Using Mobile Communications Technology to Support School-based, In-service Teacher Training

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded an investigation of the effective use of information and communication technology (ICT) in rural areas of Nepal, Bangladesh, Mongolia, and Samoa. In these areas, the multidimensional elements of poverty diminish access to and the quality of education for the poorest people. The study assessed the potential for ICT, combined with training, to improve these education factors for people whose educational opportunities are severely limited. In Bangladesh, the focus was on creating an opportunity for school-based in-service teacher training with the support of mobile communications technology. RTI equipped a cluster of 10 schools with mobile telephones that had advanced multimedia and communications features. A standard 2-week face-to-face training was converted to 6-weeks distance mode, and a pair of teachers from each school completed the course using print materials, practical school-level exercises, and communication on a regular basis with trainers and teacher trainees in other schools. The results show that the distance mode can be as effective as face-to-face training, and it is the strongly preferred mode by training participants.