Mobile video initiative for Tanzanian classrooms

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 13-10-2011

Teachers in Tanzania are increasingly downloading video content via Nokia N95 mobile phones connected to TVs in the classroom as part of an International Youth Foundation (IYF) and government-encouraged education initiative.
Provided in partnership with Nokia, Vodacom and USAID, the Bridgelt initiative sees videos of between four to seven minutes long downloaded in a minute or two to the school's mobile phone. Each video is accompanied by a lesson plan, to encourage teachers and pupils to interact with its content.
The programme is "unique", Joseph Mattogoro, Bridgelt advisor told Al Jazeera English (AJE), because of the use of mobiles, rather than DVDs or video cassettes. "The use of mobile phones to download is more efficient than sending video packages to all the schools, and the storage of content is more reliable."
The intuitive is being implemented in 150 schools across seven regions and 17 districts of Tanzania, and has the support of both pupils and teachers – although electricity shortages and a limited number of devices sometimes present a challenge.
"I have 70 students in my class, the use of video helps me stimulate interest and keep their attention as they seem to enjoy learning in this way," Dorika Myamataga, a teacher at Bryceson Primary School in Kinondoni, Dar es Salaam told AJE.
"Most of my fellow teachers appreciate the use of this technology in the class, but at the moment we only have one TV and mobile phone per school, which isn't enough."
The IYF has estimated that over 50% of children that complete primary school in the East African country are unable to read adequately or demonstrate sound maths and science skills – so technological innovation is being explored to bridge this gap.
The Bridgelt initiative, also known in Tanzania as Elimu Kwa Tecknologia (education through technology), has also reportedly attracted interest from other African countries.