Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Originally thought to be a bane on the educational system, mobile devices have begun a strong campaign in recent years to take advantages of the potential and opportunity available. Mobile learning has been gaining popularity in classrooms and digital classrooms around the world, a great tool for providing and enhancing learning opportunities around the world. Here are some of the recent updates in the world of mobile education.
Mobile learning probably got its biggest push with the emergence of Kahn Academy, an online classroom offering over 3500 videos in math, science, history, finance and computer sciences. The classes are free and offer students the closest thing to a personal one-on-one learning environment possible through mobile technology. The lessons offer visual samples and diagrams to help students in addition to breakdowns of instructions, the ability to check your answers and trackers to chart your progress. Teachers can access their student's data and produce charts and graphs of progress, making it easier for them to see who needs help where. Kahn Academy has been tapped by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation along with Google and various other sponsors, assuring us that Kahn Academy is only on the rise.
Kahn Academy isn't the only educational tool available online, there are plenty of other fantastic blogs designed to foster education accessible from anywhere in the world. MOBL21 is a great mobile learning platform for teachers, students and schools. Here, a teacher can design a lesson plan or study guide for students to access whenever they want; teachers can even create flash cards for kids to use on virtually any smartphone. MOBL21 is designed to take the most advantage possible in the world of mobile education, providing some of the most accessible means of learning when on the go.
Sites like Learning in Hand, The Mobile Learner and the Mobile Industry Review are fantastic blogs for teachers and students to use in order to get the latest developments in the world of mobile learning. As the tech world gets more advanced by the day, new technologies and options for mobile learning grow as well; it's important for teachers and students to be able to track the progress of mobile education and find ways of learning about new tools and platforms available to them and their students.
Phone applications have made large strides in the mobile learning world as well. Apps like Math Ref provide students with a vast library full of equations, formulas and any other math-related tools a student might need. iPhone users can also benefit from the "Graphing Calculator" app by Appcylon. The calculator aspects of smartphones are a huge bonus for students who might not have the money to invest in expensive graphing calculators or who need all of their tools as condensed and singular as possible.
iPhone applications also extend to flashcards like Quizard, Quiz Me!, StudyCards (which features over 65 languages) or the massive iFlipr Flashcard app that features over 20 million cards. While great for quantifiable aspects of learning like math and science, there are also a slew of fantastic apps for less specific learning such as English and reading. The Oxford Dictionary—the dictionary's dictionary—is now available in app form and will give users not just definitions but etymology as well. Wurdle and Spell it Rite provide excellent resources for building vocabulary and spelling—great tools for non-native English speakers as well. There are even apps for art, with Art Envi Deluxe, Art and Art Gallery Premium.
Our mobile technology has given educators and students the abilities to make enormous strides and though still a long way off from universal proliferation, mobile learning is bigger than ever and clearly here to stay.
Steven Madison researches and writes about the education industry. His expertise lies in educational resource technologies—including everything from veterinary models to tablet softwares.