Mobile technology is quickly becoming the new norm in education. More and more teachers are discovering the benefits that mobile technology brings to the classroom every day. Technology that was not long ago forbidden within learning environments is now encouraged. So what caused this fundamental shift and what are the effects of mobile technology in the classroom?
A Sea Change in Education
A recent article published by MindShift, Amidst a Mobile Revolution in Schools, Will Old Teaching Tactics Work?, questions whether or not our established educational system is ready for the mobile technology revolution taking place today. The article quotes Harvard professor Chris Dede who has been in the field of educational technology for decades and is amazed at how quickly mobile devices are impacting the schools. “I’ve never seen technology moving faster than mobile learning.” He states that this is not surprising since 80% of teens now have cell phones. Dede describes a “sea change” in the educational landscape.
Also quoted is Elliot Soloway, a professor in the School of Education at the University of Michigan and a longtime advocate of mobile learning, who says, “It feels like something major is about to happen. It went from a silly idea, to, ‘Of course it’s inevitable’.” The article goes on to explain why mobile learning is different from other forms of technology. The bottom line with mobile learning is personalized learning – students owning what they learn and being hands-on in the classroom. With mobile learning it’s possible for a child to take a picture or video of something he or she is learning in school. Soloway says that taking a picture is a lot different than getting one from a book or computer. “A child owns the picture when the child takes it. It is meaningful to the student.”
Personalized Learning and the Struggling Learner
The impact of personalized learning is even more dramatic for those students who struggle with learning. Special education students need to be able to connect classroom learning to their world in order to make learning relevant and useful. This is exactly what mobile learning is designed to do. It takes learning in the abstract and makes it real. The mere fact that there is a camera that can record audio, video and take pictures of an individual learner’s personal world opens up new ways of connecting learning to new applications in “my world.” After all, isn’t learning about taking knowledge and connecting it to real life?
Connecting to “My World”
The Conover Company is proud to introduce Conover Online, the Internet version of our Functional Skills System, MECA, and Social/Emotional Learning programs. Conover Online takes the concept of personalized learning to new levels. Here is how our Functional Skills System works:
Conover System Software – Reprogrammed
We took our popular Conover System software and reprogrammed it so that it now:
- Requires no installs.
- Runs on Mac and Windows computers.
- Runs on iPhones, iPods and iPads.
- Contains a powerful management system for program accountability.
- Connects electronically to remote mobile technology (sends user data back to the management system, sends new assignments and prompts to mobile devices and tracks user data on new assignments and prompts.)
- Provides access to the entire Conover System for $5.00 per credit. A credit can be used for one title for one user. Students may enter and exit that program as many times as they wish and will have unlimited access to that program until the entire program is completed.
- Currently connects to over 90 apps that supplement learning outside of the classroom.
- Allows users to customize apps using the audio, video and picture taking capabilities of mobile technology to connect new knowledge and skills to the learner’s world – personalizing learning.
Integrated Into a Broader Sequence of Activities
The question on everyone’s mind is, ‘Is mobile learning working?’ Shelley Pasnik, Director of the Center for Children and Technology, states in the article mentioned earlier, “Having apps sitting on your phone on your desk in and of itself isn’t going to make you smarter.” She goes on to say, “It is what you do with it, and how it is supported, how teachers and students know to learn, to use those tools.” She explains that, if this new mobile learning technology is to succeed, it will need to be integrated into a broader sequence of activities, not be just an isolated tool that sits outside of everything that is going on.
Conover Online truly integrates software, print and mobile technology into a broader sequence of activities. This integrated learning system connects apps to our management system, providing the ultimate experience in differentiated learning. These apps are customizable. It is easy for the user to switch out our images, audio and video with their own to reflect their world – the world they live in.
3 Components of Conover Online
Circling back to our original questions, ‘what caused this shift in learning and what are the effects of mobile learning?’ This fundamental shift is happening because of the immediate results that educators are seeing both in and outside of the classroom. The effect of mobile learning, with the right applications and software, is personalized learning, especially for students with learning disabilities. This combination of personalized and integrated learning is helping individuals apply what they learn to real life situations for a more profound learning experience.