Mobile Learning in K-12 education (1st Draft)-updated

Tony Vincent said, “For the rest of their lives, our students will always have a computer with them. We need to teach with that in mind” (Nalder 2012).

In the book The World is Open the author points out that taking a child into Best Buy or Radio Shack often equated to fun are actually places of learning. With this in mind I surveyed some of my students on their thoughts on BYOD. Of course I had to tell them that meant “bring your own device.”  At the time some of them were already using their own devices as scientific calculators. Most of them said that was a great idea because they always have them and don’t tend to forget to bring them with them where ever they go. One student commented that he thought it would lead to cheating, but we pointed out to him it would not be cheating to research something on the internet with a smartphone or iPod if they were being requested to. The other students also pointed out that they all had their laptops with them already so the potential for internet research and/or cheating was already there. In my view I believe that we should embrace mobile technology in the classroom.

One of  the main reasons that k-12 education needs to go mobile is that students do have them at all times.  There are many other reasons k-12 education should go mobile along with the times. Mobile devices are cheaper and include many tools in one. One being the scientific calculator my students were using. Others include writing, dictionaries, eBooks, atlases, encyclopedias, and calendars.  Mobile technology is  faster; you just have to turn it on and navigation is easy. Even my four year old granddaughter can navigate the iPad easily. Mobile technology also allows students to take responsibility for their own learning (Nalder 2012). Education is becoming more and more mobile. Armitage (2012) states that the movement of students and educators is to meet online. She quotes Michael Jones, chief technology advocate for Google, “a mobile phone could become a university.”  In Slide to Learn they share a statement by Apple, “Students and teachers already use mobile technology in almost every aspect of their daily lives. Now schools can tap into that enormous opportunity for learning by providing continuous access to educational materials, along with easy ways for learners to connect, collaborate, and share.”

The classroom needs to keep pace with 21st Century mobility. Employers of the future will be looking for a workforce that can problem solve, multitask, and handle complex tasks.  If we as educators don’t provide the opportunity that students will need to use their mobile devices. This will allow a flow of learning that can be collected, organized, and presented through these technologies and educational apps (Nalder 2012).  With any new technology or even curriculum pre-planning and training will be necessary for any program to work. Our school is just now getting about 30 to 50 iPad 3 for teachers and the elementary classrooms. Our school has been in the One to One Initiative for about six years. I know we rolled that out slowly and probably did not get the training needed but it has been successful. I am glad that I have been working on educating myself through the ONID program and hope that I can help with the successful implementation of the iPads throughout the school.

Armitage, C. (2012, October 13). Unis to face high degree of change in mobile era. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from

Bonk, C. J. (2009). The world is open how web technology is revolutionizing education [Electronic Google Play]. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Nalder, J., Vincent, T., Maccoll, K., Lemma, M., & Duncan, L. (2012). Slide to Learn: Beginners guide to the iPod touch, iPhone and iPlad in Education. Slide to Learn: Beginners Guide to the IPod Touch, IPhone and IPlad in Education. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from


About jdoster17

I am a teacher in bush Alaska. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Limnology and a Master’s Degree in Biology from the University of Central Florida (UCF). My Master’s Thesis was Analysis of Reproductive and Spatial Nesting Patterns of a Wading Bird Colony at Gatorland, Orange County, Florida. This research was an integrated approach including reproductive ecology, ornithology, landscape ecology, wetland ecology, and statistics. I also attended the University of Memphis and earned 12 credits towards a Ph.D. in Biology. I will graduate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in May, 2012 with a Masters in Education. I received my three year teaching certificate for the state of Alaska in October 2005 and my five year Professional certificate for the school year 2008/2009. I am highly qualified in accordance with NCLB to teach biology, chemistry and art through college credits and degrees. I have completed and passed PRAXIS II for Earth Science and Physical Science. At present I am highly qualified to teach art, biology, chemistry, earth science, life science, and physical science.
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5 Responses to Mobile Learning in K-12 education (1st Draft)-updated

  1. Jennifer says:

    I think it’s so true that a mobile device can become a whole university. I have been having a lot of conversation lately with my 9th grade son and his friends about BYOD, technology use at school, and the consolidation of educational applications and textbooks. He has installed a graphing calculator app on both his phone and iPad and is really excited about the idea of using technology more and eventually being able to replace heavy books with eBooks. Unfortunately, it is not sanctioned at his school. It’s great that you are able to see success with the 1:1 device implementation, are students at your school allowed to bring their own?

