• Schoolboys who would never consider cracking open a book, are reading classic English literature.
• Number of pupils suspended for poor discipline and disruption, down from nearly a hundred to a handful.
• Kids who hate doing homework, get it out of the way on the bus ride home.
No, these aren’t wishful headlines from educationists, but actual behavioral changes made by the implementation of mobile learning in classrooms today.
The K-Nect project started in North Carolina, was designed to create a supplemental resource for students to focus on increasing their math skills. It was found that students achieved higher test scores in math for the classes that used the mobile devices and spent a lot more time on mobile-enabled schoolwork than before. But interestingly, what was observed is that students also used social networking facilities to help one another other with the problem solving.
In an article published by The Guardian, “Mobile learning for schools – a class without walls”, teachers at the Parkwood Academy have observed how four years ago, the school recorded 77 pupil suspensions. Post mobile learning implementation, barely a handful of youngsters are removed from lessons for poor discipline and disrupting others. A large part of this change could be credited to the greater interactivity between teachers and students, as well as the new intense focus on learning challenges using their mobile devices.
It has been seen that mobile learning enables students to move from passive learners to engaged learners who are behaviorally and intellectually involved in their learning tasks. Wilsden Primary School, in the UK shows how handheld computers have helped students read books they normally would never touch, improving literacy and confidence. See the video here.
A 2009 study, “Improving critical thinking skills in mobile learning”, investigated the effect of mobile learning over critical thinking skills. Student volunteers included undergraduates students enrolled in computer education classes at the Near East University in North Cyprus. It was found that students’ creativity improved significantly using mobile learning methods.
Mobile learning is without doubt capturing student imagination (and attention) to a greater degree than passive learning. However we may also soon see more of another potential benefit, such as positive behavior and confidence, as students learn at their own pace, interact with teachers and express their ideas to a greater extent.
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