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Researchers Use Cell Phone Videos to Educate in Developing World

animated cell phonesMost aid-based initiatives in the developing world have traditionally involved substantial amounts of money and manpower. But a team of researchers from the University of Illinois have come up with a more efficient and cost-effective way to deliver instructional materials to poor countries: animated cell-phone videos.

As part of a new project called Scientific Animations Without Borders, the team collaborated via e-mail with aid workers, farmers and entrepreneurs in developing countries to produce instructional content on various subjects. Once finalized, the scripts for each video were then sent to an animator, who translated the content into animated clips that can be distributed through the Web or a cell phone -- a commodity that's become commonplace even among the world's poorest populations.

Thus far, the team's videos have provided information on safe pest-control techniques, boiling water to avoid cholera, and making butter. The voice-over narration in each clip can also be replaced with the language of a particular country or region, which has enabled the team to distribute their videos across Africa, Asia and South America.

"This is a very different paradigm from some other current development projects, where U.S.-based educators are flown to another part of the world, interact with people in the field for a few weeks to several months, and leave," professor Barry Pittendrigh told Innovation News Daily. "From a financial perspective, this is a much cheaper way to do international development."

Tags: aid, cellphones, CellphoneVideo, DevelopingWorld, education, top, training, UniversityOfIllinois, video