Do you have an iPhone, an iPod Touch, an iPad and a MacBook? Do you use each of these every day? There are a few videos out there on YouTube that give crazy statistics on how much technology is in use all over the world. Check out this blog post on Digitalbuzz about The Growth of Mobile technology for some statistics.
My question would be, has the rapid growth and use of mobile technology been beneficial in all circumstance? What are the cons of such an exponential increase in the use of these devices? Its my own personal opinion that these devices offer enormous opportunity and educational potential, however, many will jump in and try to use them in different contexts without adequate preparation. Yes, sometimes using these devices doesn’t have to be thought about or planned for but if you integrate something new like a mobile device into educational experiences then planning might maximise the opportunities it affords.
How will you plan? What needs to be considered? I don’t believe it has to be a laborious process but thinking about the desired outcomes and end product or achievements will guide the integration of something new such as a mobile device or mobile-enabled tools. I would ask these questions of myself if I was planning to incorporate mobile devices:
- What should it look like in order to be easy to use, and not information overload cognitively?
- What do students need to know and be able to do before engaging with the tool or task? (Prerequisite knowledge and skills)
- Will the students be able to complete the task/activity with a simple set of instructions or will they need more scaffolding? If so, how much scaffolding will be required to successfully guide them through task?
- What disadvantages of using the identified online tool or mobile device could possibly hinder the learning process or outcomes achieved? How can this be avoided?
There are still many questions to ask yourself when integrating mobile-enabled tools and mobile devices into education, however, it is the way of the future and the future is here now. When planned in the right way and integrated with thought mobile devices might enable more self-directed, self-cognitive and self-motivated learning than ever before.