Mobile computing is education’s future

A recent article in eSchool News outlines the need for schools to acknowledge and use students’ mobile phones for good rather than evil. Summit: Mobile computing is education’s future explains that currently there are one billion people connected to a 3G network, rising to three billion in 2014.

As the 2010 Horizon report stated, mobile computing is set to become mainstream within the next six months. The eSchool News article gives an example of the success of mobile phone use for learning:

At-risk ninth graders taking part in the project have access to specially created mobile applications that help explain algebraic principles, and they also can watch videos of other students explaining these principles. In addition, they can text or IM their peers for advice when they get stuck.

According to early studies of the program’s efficacy, students taking part in this Qualcomm-funded project outscored their peers who did not have access to the mobile phones and content by an average of 30 percent in algebra proficiency.

“Kids are excited—[they’re saying,] ‘Wow, we get to use cell phones in class?’” Johnson said. “It lets them learn in a way they’re learning outside of school.”

I recently learned that students’ internet use at home far outweighs that at school. This is due to a number of issues including school access. However the proliferation of mobile phones within students’ pockets could help change that. Are we ready to start using this type of technology regularly in schools?

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