    Minor edits:
    • and of course some of their were using their devices as scientific calculators
    • If we as educators don’t provide the opportunity that students will need to use their mobile devices.

  2. Skip Via says:

    BYOD is a wave about to break over K-12 in a big way. All of the elements are there–widespread smartphone and tablet penetration, tight school budgets, ubiquitous networks, and a set of learning preferences and styles that use mobile tools to find what you need when and where you need it. It will be interesting to see if the recent availability of the iPad Mini will heighten the wave. I can see a lot of K-12 students–particularly K-6, returning to school in January with a Mini in their backpacks, expecting to use them.

    It will also be interesting to see which districts surf that wave or run to higher ground, to continue the aquatic metaphor. It’s clear where FNSBSD is going. Supt. Wilson said in August at our SOE faculty meeting that it would be at least 18 months before they would even consider a district-wide BYOD policy. Some reasons cited include bandwidth, appropriate use policies, etc., but the district’s strict blocking of virtually anything that has to do with collaboration or communication between students or students/faculty–e.g, Twitter, DropBox, EverNote (although they do allow Edmodo)–makes me think that the main reasons are loss of control over what students are doing. For comparison, here is an interesting (short) list of some districts who have adopted BYOD and some lessons they have learned:

    I love the idea that a mobile phone could become a university. Somewhere I heard an anecdote of a university in Indonesia that provided distance education entirely via text messages on cell phones. This study: may (or may not) be part of that, but the implications are fascinating. We tend to think in terms of the technology itself–Second Life, blogs, media resources–but the most critical elements are clearly communication and collaboration.

    Another minor edit: “Mobile technology is faster you just have to turn it on and navigation is easy.” –Could be two sentences, or separated with a semicolon after “faster”

  3. lisa olsen says:

    Smartphones have become so ubiquitous for college students, I really think we may be short-changing our high school students by not doing more with mobile devices. Perhaps we are not preparing them for the real world of college by not teaching how to use this technology?
    The community college I graduated from has gone quite sophisticated with mobile tech – you can live in dorms where you get a text when your eco-laundry dryer is done with your clothes, you look up public transport schedules with your smartphone, communicate with faculty via Facebook (can be done from mobile device), and do so much more at this school with mobile tech. Would a student from Alaska be prepared to make it in this environment, showing up at the beginning of the school year and then getting their mobile device? The transition to college is already enough of a shock!
    I also agree that e-books may be nicer than textbooks. My 12 yo daughters kindle fire is much nicer to carry and use than her big, fat, awkward 8th grade Glencoe Math book.
    You made some nice points – and I like how you included student commentary in your post.

    *minor possible edit – add some commas for clarity in the first 2 paragraphs after the intro quote example: With this in mind, I surveyed some of my students on their thoughts on BYOD, of course, I had to tell them that meant “bring your own device” and of course, some of them were using their devices as scientific calculators.

  4. Ilana says:

    I’ll leave a similar comment that I left on Jennifer’s blog posting about BYOD. My only concern with BYOD in the k-12 setting is digital divide. I think that when school districts start allowing BYOD they’ll need to be able to support students who can’t afford them with loaner equipment. I see the digital divide as being a huge issue in schools all over the country.

  5. There are certainly a lot more barrier to implementing mobile technology initiatives in K-12 than in higher ed environments. I think your statement, “Most of them said that was a great idea because they always have them and don’t tend to forget to bring them with them where ever they go.” is so true and should be considered. Making students aware of some of the great applications that you can use on your smartphone or mobile device is a great way to encourage informal learning. It is really nice to have your perspective, Jodi.

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