Staff writers at Best Colleges Online have put together a great article on the nine ways mobile devices are expanding in the academic world.
Below is an edited version of the article:
Mobile phones are ubiquitous among students, both in college and K-12. And while some schools shun the use of cell phones, others are embracing them as a powerful tool. Marketing, learning, and mobile access are just some of the ways academia is taking advantage of what mobile has to offer.
EXPANDING UNIVERSITY APPS AND MOBILE WEB: Universities around the world have learned the value of mobile devices, publishing iPhone and Android apps, mobile-optimized sites, and more, that have allowed students and visitors to find campus news, maps, and other helpful resources right in their phones.
NOMADIC LEARNING: The beauty of learning everywhere is that students can learn outside of the classroom, not having to worry about the world going on without them while they’re locked up inside. Podcasted classes, real-time scavenger hunts, and mobile games are all great examples of learning on-the-go that can be created by traditional educators, and employed by otherwise traditional students.
AUGMENTED REALITY LEARNING SCENARIOS: Mobile phones make it possible to learn anywhere, but with augmented reality learning scenarios, students can really learn anywhere and even any time. Going beyond convenience, through augmented reality mobile technology on GPS-enabled handheld devices, students can find information from different locations outdoors, like on a playground or school field.
MOBILE APPS FOR EDUCATION: Although overall mobile apps have a long way to go in classroom education, they are making great progress. Apps that allow students to explore constellations, for example, offer a great way to interact in the classroom.
TWITTER FEEDBACK IN CLASS: Through Twitter, lecture halls full of hundreds of students can all participate at the same time, tweeting comments, questions, and more using their laptops and cell phones. TAs and professors can respond to the real-time feed, and the entire classroom can watch as it goes by. Students enjoy being able to overcome the shyness barrier, and the entire classroom benefits from increased participation.
MOBILE LIBRARY ACCESS: For years, the only way to access academic libraries was to physically make your way down there and get familiar with the stacks. With the Internet, that’s changed, allowing students and researchers to log in from any computer and enjoy many of the resources that libraries have to offer. But with mobile devices, the game is further changed, allowing for the use of eBooks in academic reading, mobile library database access, and simple library notifications.
MOBILE PHONE PAYMENTS: Anyone who’s tried to get lunch during the afternoon rush on a college campus can tell you that things get a little crazy, especially when it comes to paying for food. With mobile devices, schools have the opportunity to streamline the process, using phones to buy food and beverages through secure transactions.
MOBILE MARKETING: To be a good marketer, you’ve got to go where your target market is, and for colleges, their target market is on cell phones. Research from Ball State University indicates that 97% of all U.S. college students own a cell phone. The University of Louisville and other colleges have capitalized on this opportunity, using QR codes, SMS marketing, and the aforementioned mobile apps to connect with prospective students.
MOBILE POP QUIZZES: Student response systems, which allow teachers to get digital answers from students in their class, usually cost about $1,200 for each classroom. But by using existing student cell phones, that price tag is quickly slashed to just $50 a year. In addition to quizzes, teachers are able to use cell phones for testing, homework assignments, and more, encouraging students to educationally engage with their phones instead of using them as a distraction.
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