Mobile Learning Can Transform Education, Engage Students, and Improve Outcomes
Today, The Brookings Institution just released a paper in conjunction with the event Mobile Learning: Transforming Education and Engaging Students and Teachers hosted by the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings at the same day.
Mobile learning represents a way to address a number of our educational problems. Devices such as smart phones and tablets enable innovation and help students, teachers, and parents gain access to digital content and personalized assessment vital for a post-industrial world. Mobile devices, used in conjunction with near universal 4G/3G wireless connectivity, are essential tools to improve learning for students. As noted by Irwin Jacobs, the founding chairman of Qualcomm, Inc., “always on, always connected mobile devices in the hands of students has the potential to dramatically improve educational outcomes.”
This paper, part of our Mobile Economy Project, looks at ways that mobile devices with cellular connectivity improve learning and engage students and teachers. Wireless technology is a way to provide new content and facilitate information access wherever a student is located. It enables, empowers, and engages learning in ways that transform the learning environment for students inside and outside of school.
Sadly, not every student has access to a computer and the Internet. And given the costs of hardware, it is not affordable for school districts to provide a personal computer to every student.However, most young people have phones, and this provides a real opportunity to transform instruction.
Why reaching students through mobile devices is crucial
According to Project Tomorrow data shown below, 68 percent of high school students say that they access the Internet via a 3G/4G mobile device – including a number of students who don’t have broadband access at home. Julie Evans of Project Tomorrow notes that “this is the real story as to why mobile devices can help to solve the home broadband problem.” According to her, “even amongst students who say they have high speed Internet access at home, in many cases though students never get to use that access. If there is one family computer that is hard wired for that high speed access, students today need to contend for access with siblings who are also trying to do their homework, parents looking for jobs or doing their own work, and family entertainment activities using that computer. Students tell us that having their own mobile device that is not a shared device give them better, more reliable access to the Internet than trying to use the family broadband connection.”
Mobile learning makes it possible to extend education beyond the physical confines of the classroom and beyond the fixed time periods of the school day. It allows students to access content from home, communicate with teachers, and work with other people online. The value of mobile devices is that they allow students to connect, communicate, collaborate and create using rich digital resources.
- Comparison with Other Nations
- Challenges Facing U.S. Education
- How Mobile Enables Innovation
- Student and Teacher Engagement
- Recommendations for Action
Download the paper on Brookings’ website.