Scientific Animations Without Borders℠: An International Collaborative Approach for Building Scientific Educational Materials for Use on Cell Phones and the Internet in Developing Nations

By Julia Bello-Bravo, Francisco Seufferheld, Laura D. Steele, Tolulope A. Agunbiade, Daniel Guillot, German Cutz and Barry R. Pittendrigh.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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

International organizations, government agencies, non-governmental agencies, researchers, adult educators, and extension agents have long sought effective ways to provide useful information to the least educated people throughout the world. Although there is no absolute relationship between poverty and illiteracy, many poor people are also low-literate learners (or illiterate) and many live in rural areas of developing countries. Most educational materials targeting low-literate or illiterate individuals have involved the use of books, radio programs, or television. However, an estimated 80% of people living in rural areas of developing countries now have access to information via cell phones. The rapid development of cell phones and the Internet has also changed how people learn in that both literate and illiterate learners are increasingly familiar with and receptive to technology-mediated activities. Regardless of their level of formal education, many people interact with technology, discover things for themselves, and learn through multi-media. Therefore, providing useful information to illiterate individuals should no longer depend only on books, radio, or television programs; educators should now recognize that the cell phone is a valuable learning tool. Here we describe how information in the form of short animations can be transferred to those who deliver information to low-literate learners and to the learners themselves via cell phones. Voice overlays in a diversity of languages can be added to these animations so that ideas can be efficiently shared across language groups. The animated videos, which are being developed by Scientific Animations Without Borders℠ (SAWBO℠), can be viewed on cell phones or other video capable electronic devices. The development of these animations is multi-disciplinary and horizontal in that it involves the free exchange of ideas amongst collaborators through the utilization of social networks and cell phone technology.

Keywords: Adult Literacy Level, Indigenous Knowledge, Cell Phones, Bluetooth® Technology, Animated Videos, Developing Countries

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.49-62. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.119MB).

Dr. Julia Bello-Bravo

Field Extension Specialist, Hispanic Programming, Extension, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA

Dr. Bello is part of an international team of educators and scientists focused on developing novel extension strategies for developing nations. Dr. Bello’s current work focuses on issues in Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Mali as they relate to specialty crops. She also works on issues of how to increase inclusiveness of under-represented people in educational networks and systems.

Francisco Seufferheld

Extension Staff, Extension, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA

Laura D. Steele

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Illinois, USA

Tolulope A. Agunbiade

Doctoral Student, Department of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA

Dr. Daniel Guillot

Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina

Dr. German Cutz

University of Connecticut, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources., University of Connecticut, Fairfield, Connecticut, USA

Expert community and adult educator with over twenty years experience in participatory curriculum development and implementation for marginalized and at-risk populations (rural and indigenous communities, and women, youth, and children at risk). Field experience in developed and developing countries includes: coordinating projects such as small farmers’ diversification project, train the trainers programs, outreach services to marginalized populations, promoting community-driven development (teaching and mentoring micro-entrepreneurs), and implementing teaching methodologies for semi-and non-literates.

Prof. Barry R. Pittendrigh

Endowed Chair Professor, Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA

Dr. Pittendrigh is an endowed chair professor at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He has worked in the areas of international development and extension for the past decade. His work includes development of novel teaching tools for genomics and more recently he has been working on strategies for deployment of development messages for low-literate learners.