Mobile devices today are introducing exciting new possibilities when it comes to digital learning. For-profit Corporations are jumping on board, but the educational industry is largely leading the way for innovation in this space.
When I mention mobile devices, I am largely referring to smartphones and tablets – I suppose an ultra-portable computer might fall into the same category, but personally I don’t see these as truly mobile (but I could see a case being made).
These new, streamlined technologies are very much ingrained with today’s K-12 students. A recent survey saw 47% of students say that they have used a mobile app for learning purposes.
Students aren’t the only ones jumping on board. Another study found that 60% of faculty thought that students were more motivated by lessons that incorporated an iPad (compared to those who did not). Roughly 67% of the faculty felt that the iPad also improved the quality of the students’ work.
So what makes mobile devices so appealing in a classroom setting? First, the mobile approach can encourage student engagement with the content. For example, students can answer polls, tweet questions, and look up information during lectures.
In addition to finding real-time information, an app can also provide a student with a convenient study tool. Consider that there are a good number of book publishers now putting their content online – meaning that a student can leverage course content on-the-go.
Which leads into another major benefit of mobile learning: it is extremely portable. Smartphones weight just a fraction of other devices, such as a laptop.
As with anything, there are natural downsides to mobile learning. First, it is difficult for students to avoid distractions, opting to watch a funny YouTube video instead of the lesson lecture.
Also, it is harder to verify the authenticity of a quality educational source. The internet is a bit of a free-for-all, and the actual validity of much of the content can be questioned. If students leverage this content for their studies, they may be relying upon inaccurate information.
The future of mobile learning looks promising. Undoubtedly we will see an increased usage in both the corporate and educational settings. That said, ideal learning never relies upon one method. Mobile learning is at its best when it can be used to supplement other delivery methods.
Student Engagement & Experience Journal | apple.com | depts.washington.edu | mobl21.com | campustechnology.com | education.com