The Potential Impact of Mobile-Assisted Language Learning on Women and Girls in Africa: A Literature Review

By Ronda Zelezny-Green.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Goal 5 of the United Nations’ Education for All policy aims to provide equal opportunities for education, regardless of gender, by the year 2015 (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 1995-2010). By using mobile phone technology, women in Africa could be provided with equal access to language education, at the least. The proliferation of mobile phone usage and ownership in Africa and the need to narrow the current gender gap present in the educational systems of many African countries offer a ripe opportunity to use mobile-assisted language learning as a way to promote and increase the participation of educated African women on the world stage.

This literature review will examine the potential applications and intersections that mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) has with gender in Africa, and will propose new research in this emerging field of study. Questions to be explored include:


• What are the current barriers to mobile phone access and usage for African women and girls?

• Is there potential to use the mobile phone as a medium for African women and girls to learn a second language, given these barriers?

• What language learning formats for mobile phones could work well in the context of the lives of African women and girls?

• If there is potential for implementation of these formats, how could the lives of women and girls in Africa be impacted by mobile-assisted language learning?

Keywords: Mobile-assisted Language Learning, Girls’ Education, Women’s Education, Africa, Mobile Phones, Language Education

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.69-82. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 568.146KB).

Ms. Ronda Zelezny-Green

Graduate Student, Applied Linguistics Department, University of Massachusetts at Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Ronda Zelezny-Green is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who has lived on four continents and has visited 28 countries. She was an ESL/EFL educator for four years and is now a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics program (concentration foreign language pedagogy) at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. She currently works in higher education providing multicultural education for college students, along with youth leadership workshops for high school women in New England. She also virtually volunteers for international NGOs based in the USA and in Tanzania, focusing on work with global education and technology. Ms. Zelezny-Green has written articles on culture, lifestyles, and current events in the Association for African-American Linguists quarterly newsletter as well as MADA English Journal, the only all-English newspaper in Madagascar. She enjoys reading, writing, traveling, experiencing new cultures, and learning new languages. Her head and her heart are still in Africa.