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SMILE (Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment). Advancement of Knowledge by Inquiries. Stone Age – Understanding diseases Why is she sick? A) She is cursed B) She has sinned C) She is unfortunate D) God knows Bury them or pray for them.

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advancement of knowledge by inquiries
Advancement of Knowledge by Inquiries

Stone Age – Understanding diseases

Why is she sick?

A) She is cursed

B) She has sinned

C) She is unfortunate

D) God knows

Bury them or pray for them

What is disease? (Inquiry in 2050)

The answer will be very different from today’s responses.

Why is he sick?

A) He is infected by bacterium, virus, prion, or fungus

B) He is prone to be susceptible to herpes virus because…

C) His immune system is set to deteriorate after 50

D) He is born with a genetic structure that…

Knowledge will continue to advance.

Advancement in molecular biology and Genome sequencing is

reshaping what we know about human biology, health, and medicine.

current model
Current model

Teachers come up with questions while students spend a lot of time with rote memorization and simple recall activities.

a very small step toward a paradigm shift
A “very small step” toward a paradigm shift

SMILE (Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment)

SMILE consists of an open source mobile learning application and mobile interaction management system.

SMILE process

Mobility, Social Networking, & Gamification



Ad-Hoc Version

W/out Internet access

GLOBAL Version

with Internet access

smile enables students to
SMILE enables students to:


Synthesize, Solve,

Reflect, Evaluate, Analyze, Present, Discuss, & Exchange Questions.

SMILE is subject-independent inquiry

learning environment.

Combination of collaboration and

competition based on needs.

Leverage mobile media.

Questions are learning objects,

discussion topics, & evaluation vector.

Learning Analytics


Science - Textbook content remixing

Questions from students’ curiosities


Students generating questions. (Top Left).

Sample student-generated question by remixing own textbook content. (Top right)

Student powering the SMILE network server with car battery (Left) .


Math – Extreme seriousness

Question quality / Team Competition


Math – Multi-age/ multi ability group

Advanced questions challenge less advanced students

Advanced students benefit from diverse questions


Questions in Swahili and English.

No textbook. Only the teacher owns textbooks.

Learning English by creating questions with photos. (Bottom)

Health Education-

Barcelo Medical University- Argentina

Selebra- celebra


In 1851?


Prince Albert

Queen Victoria

  • High engagement.
  • Mobile media and network make learning interesting and interactive.
  • Mobile – portability, versatile features, affordable technology, sharable, & simplicity – Sustainable & Scalable.
  • Students collaborate within own groups and compete against other groups.
  • Learning and assessment take place at the same time.
  • Teachers as facilitators and subject matter experts.
  • SMILE could be used for all learning scenarios in all conditions.
  • Simple and low cost implementation (share & rotate the use of devices).
  • Students are not used to make questions.
  • Early questions are all simple recall questions.
  • Question quality is much better in
  • developed countries.
  • Question quality improves over time,
  • but require many sessions.
  • Must be integrated in existing curriculum first.
  • Teachers often want to have students make
  • practice test questions, not open inquiries.
  • GLOBAL SMILE will be available everywhere around the world for any devices with browsers.
  • Students should be able to exchange questions globally.
  • Packaging with open education content for developing regions(e.g., Tanzania – National curriculum).
smile consortium
SMILE Consortium
  • SMILE Consortium is an Open Source software development project led by Stanford, Marvell and other founding members.
  • SMILE cloud computer will support OTA software updates, keeping the hardware updated as new versions of SMILE software become available.
  • We need educators to help improve the software and participate in SMILE Open Source project by filing bugs, testing, providing pre-canned questions, etc.