While the integration of information and communications technology (ICT) in schools has enhanced the learning process, there is still an undying debate whether this type of technology is a great addition to the classroom. A USNews.com article revealed that more students have developed a certain degree of dependence to their devices, which led to “nomophobia”: the fear of having no phone contact. From this provocative argument comes the big question: Is mobile technology a hindrance in quality education?
This argument can be countered by a survey done by O2, saying that technology is a crucial factor in learning institutions. Of the participants surveyed, 85% said that they are employing gadgets in their everyday routine. Furthermore, 91% admitted using desktop PCs while smartphones and laptops got 70% and 47%, respectively.
The Advent of Tablets and Educational Tools
According to Nielsen’s 2012 report: tablet computers are great alternatives for an interactive learning process. The study also revealed that 57% of students utilize learning apps, while 77% admitted using their iPads as entertainment tool. The 20% discrepancy may be significant, but the fact that 57% use it for s is enough revelation. Some may still not see the beauty of it, but employing tablets makes it more enjoyable.
Meanwhile, some toy companies and publishers are adapting to the trend of producing digital copies of their products. Recently, Random House converted some of their printed literature into virtual offerings for easy reading. On the other hand, Lego has created an application that brings the thrill of building blocks into touchscreen devices. As proven in a study published by KQED.org, apps like these are important in helping children learn.
The Rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)
MOOCs are online courses aimed for a larger interaction and open access through the Internet. This is a platform where the classroom discussions are being extended to provide a virtual, and interactive forum to build a community of students and teachers. However, there is an on-going debate about this emerging trend, saying that it has disrupted the real value of traditional teaching as opposed to an online set-up.
This can be countered by the idea that MOOCs give the opportunity to democratize learning with the influx of information flowing in the public domain. In fact, an article from BizJournals mentioned that some students actually scored higher in their online classes. Some state legislators are recognizing this type of platform to increase the quality of learning, while lowering the cost of education. With that being said, tech companies like Apple, are attempting to enter the K-12 academic market. They believe that their tablet, the iPad, can replace some of the many functions of a physical classroom.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
According to Bradford Networks’ statistics: 89% of schools are implementing the BYOD scheme. In fact, it gives students and teachers the chance to adapt to new, and advanced learning styles. However, there are certain factors that need to be addressed with this set-up. In some schools, concerns like outdated books, the lack of resources, and funding can affect this scheme.
Encouraging students to bring their own devices to school may have its challenges but in the end, they will reap its benefits. The same statistics also proved that “putting technology in students’ hands is transforming the educational experience.” This goes for colleges, universities, and K-12 schools as well. This type of scheme also benefits educators by easing the transition from traditional lecture-based instruction, to modern ways of collaboration.
Education Services from Crowd-Sourcing
Today, mobile technology can also make crowd-sourced projects possible. As a matter of fact, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has teamed up with Nokia to provide education for all (EFA) through crowdsourcing projects. Through this initiative, more streamlined learning institutions will be established.
Smartphones and tablets will make online schooling more palatable. With the wealth of information from the Internet, students will process more knowledge even outside the classroom.
Smart devices will definitely help streamline the education distribution method. However,there will always be concerns, challenges, and debates on how helpful these devices are. Definitely, there will be a competition between traditional and modern learning. But one thing is for sure – moving towards digitalization will concretize the field of mobile education.
Does this make you want to try the latest trend?
About the author:
Kyle Albert, always interested in tablets, latest trends, startup businesses, fashion and design. He is also a keen social media user. Inclined to share and write about technology and how it can help people with their daily lives, how it can make things easier and for personal development as well, may it be for kids, adults, people in every walks of life. You may reach him at his Twitter: @KyleAlbert9