6 reasons mobile learning is booming

New statistics suggest that mobile learning is more accepted and supported

Mobile technologies are increasingly gaining support among school administrators, who opt for one-to-one initiatives and BYOD programs to help deflect the costs of maintaining a mobile device initiative, and to let students use technologies they’re already using in their personal lives.

Speak Up 2013, an annual survey lead by Project Tomorrow, focuses on digital learning and college- and career-ready skill development.

Survey results reveal that educators, school and district leaders, and parents understand that mobile devices help students access more digital content and digital learning opportunities.

Mobile learning helps students build the skills they will need in college and the workforce, administrators say. It is for this reason that mobile learning is skyrocketing in districts:

1. School and district administrators say that tablets (41 percent), one-to-one programs (28 percent), mobile apps (22 percent), and BYOD (22 percent) have had a significant impact on transforming teaching and learning.

2. Eighty-six percent of school and district administrators said mobile learning increases student engagement.

3. Mobile learning also helps each student personalize his or her learning (67 percent).

4. School leaders note that mobile learning helps students develop a number of skills that will be necessary in college and the workforce, namely critical thinking and problem solving (51 percent), collaboration and teamwork skills (47 percent), and strong communication skills (37 percent).

5. Thirty-two percent of technology administrators said that allowing students to use their own mobile devices helps schools address budget challenges while still giving students access to technology.

6. In 2010, just 22 percent of school principals said they were likely to let students use their own mobile devices in school. But this year’s survey reveals that 41 percent of principals said they were comfortable with such a move. An additional 10 percent said they had already changed school policy to support BYOD.

But although BYOD and mobile learning are on the rise, such policy changes aren’t always easy, especially where access and equity are concerned.

“As appealing as all the benefits of using personal mobile devices are, district leaders are still facing some serious challenges that much be addressed like student safety and district liability in case students misuse their own devices,” said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, in the report. “Even districts who have adopted a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy are struggling with providing devices for students who may not be able to afford them and with training teachers on best practices for teaching in a classroom where conceptually every student has a different device with various levels of functionality and content.”