A Model for Teaching Mobile Application Development for Social Changes: Implementation and Lessons Learned in Senegal

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Africa happens to be one of the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world today. Though, the data shows that there are still very limited numbers of mobile phone applications in the continent that have any impact on the populations. It is also felt that future African graduates will be instrumental in the development of mobile applications in Africa in the days to come. This paper presents a model of teaching mobile application development for social changes emphasizing software engineering practices. The model also lay stress on the development of an ecosystem including universities, the industry, organizations and associations. Under the model, students are given the task to develop and deploy applications for people of their local communities. This model has already been used successfully in Senegal. The paper presents applications for craft workers and young children that were developed as a part of the project. The paper also presents the findings and lessons learnt form this project along with the guidelines for instructors who are interested in carrying out similar initiatives in other parts of the continent. The model presented in this document shows how students gained technical knowledge in mobile technology while being exposed to software engineering and entrepreneurial opportunities in the mobile service industry.