Mobile technology in the classroom is not breaking news. Increasingly, laptops, tablets, and smartphones have entered K-12 classrooms, supplementing – and in some cases, replacing – traditional learning tools like blackboards and textbooks. At this point, almost all U.S. schools use some sort of non-desktop device to aid the learning process.
Generally, educators agree that, even though they present some challenges, mobile devices in classrooms present new opportunities as well. According to a 2014 survey, 77 percent of teachers believe that mobile devices increase student engagement in learning. Even more important is that a majority of students believe mobile devices are important for learning and should be used the classroom on a regular basis.
Mobile tech in the classroom is definitely here to stay. But are educators using mobile devices to their full potential?
Leverage the Power of the Net
Although “Googling” and the internet have become somewhat synonymous, the internet can be so much more than a research tool. Educators looking for new ways to use mobile devices in the classroom have begun to see the benefits of leveraging the internet. Internet-based learning on mobile devices has the potential to unlock almost unlimited opportunities for students and teachers alike.
Using any browser (Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.), students and teachers can access a range of word processing, design, presentation, and other software. Additionally, using any mobile device and any browser, students and teachers can access hundreds of thousands of educational applications, games, curriculums, and learning tools – many of them free.
Additionally, though online, cloud-based software is becoming more prevalent, many schools still have heavy investments in Windows applications. Browser-based technology gives teachers and students access to both traditional and cloud-based Windows applications, bridging the gap as schools transition to the cloud.
Schools have also begun using the internet to transform standardized testing, replacing traditional paper and pencils. Across the U.S., schools are using online software like Pearson’s TestNav test delivery system to administer and manage testing on laptops, Chromebooks, and other mobile devices.
Across the country, schools are embedding the internet into the learning process and seeing results. How can your school benefit by bringing the internet into the classroom?
Come Together Beyond the Classroom
The school day doesn’t have to stop when the bell rings. In fact, the proliferation of mobile devices at home makes internet-based learning an obvious next step. In a 2015 survey, almost all of the surveyed students indicated that they had access to Wi-Fi at home.
Educators can take advantage of this opportunity to expand the advantages of online learning at home. By incorporating the online tools, lesson plans, and online media used during the school day into homework, educators can better engage technology-adapted students and foster learning beyond the confines of the classroom.
More than that, internet-based learning initiatives allow students to work together in ways they never imagined. Internet-based learning tools and software can make group projects more streamlined by giving students the flexibility to work both at school and at home as well as the ability to work together even when it’s not possible to meet in person. Infusing technology into the learning environment helps students to learn collaboration skills, helping them succeed at school and preparing them for life outside of school.
Make BYOD and One-to-One Possible
Students are already using their own mobile devices to do schoolwork. Moving more of the learning and teaching process onto the internet gives students the freedom to use the devices they already have, both inside and outside of class; as long as their laptop, tablet, Chromebook, or smartphone has internet access – which virtually all do – they can have the same access to learning tools that school-issued devices provide.
This can be a complete game changer for one-to-one initiatives.
As of now, less than a quarter of students attend a school where laptops and tablets are provided on a one-to-one basis. If students can use their own devices, this frees up school-issued devices for students who actually need them; internet-based learning makes it easier for schools to bridge the mobile device gap, allowing them to reach their one-to-one goals.
Slash Technology Spending
K-12 public schools across the country are feeling the burn of reduced state funding and are tasked with stretching budgets to make do with less. Internet-based learning can actually help to alleviate some of this financial stress.
In essence, internet-based learning opens up the type of mobile devices that schools can buy to any device with internet access. Without the need for top-of-the-line technology or expensive software, schools can buy more “bare bones”, cost-effective devices like Chromebooks. This also means that parents who choose to can buy less expensive devices for their children while reaping the same benefits as the latest and greatest laptop or tablet.
Mobile devices have already made learning and teaching a more flexible experience, creating opportunities to learn and discover inside and outside of the classroom. Together, mobile devices and internet-based learning are an unbeatable combination. Turning the traditional lecture-notetaking model on its head, these tools can be the key to unlocking new strategies for teaching and learning that take advantage of everything technology has to offer.