Smartphones and Mobile Education

Michael Kwan
Smartphones and Mobile Education

More and more, we're starting to see an emerging trend that connects smartphones and mobile education. This has yet to infiltrate most mainstream academic institutions, but a few cutting edge colleges and universities are really starting to see the value of bringing the technology into the classroom.

More Technology at Schools

Years ago, the only thing that you needed to get ready for school was a fresh pack of pencils and a pad of paper. This is no longer the case. Students today are typically quite tech-savvy and have come to rely on their laptops even more than they rely on their textbooks.

Technology can greatly improve and enhance the educational experience. Instead of reading something in a book, students can watch a video or interact with a computer model. Similarly, they can utilize the functionality of their smartphones to enhance their learning experience as well.

The Emergence of Smartphones and Mobile Education

While there are certainly arguments against the use of cell phones in the classroom, since the students can get distracted with text messages and the like, there are many pros to cell phones in school as well.

At least one academic institution has listed the Apple iPhone as recommended material for its classes, just as it would list the required textbooks, lab kits, and other materials. The relationship between smartphones and mobile education is definitely on the rise.

Lectures Available as Podcast Downloads

All students should make an effort to attend every lecture and not miss any classes, but there can be situations where this may not be possible. Rather than borrow the notes of a classmate, students would be able to download the entirety of the lectures as a podcast or music file, just as they would when they buy content from iTunes.These files can be automatically updated and pushed to the smartphones on an as-needed basis. Even while in attendance at a class, a student may miss a few key points. By being able to review the lecture as a podcast, they can go over that missed material.

Similarly, colleges and universities can develop specific applications for students to use, publishing them in the iPhone App Store, for example. This can prove to be a powerful expansion for smartphones and mobile education.

Digital Textbooks as eBooks

To reduce both costs and environmental impact, it may be possible to use a large screen smartphone to read a digital copy of a textbook. This helps to minimize the amount of printing needed and it also means that a student can carry around dozens of textbooks in the palm of his or her hand.

The Streaming Remote Classroom

For each course, instructors and professors can develop simple websites for smartphones for their students. On these sites, students can quickly and easily access information pertinent to their current courses. These can include class notes, office hours, contact information, class cancellation information, and so on.

With a secure login process, teachers may also be able to publish test scores (perhaps listed by student number rather than name) on these mobile-friendly websites. This way, students will be able to check on their marks in real-time whether they're on campus, at home, or studying at the local coffee shop.

Colleges of the Future

The possibilities of smartphones and mobile education are literally limitless. By embracing the advances of technology and what it can offer to both the physical and digital classroom, academic institutions can streamline and enhance the experience of its students.

Smartphones are more popular than ever and they don't have to be restricted to corporate employees. Everyone, including students and instructors, has something to gain. Looking to colleges of the future, we can only expect that more technology is on the way.

Smartphones and Mobile Education