Aug 30, 11
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The use of mobile devices for learning is sparking a shift in the ed-tech landscape, but its impact on student achievement is unclear.
The latest shift in the landscape is the growing use of portable technology tools for learning. Mobile devices such as smartphones and iPods, still seen as nuisances or contraband by many schools, are now viewed by an increasing number of teachers and administrators as cost-effective tools to build and sustain 1-to-1 computing programs.
From the perspective of many educators, mobile devices have the potential to transform teaching and learning by engaging students more deeply in lessons and promoting anytime, anywhere learning. The problem is that there is no real proof of the impact of mobile devices on learning, at least not the kind of large-scale empirical data that might persuade district, state, and federal decisionmakers that the investment needed to equip classrooms and train teachers would pay off in higher student achievement.
The cost of a successful mobile-technology initiative goes far beyond just the cost of the devices. In fact, the greatest expenses often come from the resources needed to support the technologies.
Even in higher education, where the use of mobile devices for learning has taken off at a much faster rate than in K-12 schools, colleges and universities that have already implemented mobile-learning initiatives find it hard to tally the cost
Still, once the money is secured, other challenges remain, and one of the most daunting ones is figuring out how to develop high-quality instructional content for mobile devices.
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