“One of the main goals of this project is to keep learning and to keep teaching…we must always ask ourselves what we are and what we are doing for our community”
M is very passionate about Mobile Voices, he speaks about the project in a very focused and professional manner. When asked about his vision for the project he excitedly describes how he has much faith that Mobile Voices can become a useful tool for a anyone who has a mobile phone and is curious about it. “Before participating in the project I had no idea that I could do so many things with my phone, and that’s the case among 90% of the population—most people carry their phones and don’t know what they are useful for,” M describes. Teaching and learning are two things that M considers essential to the project, because one of the most valuable results of this effort is that people will inevitable learn more about technology and discover new ways to express themselves. When workers see M taking photos on his phone, they assume that he is simply saving them onto the memory, but M makes it a point to explain what he is doing with the photos and why. “At that moment I use that space to explain to them that the photos go onto a blog on the Internet and many of them are very curious to learn more,” he says. This cycle of learning and teaching is particularly important to M because he admits that he had to open his own mind in order to embrace the idea of using a mobile phone in new ways. While at first he did not entirely understand the potential for mobile phones to be useful tools, he is now excited to share this knowledge with others.
“My role in Mobile Voices is more like a responsibility to my community, to the system and to this organization…I’m responsible for communicating to others what I’m learning.”
M has very positive things to say about the project and his involvement. When asked to describe his best experience thus far he reminisces on a moment in which three PCT members worked together to draft a narrative for the printed newsletter they’ve been working on. “Three minds joined and we worked together, it was impressive…it looks like one person wrote it…based on what we have learned in the project we have also been able to expand our writing abilities,” M describes. While working with technology can be frustrating, M says he has been fortunate enough to be working with a phone that is quite cooperative. “I think my colleagues have had problems with their phones but I’m in lucky in that my phone never fails…it’s my own phone and I’ve been working with it from the beginning,” M notes. M also expresses how grateful he is to have students from the university working with the team. He describes how he is very satisfied with everyone’s hard work and feels thankful to have students involved in the project because they contribute valuable knowledge.
“We all have different systems of living but I think that the mobile phone is a basic tool…I have always had it with me but I never used it adequately before…I see it now as a basic tool that has helped me progress in this country.”
M used his mobile phone to send text messages and take photos before he started participating in Mobile Voices. What has changed now, however, is what he does with the content that he captures on his phone. Instead of simply saving photographs, M has learned how to upload images onto a computer and edit, print or send them. “You can create so many things with photos, If I see something I automatically take a photo of it and then I create a story around the image,” he describes. M never rejected the concept of a mobile phone, but now looks at it in a completely different way as he takes full advantage of the phone’s features and capabilities. Coming into this project with a background in writing and storytelling, M feels that his involvement in Mobile Voices has strengthened his ability to tell stories and to incorporate visual elements into his writing. “I am very grateful for this project and towards those who are working to develop this system because it is a very useful thing for everyone, and more people are going to discover this when we start teaching them what we have learned.”