Shifting from Traditional Classrooms to Mobile Learning

As I browse through the latest in education news,  I can’t help but notice the number of articles and blogs touching on the growing interest of mobile device usage for classroom learning.

In a recent post by Edudemic, It was suggested that students who learn with their mobile devices can learn much faster than their peers and also may perform better on assessments. If this continues to be a trend, what a fantastic step forward this would be for classroom technology. But before we completely adopt the idea of mobile learning, I think it is important to think about some concerns associated with this notion.

Perhaps one of the largest concerns for equipping every student with a mobile device is the cost. In our time of economic uncertainty, this may not be feasible. A cost-effective alternative may be the idea of (BYOD) or “Bringing your own device” to school. While this may save on the cost for schools, BYOD may present another challenge, monitoring the student.

The amount of control a teacher has, or the ability to monitor how and for what purpose students are using their mobile devices for in the classroom is a great challenge.  If I’m allowed to bring my cellphone into the learning environment, who says I want to use it for learning? What’s to stop me from playing games or watching YouTube videos during a lecture? And what happens when students spend the entire lecture posting to Facebook or tweeting about how bored they are?

Schools and teachers need to have strict guidelines in place so that students can continue to learn while benefiting from advances in technology. Mobile devices can be amazing classroom tools for the future, but we need to have a concrete plan for effectively incorporating them into the classroom. If teachers cannot thoroughly monitor what each student is doing with his/her mobile device, maybe it is not always the best idea to use mobile devices for classroom lessons.

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