Picture this: a group of students sitting in a classroom with mobile devices in their hands and a teacher overseeing them with a similar mobile device in their hands. What are your first thoughts about the teacher overseeing their activities?

If your initial impression of this situation isn’t positive – you aren’t alone. The movement from the wholesale banning of mobile devices and technology in the classroom to their adoption as best practice in the classroom is happening fast and is still new enough that misconceptions linger. Whether it is embodied in the prevalent fear that mobile media encourages distraction or just a suspicion that it’s a way for teachers to shirk off their responsibilities – the shift to a pro-mobile learning mindset is far from complete.

All Signs Pointing to Mobile?

With more than 1.5 million iPads working their ways into school systems today the near ubiquity of personal cell phones and mobile devices (some recent stats say that 80 percent of teens have cell phones!), the prevalence of the technology may make the argument for itself. As tech integration continues its upward trend, it will be easier to see the advantage to engaging students through mobile learning. Additionally, getting the word out about the positive effects of mobile learning, like improved critical thinking skills, will help mobile critics see the light.

  • Instructors are exploring different methods to incorporate mobile devices into their courses everyday.  James Sanders, a 7th grade history teacher, @jamesanders uses smart devices in the classroom to have students review and reflect on their peers work.
  • Perhaps the best way to convince those who doubt the advantages of mobile learning is to invite them to hear about its successes first hand. BbWorld 2012, Blackboard’s premier education technology conference, is going to have several sessions that focus on mobility, which we strongly recommend checking out. Examples include:

Richard Sebastian of the Virginia Community College System’s presentation, “Increasing Access and Engagement with Mobile Apps”
Kenneth Rogers and Trent Gillaspie’s session, “Unveiling the ROI of Blackboard Mobile” which will all look at the real life examples of mobile learning

What do you think – what else can we do to show people the advantages of mobile learning?

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  • Diane

    My students are mobile, but I’m not because Blackboard doesn’t allow me to be. I can’t access my gradebook to enter grades, can’t grade students’ posts, can’t edit assignments on a mobile device. I’ve tried numerous mobile browsers just hoping to enter grades. Make mobile work for me!