Friday, September 26, 2014

More Mobile Means More Learning Opportunities

Photo courtesy of
With Apple’s release of the iPhone, selling more than 9 million in the first three days, it’s hard not to think about the mobile lives of teenagers. After all, this is just further fuel for a mobile fire that already has 74% of teens (ages 12-17) accessing the Internet using mobile phones.

The good news, at least for teachers, is that the growing percentage of teens with smartphones and tablets creates all kinds of opportunities for learning. Here are three ways that mobile devices can broaden the learning potential at your school.

  • Create more distributed learning opportunities -- Before the Digital Age, distributed learning meant the occasional organized field trip or sending kids home with assignments from their textbook. Today, most every young learner has the entire Internet in his or her pocket. They can access information, record their experiences, and communicate in a variety of ways -- all while they are going about their daily activities outside the traditional classroom. This means that learning can be truly centrigugal and persistent -- it can go with students wherever they go. We can extend the learning environment to include the whole world of information and experience! Of course, it doesn't happen automatically. We have to prompt or help students in their use of mobile devices for learning. One easy way to do this, for any subject, is to create an optional/alternative mobile (distributed learning) activity for every lesson or learning unit.
  • Design more opportunities for creation -- Mobile devices also open up an incredible world of creation for our students. Photos, audio, and video are all easy to create and edit. Mobile devices afford our learners new tools for creating new learning stories. If you want to be inspired on this front, just look at this post from Wes Fryer about teaching iPad videography to kids in Alaska via videoconference.
Videoconference to Alaska

  • Introduce new forms of content -- Mobile devices are made for audio, video and photos. They are designed for interactivity and touch. This opens up exciting new content opportunities for our classes. And the great news is that there are so many fantastic learning resources that are already perfect for mobile learning. Now is the time to make sure that you are providing mobile-ready content to go along with every lesson.

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