Monday, April 9, 2018

Getting Schooled: Supporting Education Through Mobile

Maybe you didn’t grow up with every kid in class having a smartphone or a tablet…I sure didn’t. But, today’s educators are utilizing technology in the classroom and getting their students to learn in unique ways. Apple–a giant in the tech world–sees tech being such an integrral part of the educational experience that it launched an entire event around the new offerings for school systems and teachers. Among the offerings promoted were a cheaper iPad, a new “Apple Pencil”–a Crayon stylus that’s being produced by partner Logitech, and a native iTunes app called Schoolwork. These innovations are a recent push by the tech leader to bridge the gap between themselves and the two main players in the education technology industry (Microsoft and Google). With high-speed internet now in thousands of schools across the nation, app developers are able to create unique mobile experiences for students that not only help students in the classroom, but encourage them to use their phones for research, completing schoolwork, and keeping track of their own success even outside of the classroom. Let’s see how use cases for mobile could help to foster learning in the classroom:

Audio Recorded Feedback
With written feedback, there can sometimes be miscommunication between students and teachers, as a student might misunderstand the wording or be afraid to bring it up. Apple’s new app, Schoolwork, allows teachers to record their thoughts and publish it with the graded work. This has the potential to save educators the time laboring over writing out all of the feedback, and instead allows parents to be able to hear the feedback and see all of the assignments in one location.

Homework Reminders
There are several reminder functions within smartphones already, but Remind equips schools to individualize student assignment reminders by grade, classroom, or home address. The app includes a school-wide texting function for possible weather issues or general announcements. One user, Milwaukee Public Schools, said it allows the teachers to “extend learning beyond the school day.”  

Live Polling
As a student, there was nothing worse than having your professor move on from a topic that you didn’t understand. Polleverywhere.com is a live, interactive forum where students can choose a letter or number to represent an opinion or an answer. The software can run anonymously, allowing students who may not have picked up the topic to say they’d like to spend a few more minutes on it. It can keep the students from embarrassment and provides instant feedback for the teacher, saving face and time.

Mobile Activations
One of my favorite things to talk about are mobile activations–specifically, the power behind the recent QR code comeback. As mobile surpass desktop and tablet usage in schools, teachers can use QR codes to open up their students to new resources and learning techniques. This teacher used it for daily reading and others have utilized QR for further research on school projects.

Apple is just one of the tech giants to catch on to the glaring need to keep schools updated with the latest tech, which is why it’s great to see that they’re seeking to provide unique, mobile-driven student experiences to encourage growth and success. Most students possess a highly-powerful computer right in their pockets–and bringing the smartphone into the classroom could lead to a more educated and tech-savvy generation.