Today information and knowledge is free, available for use instantly over the Internet and no longer needs dissemination from select sources to the masses by a master teacher. Over the past decade, technology has been making significant inroads into education. The latest entrant is the digital disruption brought in by mobile devices.
Today’s students have grown up in a digitized world where almost everything they need is available at the click of a button. However, the methodology of educating them has not experienced a parallel evolution. The first advancement was seen in the form of distance learning programs being offered by universities. With internet becoming accessible to all, the course delivery transformed from archaic teleconference systems to a more straightforward and dynamic approach.
According to UNESCO, for every desktop user there are 2 mobile users and this will only increase going forward. Considering the high usage of mobile devices in the day-to-day life of any student, it’s only natural that this medium be utilized to streamline learning processes. Mobile app innovations not only promise to enhance class participation, but could also significantly revamp the education system in the future.
Online learning platforms implemented in schools and colleges can provide a flexible and collaborative, learning experience with everything, from content management to online assessment, in one place. From the educators’ perspective, it becomes easy to design and distribute complete course material featuring audio, video, e-books, and other content. From the students’ perspective discussion forums, paperless homework assignments and quizzes, note-making, performance progress and the ability to choose a tutor facilitate learning.
Whiteboarding is a powerful collaboration tool that can be leveraged by tutors to add interactivity and collaboration and motivate students into absorbing information. As a means to promote group discussion and participation, it can be an effective tool for brainstorming, as notes made on the screen can be turned into text, and saved to be shared and distributed later. Using this, tutors can stream video sessions embedded with time-specific notes and share it with students. In case of courses on fine arts, assignments or tests can be submitted by students as video sessions. These can then be reviewed by tutors with feedback that is specific to a particular time-frame or action (dance/yoga/Meditation pose, song note, etc.)
Cloud Computing comes to the rescue by providing the ability to securely store course content and ensure that changes made to study material on one device get rapidly implemented across all the connected devices. This is key to implementing paperless course delivery and assessment.
Assistive technology Apps for students with disabilities help students who struggle with listening, math, executive functioning, reading and writing and boost their confidence. These can’t “treat” learning and attention issues, but can help them work around their challenges.
That mobile devices have tremendous academic potential to enrich the learning process for students is further evident when you consider the following advantages:-
- Plethora of apps across multiple disciplines such as mathematics, music, language and more. According to App Store Metrics, the iTunes®App Store SM currently has over 90,000 education apps.
- Interactive and Flexible – With animated apps, quizzes in varied formats, real-time feedback and gamification, mobile / tablet-based tutoring will increase productivity of students of all ages.
- Global connectivity with ease of access to quality teachers and educational resources that may otherwise not be present in the city/location the student lives in.
- Fostering social collaboration. With apps that allow students and tutors to create multiple peer groups to share notes, have doubt-clearing sessions, access assignments and grades, students are enabled to perform to their true potential.
- Automation – By enabling sharing of automated SMS and email notifications regarding upcoming course information, assignment and exam schedules, grades, upcoming discussion meets and more, students and tutors are always updated and connected.
- Predictive analytics can help drive higher student achievement, from personalizing the assessment experience based on students’ strength and weakness, providing feedback tailored to quiz answers, to tracking topic –specific performance progress.
- Scalability –From a business perspective, universities can make use of this app revolution to make their courses (content and pedagogy) available to millions students across cities and countries on a paid subscription model.
Mobile devices (laptops, tablets and smart phones) are changing the way educators teach and students process the content. When properly applied to a student-centered classroom scenario, mobile apps and tablet computing can revolutionize instruction and learning. With hundreds of apps focusing on innovation in the educational space, it is but a matter of time when students will trade lugging the school bag to a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) learning experience.
About the Author: Venkat Raman L
With more than 12 years of industrial experience, Venkat Raman is well acquainted with the trends and variables of the industry. Before ABOVE Solutions, he has worked with several organizations such as SAP, Aztecsoft and Vendavo. He has played instrumental roles in the companies and has handled numerous critical projects in his time with the organisations.