Editor’s Note: This paper is released in conjunction with the event Mobile Learning: Transforming Education and Engaging Students and Teachers hosted by the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings on September 17, 2013.
Mobile Learning: Transforming Education and Engaging Students and Teachers
September 17, 2013
Education in the United States
Education is at a critical juncture in the United States. It is vital for workforce development and economic prosperity, yet is in need of serious reform. American education was designed for agrarian and industrial eras, and does not provide all the skills needed for a 21st century economy.[i] This creates major problems for young people about to enter the laborforce.
Mobile learning represents a way to address a number of our educational problems. Devices such as smart phones and tablets enable innovation and help students, teachers, and parents gain access to digital content and personalized assessment vital for a post-industrial world. Mobile devices, used in conjunction with near universal 4G/3G wireless connectivity, are essential tools to improve learning for students. As noted by Irwin Jacobs, the founding chairman of Qualcomm, Inc., “always on, always connected mobile devices in the hands of students has the potential to dramatically improve educational outcomes.”[ii]
This paper, part of our Mobile Economy Project, looks at ways that mobile devices with cellular connectivity improve learning and engage students and teachers. Wireless technology is a way to provide new content and facilitate information access wherever a student is located. It enables, empowers, and engages learning in ways that transform the learning environment for students inside and outside of school.
The Datawind UbiSlate 7Ci tablet is the commercial version of the Indian government's ultra-low cost Aakash 2 tablet for education.
A tablet computer originally made for an educational scheme run by the Indian government has launched in the UK for only £30.
Starting at £29.99 the self-proclaimed “world’s cheapest tablet” theUbiSlate 7Ci significantly undercuts the competition on price including the £119 Tesco Hudl, £80 Aldi Lifetab and the £200 Google Nexus 7, but does not compare favourably on specifications.
The UbiSlate features a low-resolution 7in touchscreen, 1GHz processor, 4GB of storage with a microSD card slot, and runs a modified version of Android 4.0.3 “Ice Cream Sandwich”. It comes bundled with a series of apps for education, entertainment, gaming and productivity, aiming to bring computer and internet access to everyone.
"With recent ONS figures showing that in the UK, 29% of the poorest households have no computer and 36% no internet, we’re working to bring affordable technology to the hundreds of thousands of households excluded from the digital revolution”, said Datawind’s chief executive Suneet Singh Tuli.
Aakash mark two
The UbiSlate 7Ci is the cheapest in a new line of Datawind tablets, which include the £50 3G data-enabled UbiSlate 7C+ and the £129 UbiSlate 3G7 – a slightly faster tablet with a higher resolution screen and 3G mobile data.
The UbiSlate tablet was originally produced by London-based Datawindfor the Indian government as the Aakash (or “sky” in Hindi) series of tablets as part of India’s effort to put ultra-low cost tablets in universities and colleges.
The Aakash was initially announced as a development by Indian scientists for a tablet computer that could be manufactured for just $35in 2010. Datawind later won the tender to build the tablets from the Indian government in 2011, before shipping them to Indian students in 2012 and following up with the Aakash 2 tablet on which the UbiSlate 7Ci is based.
“The development of the tablet stemmed from the realisation that lack of internet adoption in many parts of the world was primarily due to lack of affordability,” said Singh Tuli. “We’re bridging the gap by offering cost-effective, high-specification devices and internet access that offers excellent value to all.”
‘Tablets under £100 have excellent gifting potential’
According to data provided by research firm IDC, tablet computers are set to overtake PC sales this year, growing to 229.3m units worldwide fuelled by lower cost devices.
"Tablets under £100 have excellent gifting potential this Christmas," says Francisco Jeronimo, smartphones and tablets analyst with the research firm IDC. "Parents looking to give gifts to children and teenagers are unlikely to spend £400-500 on a tablet, so tablets sub-£100 are less of an investment and more of an attractive disposable gift."
In 2012, 8.3m tablets were sold in the UK, according research firm CCS Insight with over half of those sales coming in the last three months of the year. Retailer Argos sold 1m tablets in 2012.
In the first half of 2013 alone, almost 6m tablets were sold in the UK and demand is expected to accelerate into Christmas.
UK retail giants Tesco, Argos and Aldi recently launched tablets of their own available for £119 and under competing with sub-£200 Android tablets from Google and Amazon. The Datawind UbiSlate undercuts the competition by at least £50.
"When it comes to tablets, the intensity of competition between UK retailers is staggering," said Ben Wood, mobile analyst with CCS Insight.
Since launch at the end of September, Tesco has sold over 300,000 of its Hudl tablets, and has struggled to keep store shelves stocked.
