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July 14, 2006

What if a mobile phone could make your life better?


Came across this amazing article in the Washington Post yesterday (thanks Kareem!). I've been fired up about mobile for a long time now but reading this article just adds more fuel to the fire. It's soooo nice to see an application of technology that truly changes lives for the better. Not that there's anything wrong with the plethora of RSS aggregators and video sharing service out there...but at the end of the day the question is whether we're using technology or whether technology is using us right?

I definitely have no desire to wax philosophical here but at the same time I think it's refreshing to see a clear case where technology is improving peoples' lives and presents the opportunity to possibly lift an entire generation out of poverty through enhanced communication, better business possibilities, etc.

So what does this have to do with audio learning? Well...my gut tells me that when the audio learning thing hits the developing world it's not going to come via the PC but largely via the mobile phone. Imagine this...kids growing up in rural Africa learning English and other basic skills via a cell phone. Based on what I'm reading in this article I don't think that's too far off. It might be a while before the sub-$100 laptop is a reality. During that time the whole effort might be leap-frogged by a cheap cellular phone that can provide voice and data access.

I'll admit I know nothing about this.

This might be an idealistic Pollyannish notion from a guy who lacks basic know-how about what goes on over there.

Or not.

A buddy of mine reminded me yesterday that the only limitation is our imagination. So for today I'm going to imagine a world in which kids from Africa and other third world countries grow up listening to educational and inspirational audio material and use the knowledge they've gained to create sustainable businesses and teach others and lift their countries out of crushing poverty. Will that dream become a reality? I don't know but we're going to do our darnedest to make it come true.

Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for all of your support of LearnOutLoud. We're experiencing record levels of traffic this week and I want to express how excited I am about what's going on. After all, we're just getting started.