobile phones in particular might enhance ODL opportunities for the professional development of teachers, and support teachers in their pedagogical practices and administrative duties. The purpose of this paper is to provide an illustrative overview of emerging mobile learning programmes that seek to improve or expand access to teacher development and support the changing roles of teachers in the AME region.