Dr. Gary Woodill is the CEO and senior analyst for i5 Research. Gary is co-author of Training and Collaboration with Virtual Worlds and author of The Mobile Learning Edge, both published by McGraw-Hill in 2010. He is also the author of numerous articles and research reports on emerging learning technologies, and is a consultant to several major clients in the US and Canada.
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM (Eastern Time) Show in My TimezonePresented by Tim Clark, author of the BYOTNetwork blog In this webinar, Tim Clark will discuss the benefits he has seen of implementing BYOT in Forsyth County, GA. These include personalizing students’ learning experience, empowering them to create something new that shows what they know, and allowing them to develop their own way of sharing or presenting that information to others. Dr. Clark will also detail how he got buy-in from parents and the community, and how Forsyth County is addressing equity issues not at the device level, but at the connectivity level. Presented by THE Journal and hosted by Chris Piehler, Executive Editor
Baldwin County is in the early stages of “Digital Renaissance,” an ambitious, district-wide reimagining of its curriculum and classrooms. Inspired by Mooresville Graded School District (NC) and its “Every Child, Every Day” digital transformation initiative, Baldwin County is providing every student in grades 3-12 with a laptop, and students in grades K-2 with an iPad.
More important than the devices being distributed is the months of planning and community buy-in it took to get there, according to Superintendent Alan Lee. A few years ago, the county was in the midst of the recession and faced $60 million in cuts from state and local funding. The district is already consistently one of the lowest-funded school districts in the state. It is in this environment that Dr. Lee proposed Digital Renaissance, and his leadership knew to ensure its long-term sustainability, the initiative had to be paid for through general funds.
I’m a library junkie, and lately I’ve been spending time exploring all the items available on the Digital Public Library of America.
The DPLA is a content portal offering millions of free resources from the nation’s libraries, archives and museums in a variety of searchable formats – timeline, map and topic.
Click on 1990 on the timeline, and you’ll find about 24,000 archived items. Want to know which state has contributed the most items? The map reveals Texas as the frontrunner with 252,000. A quick topic search for “education” yields more than 173,000 results.
This resource brings to mind many ideas for lesson planning, but here’s one that seemed relevant given educators’ growing interest in real-world learning.
One thing that caught my attention on the website is that the DPLA allows independent developers to use the aggregated metadata to create new apps. Can you say online makerspace for student app developers?
Wouldn’t it be cool to have students create apps using the digitized resources? The site offers an app library where students and educators can go for inspiration, and there are numerous resources inviting and guiding individuals to create new apps.
Have you used the DPLA — or other digital public libraries — in your classroom? If so, let us know how in the comments section.
Melissa Greenwood is SmartBrief’s senior education editor. She has held a variety of positions in the education field, including classroom teacher and editor and writer.
Are you tired of reading bad things about education in the media? Hoping to get the word out about a new initiative? Wondering why your great story isn’t getting told? Listen as Maria Culp and Dana Watson – public relations specialists with experience in the corporate world – bring their expertise to bear on K-12 education. They share tips on determining your communications objectives, defining your audience, developing your key messaging, identifying the right media, and communicating effectively with members of the press, as well as advice on using social media to build widespread community support. Don’t pass up this chance to learn how to better tell your story.
Dr. Gordon Dahlby's insight:
Do NOT skip or skimp on this step in your 1:1, BYOT/BYOD or other digital transition inititives. Remember that not all taxpayers have kids in your schools at this time and few have thought of technology enhanced/enabled learning.
In the early 1900s students practiced their math and writing on slate tablets; 100 years later students are using electronic tablets to learn as schools incorporate iPads and digital skills into the curriculum.
Join executive leadership from Kajeet and Project Tomorrow’s CEO (Julie Evans), with guests from Chicago Public Schools and Fairfax County Public Schools for an hour long webinar. This webinar will focus on the findings of a yearlong research project implementation of 1:1 using Android tablets in Elementary and Middle Schools. Topics will cover: • Benefits of anytime/anywhere access • Teacher adaptation to Mobile Learning • Student/Family engagement and benefits • Lessons Learned • Release of full research reports from Kajeet and Project Tomorrow
Mesa County parent Elizabeth Chiono received letters from some of her son's teachers at the beginning of the school year informing her that he would not get textbooks in history and science classes.
The school district instead offers parents a link to online materials, causing the Chionos to have to rush to the school library before tests or to locate another computer whenever the outdated software on their own computer does not allow them to view schoolwork. It's a growing problem that has complicated the family's access to educational resources, but Chiono said other families face much more difficult situations.
"I know kids that live in trailers who don't have any access to computers. They barely have food on the table," Chiono said. "If you don't have Internet, that puts your kiddos behind."
