Report: Mobile Technology Boosts Learning, Engages Students, Teachers

A new research paper, released by Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution, says that mobile devices with Internet connectivity are useful tools to improve learning and engage students and teachers.

The paper, Mobile Learning: Transforming Education, Engaging Students, and Improving Outcomes, was released in conjunction with the event Mobile Learning hosted by the center on September 17, 2013. The paper is part of Brookings’ Mobile Economy Project.

Mobile learning can be used to address a number of educational problems, says the report. Smart phones and tablets enable innovation and help students, teachers, and parents gain access to digital content and personalized assessment vital for a post-industrial world, according to the paper.

Use of mobile phones, tablets, and other connected devices is growing, and mobile technology is becoming an important part of a student’s life. Wireless technology can dramatically improve learning and bring digital content to students who are already familiar and comfortable with the devices.

Mobile devices, used in conjunction with near universal 4G/3G wireless connectivity, are essential tools to improve learning for students. As noted by Irwin Jacobs, the founding chairman of Qualcomm Inc., “always on, always connected mobile devices in the hands of students has the potential to dramatically improve educational outcomes.”

Wireless technology enables, empowers, and engages learning in ways that transform the learning environment for students inside and outside of school. It provides new content and facilitates information access wherever a student is located, the paper notes.

American education faces a number of different challenges including the need for better infrastructure, personalized content, embedded assessment, and professional development of teachers, according to the paper.  If American education was designed for agrarian and industrial eras and does not provide all the skills needed for a 21st century economy, that presents a major problems for young people about to enter the labor force — and one that mobile technology make help solve.

As a country, we need to educate the next generation of scientists, inventors, engineers, and entrepreneurs. Educating a workforce that is effective in a global context and adaptive as new jobs and roles evolve will help to support our economic growth. Mobile learning makes it possible to extend education beyond the physical confines of the classroom and beyond the fixed time periods of the school day. It allows students to access content from home, communicate with teachers, and work with other people online. The value of mobile devices is that they allow students to connect, communicate, collaborate and create using rich digital resources, according to paper.

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