We all know that people learn in different ways, at different paces, and with different strengths. Classroom teachers work hard to incorporate all of these differences into their plans and create successful personalized learning experiences for each student. Now, more and more students carry with them a tool that can help teachers with this challenge. Students are not the only ones who are more likely to be using mobile devices to accomplish tasks – parents, teachers, and administrators are too.

I carry my iPhone with me everywhere. Daily, I look up phone numbers, addresses, real estate listings, nearby restaurants, and much more. Occasionally I look up the bio of someone being interviewed on TV, or read on Wikipedia the history of a place mentioned on the news. All of these activities make me both more efficient with my daily tasks, as well as more informed in the moment about current news events and stories. Students want to be doing the exact same thing in school. In the Speak Up 2011 national results, Project Tomorrow learned that a majority of middle and high school students (56 percent) identified “not being able to use their own mobile device” as a major obstacle to using technology at school.

Further, parents understand that technology will be a key aspect to their child’s future success, and administrators understand that mobile devices lead to engaging instruction. According to the Speak up 2011 survey, 87 percent of parents say that the effective implementation of technology within instruction is important to their child’s success and more than 75% of school administrators report that the top benefit to mobile learning is that is increases student engagement.

So, with students, administrators, and parents overwhelmingly on board, what is the remaining challenge preventing more mobile learning from being incorporated into our schools? Teachers need more training. We hear frequently that the common concerns that schools have about devices getting lost or stolen or broken have not occurred in schools with BYOD programs because students take ownership over the devices and keep them safe. However, it is clear from these mobile learning pioneers that teachers need help setting up classroom rules and creating lesson plans that leverage the educational power of mobile devices. So, it seems like our next steps are clear. Let’s remove the one remaining hurdle.

For more information, read the report by Project Tomorrow: Mobile Devices + Social Learning = Personalized Learning.

Or, join us for a webinar on November 13 at 2pm ET with Project Tomorrow CEO Julie Evans. During this webinar, Julie and a panel of K-12 leaders will identify key findings from the Speak Up 2011 trends report and from interviews with innovative educators who are leveraging mobile devices for learning. Stories from these cutting-edge education leaders illustrate emerging device ownership and value proposition trends, mobile learning implementation considerations and strategies for launching mobile learning initiatives.

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  • buzz

    Sorry, but this is truly pathetic. Children should be encouraged to learn with their brains, not their electronic devices. Most of the ‘mobile learning’ that would go on would be the checking of Farcebook updates or the intellectual equivalent.

    This article, full of Corp-Speak, reads like it’s written by an executive who likes Mission Statements and who views our youth more as Product than as vulnerable young human beings. They need to be taught to use and improve their minds, which are being dumbed-down by the inundation of electronic clatter.

    We are fostering generations of the lazy, stupid, and dependant.

    • Kooltchr

      I coudn’t agree more!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tamara.rinehartlee Tamara Rinehart-Lee

    I disagree with the statement that children do not learn if they use their mobile devices. What is more important is that we teach them etiquette–the appropriate use of their phones in public, including in class and school. The what, where, why and how we use our phones and technology is much more important than just trying to ignore it or ban it. These devices can actually expand learning and extend what students (and teachers!) already know and help them become even more interested in!

    An examples of how my students have used technology in class is to look up images so they can use them in creative projects. This has helped them extend an idea in their mind so they could create a physical example for the assignment. Also, like the author noted, they have used them to research a topic, look up words they didn’t understand, and overall helped them be engaged in the discussion/lesson. I have also had students who are English Language Learners look up and translate words for better understanding. In this last instance, the mobile device can be a crucial tool to help basic language learning and school success.

    Do students (and adults!) misuse their phones? YES!! But isn’t that what education is for? They need to learn and practice using their phones respectfully and appropriately. They need these skills for not only school but for when they go into the workplace. Otherwise, the big “F” they get in class could turn into getting Fired at their job.

    • Kooltchr

      There are plenty of computers….why on earth do they need their own device?

  • Kooltchr

    I am a teacher….and I am far from being on board!