James Steyer, Howard Gardner Discuss ‘App Generation’ (Audio)
Dec 13, 2013
James Steyer, chief operating officer and founder, Common Sense Media, and Howard Gardner, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and author of "The App Generation: How Today's Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World," discuss how media and technology are affecting children's cognitive, social, and emotional development. They talk with Jane Williams on Bloomberg Radio's "Bloomberg EDU."
By Carl Hooker, SchoolCIO Advisor I recently got to watch the SAMR master himself, Dr. Ruben Puentedura take the stage at iPad Summit Boston. His SAMR model research is based on years of observing 1:1 technology integration in Maine’s Student Laptop initiative (now called MLTI as we love acronyms in education). At its simplest form, the SAMR model states that when you introduce technology to an environment, like a classroom, generally the first thing the user will do is figure out a way to use technology as a Substitute for an existing task. As you “climb up the SAMR ladder” you see a shift of pedagogical practice from teacher-centered to student-driven. This is exemplified by the “R” in SAMR, which stands for Redefinition—or, simply put, when technology allows for a creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable. When researching our own 1:1, I kept running into this research and the more I delved into it, the more I understood and realized that in reality, it’s not a ladder at all that we are trying to climb, but something a little more nebulous and fluid. The problem with the “ladder” visual is teachers may think they have accomplished all they need to once they reach the “R” in SAMR and don’t know what to do next. This part of the visual really troubled me when talking with parents, teachers and administrators. Enter our middle school Ed Tech, Greg Garner (@classroom_tech). His approach to SAMR was simple: It isn’t a ladder that we should try to climb, but instead a pool that we need to be swimming in.
I loved his analogy because I felt it provided a better reality of what happens with SAMR in a classroom on a day-to-day basis. It even inspired me to make this clever graphic (see below).
So with full credit to Greg, here’s a quick overview of what I think it means to swim in the SAMR Swimming Pool:
Enhancement Shallow End
You have to be comfortable wading in the water before you can venture into the deep. The ideas behind Substitution and Augmentation are that you are swimming in the pool of technology integration, but you don’t have to wear yourself out treading water. As a teacher, you know you can always just stand up and breathe. These tasks are simply technological extensions of your everyday teaching and if things get really messy, you can always step out of the pool and still get a majority of your goals accomplished. Sure, it won’t be as stimulating or engaging, but learning and traditional teaching can still happen around the edges. (just NO running!)
Similarly, like when entering a pool that’s not at the ideal temperature, teachers sometimes need to walk in slowly, allowing their bodies to adjust to this shift. Some can just jump right in, knowing their bodies will eventually adjust, and at the same time knowing they can just stand up and jump out if they need to. Others need time, going in step by step slowly and at times gasping when their body enters the depths of new pedagogical practice.
This idea of touching their toe in the water of technology integration is not new. A majority of our teachers want to test the water several times before fully submerging in it. If something should go wrong and they get water up their nose, it could be weeks before they are comfortable venturing back in. Eventually, they will get comfortable wading in the shallow end and want to venture out past the rope into the depths beyond basic technology integration.
Transformative Deep End
Once you cross the rope, you will not be able to stand up (except maybe hopping on your tiptoes for a little while). Someone venturing into this end of the pool, must have confidence in their teaching and know that they can tread water at times, but when things are going right and redefinition is happening, it’s almost like you can walk on water.
This doesn’t happen everyday, but without the practice of stumbling around in the shallow end of the pool, teachers can drown by trying to go into the deep end too quickly. They need to think about the purpose of swimming there. Some may decide to jump off the diving board straight into the deep end and learn how to integrate from day one with a particular learning objective. Others elect to take swimming lessons (Professional Development) and use the occasional swim noodle (instructional technology integrators) to help them stay afloat. In addition, they will want to make sure that a lifeguard (Principal) is on hand should they begin to really struggle and possibly blow the whistle when they need to take a break.
The bottom line is without time, practice, support, and motivation, rarely would a teacher elect to venture into that deep end of SAMR. The amazing thing is, once a teacher does enter that realm, they may realize that they aren’t swimming alone. Swimming in the transformative deep end doesn’t mean the students are on the side of the pool cheering you on. It means they are in the pool with you—working, collaborating, problem-solving, and creating their future with you at their side.
This blog was posted on behalf of John Galvin, vice president of the Sales and Marketing Group at Intel Corporation and general manager of the World Ahead Program, an integrated product and marketing team focused on global education.
Closing the achievement gap and giving all students access to a world of learning online remains one of the strongest allures of education technology. In the U.S., that conversation is often centered on the newest shiny device, slickest software or free app, but internationally mobile technology is revolutionizing learning too, often without fancy gadgets. Recognizing the creative learning strategies being implemented in developing countries could help expand thinking in the U.S and inform the ongoing discussion about how to use technology to deepen learning