Mobile learning, also referred to as mLearning, is the intersection of mobile computing (the application of small, portable, and wireless computing and communication devices) and e-learning (learning facilitated and supported through the use of information and communications technology). Mobile learning does not necessarily require a laptop and It is learning that is truly independent of time and place and facilitated by portable computers capable of providing rich interactivity, total connectivity, and powerful processing.
This chapter will briefly discuss mobile learning and focus a broad majority on the devices used for learning in the classroom.
When we consider devices to use in the classroom, it is important to keep these specific characteristics in mind:
When we view this list of characteristics and consider the culture today, relationships, communication, jobs, leisure, learning and accessing information, they all require the same things.
Examples of common mobile devices today that may be used in the classroom include: Laptops, tablets, E-readers, Smartphones, smartwatches, handheld gaming consoles, classroom performance assessment clickers, USB drives, and fitness trackers. Educators in the 21st Century have a responsibility to teach students digital literacy skills. Having devices present in the classroom makes that task a bit simpler.
Due to the digitized nature of today’s classrooms, laptops are a great choice of device for students and schools. There are high quality laptops that fit across the spectrum of the price range. PCmag.com has compiled a list of the top 10 laptops for kids in 2021. Over 377 products were reviewed. Major brands include: Lenovo, Microsoft, Acer, HP Chromebook, and Dell, to name a few.
- Read the full article here: The Best Laptops for Kids in 2021 by Tom Brant (PCmag.com)
Microsoft has developed its own mobile computing device called the Microsoft Surface which has provided another option for schools to implement one-to-one Surface initiatives. The Microsoft Education site provides resources and products targeted directly for the classroom environment.
Google has created a whole suite of applications relevant for the classroom environment. To extend their capabilities in the classroom, Google has also created a product line of Google computing devices. Made by a variety of companies, Google Chromebooks are a unique laptop and many schools are moving to a one-to-one environment using Chromebooks. The Google for Education site provides further resources and product information for education. Unlike other laptops, Chromebooks run on Google’s operating system, Chrome OS.
Chromebooks have multiple features that make it easy to set up and operate securely. Read about all the options on Google’s website. As schools look for technology options, Chromebooks are a great fit. Not only are Chromebooks easy to use, but they are cost effective, convenient (Schoenbart, 2015), and allow students to build keyboarding, research, and collaborating skills (Fink, 2015). Chromebooks work seamlessly with Google’s educational applications, which is an added benefit. Most Chromebooks geared to education featured touch-enabled displays and a 2-in-1 factor that allows them to flip into a tablet.
A major feature of a tablet that distinguishes it from a laptop is that it runs on a mobile operating system (OS) (Examples include Windows, iOS, Android). Mobile devices run on solid-state drives which are smaller and faster than older hard drives. Numerous brands and models of tablets exist. The iPad has easily become the most common tablet used in classrooms around the U.S. in the K-12 setting. Mini iPads are common in lower elementary school grades, whereas regular iPads are seen in grades 3rd through possible 12th grade. According to the International Journal of Technology in Education and Science, “When deciding to introduce a new device into the classroom it is important to determine if the device has the ability to perform certain tasks often referred to as functionality.” Some teachers prefer iPad and others Chromebooks, but either choice is because of “ease of use and user-friendliness” (Kaur, 2020).
- Reading: 6 Ways to Transform Learning with iPad Integration by Karen Lirenman
Apple has detailed examples of ways the iPad can positively enhance the classroom experience. The following links provide examples and videos of those experiences.
One-to-one laptop programs are a common mobile learning environment. All students and teachers are provided with a laptop for use. One-to-one programs are a big endeavor, but if implemented properly, can have significant positive impacts on the school district.
Apple provides a variety of information and resources in reference to mobile learning and one-to-one computing on the Education section of their website. The apple site provides specific information for Mac laptops and iPads in education.
The Dell Education website provides great resources, case studies, and videos on mobile learning in the classroom. Dell has a list of great resources on the Mobile Computing page which provides schools with important information on transforming learning, one-to-one initiatives, and checklists for successful rollout of technology.
Microsoft also has a Microsoft Education site with great resources for one-to-one computing.
The recommended article discusses choosing the right device for one-to-one and how to implement a successful program.
- Reading: How to Implement One-to-One (1:1) Technology in the Classroom by Scott Winstead.
Things to Consider With Devices in the Classroom
- Implementation for Students – Helpdesk, training, hardware, software, damage, expense
- Implementation for Faculty – Training, new technology, resources, consulting
- Administration – Planning, policies, backing, direction, implementation, expense
Using a presentation software of your choice, develop a 5-7 minute mobile computing device proposal presentation.
- The proposal should be developed as if you were presenting the information to the administration/school board on implementing a mobile teaching and learning environment for your school. This is intended to be an initial proposal presented to grow support and excitement for the possible mobile initiative. The proposal should be focused on one of the four grade levels below:
- Grades K-3 (200 total students)
- Grades 4-6 (200 total students)
- Grades 7-9 (200 total students)
- Grades 10-12 (200 total students)
- The proposal should cover the following areas:
- The Problem – Describe why the school needs a mobile teaching and learning environment
- The Solution – Describe the specific technology that can fill the need (be specific)
- The Cost – Describe the estimated cost for the technology (limit the cost to the specific hardware students will have access to)
- The Implementation – Describe the details on the implementation strategy for the technology (i.e., who gets what and when)
- The Impact – Describe the advantages the technology will provide for teachers and students, how the teachers and students will use it, and why it is worth the district’s investment.
- WIth the initial proposal, you do NOT need to include information regarding insurance, damage, policies, professional development, etc. That information can come later with a more detailed proposal. For now, it’s just a big picture proposal to generate interest and excitement for the initiative.
- Using your webcam, record yourself presenting the proposal, upload to a hosting site (e.g., YouTube), and paste the link to your LMS.
Develop a 1-page (front only) handout that you can give to the administration/school board memebers during the presentation. The handout should balance content with design elements so that it looks professional while at the same time providing thorough information on your proposal.
- Save the handout as a pdf and attach it with your presentation to your LMS Assignment.
Brant, T. (2021, November 24). The best laptops for kids in 2022. PCMag. https://www.pcmag.com/picks/the-best-laptops-for-kids
Lirenman, K. (2019, August 30). 6 Ways to Transform Learning with iPad Integration. https://www.edtechteam.com/blog/2019/08/6-ways-to-transform-learning-with-ipad-integration/
L.W. Fink, J. (n.d.). Chromebooks in the classroom. Scholastic. Retrieved January 13, 2022, from https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/chromebooks-classroom/
Winstead, S. (2020, April 11). How to implement 1:1 (One-To-One) technology in the classroom. ELearning Industry. https://elearningindustry.com/implement-one-to-one-technology-classroom