Over the last five years or more, the smartphone revolution has begun to permeate our educational spaces and both teachers and pupils are embracing mobile technology as tool for learning and progress. In 2017, 96% of young people aged 16-24 in the UK professed to own a smartphone (compared with 60% in 2012), according to data from Statistica, so it makes sense for educators to utilize this technology in a classroom context.
This graph from Statistica charts mobile phone usage across six years for different age groups.
But to what extent is the use of mobile technology in the classroom strengthening teaching and learning? We know that it’s an efficient medium: it’s convenient and quick to access; but is it robust enough for a learning environment?
The answer, according to numerous professionals and pedagogists, is a resounding yes – if used properly and integrated with other methods. In fact, some say it’s important for teachers to integrate mobile technology into their lessons in order to prepare young people for the working world or integrate some of the best laptops for college students into their teaching arsenal. In The Global Search For Education conference, Thomas M Philip, Associate Professor at UCLA explained:
When mobile technologies are a set of tools in a repertoire of resources, that a teacher / facilitator has access to, they can be leveraged in powerful ways…Social networking coupled with the access to international and alternative news sources create unprecedented opportunities for young people to develop global consciousness as they learn with others from across the world.”
The following popular education apps demonstrate the impact mobile technology and AI can have on learning and progress on an academic as well as social level.
Kahoot! For competitive collaboration
Game-based learning platform Kahoot! Enables users to create quizzes and games using multiple choice questions and visuals to enhance engagement. Players respond to questions on their mobile devices and can compete individually or as part of a team. And it’s not just marketed towards education; Kahoot! Can be used in workplace scenarios to bring presentations or training sessions to life.
Games on a range of topics are available for users to engage with.
Duolingo For practice and consolidation
As the world’s most popular language learning app, Duolingo is the go-to resource for anyone wanting to learn a language but who doesn’t necessarily have the time – or money – to invest in traditional lessons. Now teachers are using the app in their lessons to increase engagement through the ‘blended learning’ approach. A new dashboard feature is also making it easy for teachers to collect data and track progress in one place.
Mendeley For streamlining research
A decade ago, researching for a college or university essay entailed a trip to the library and a hotchpotch of Google Scholar sourced articles. The result? Overdue fines and a mess of printed resources. Thankfully, reference manager app Mendeley came along last year to provide a cure for the chaos.
Not only can users store, organise and annotate research documents, they can connect and collaborate with other users from around the world too, and even search for job opportunities. The app very much works with higher education institutions: for example, special features are available for librarians, providing them with key insights into content engagement.
My Study Life – For organizing the academic year
In 2010, on the cusp of his A Level study, Jamie Clarke found himself in a bit of a predicament: multiple learning platforms and intranets that refused to ‘speak’ to each other created something of an organisational nightmare. He used his knowledge of coding to build a solution, and shortly afterwards My Study Life was born. Students can use the app to schedule their learning lives by, amongst other things, setting revision tasks and inputting deadline reminders.
EdX – For long-distance learning
EdX is a collaboration between Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. The platform offers free access to 1600 online courses from over 100 top institutions worldwide. A range of subjects are covered: users can immerse themselves in German opera or swot up on data science. Verified certificates are available to users who wish to promote their new knowledge and skills to (potential) employers. You can now stream or download course videos to watch directly from your iPhone or Android device for learning on the go.
Slack is one of the most popular messaging platforms in business and is being adopted by teachers and lecturers to streamline communications and share information in the classroom. Slack serves as the central communication hub for a class, enabling them to share resources, engage in academic discussion and access course content.
The ever-evolving world of mobile technology, if utilized well, makes a positive difference how students engage with content and as a result, has the potential to improve academic attainment both inside and outside of the classroom.
Which education apps do you think deserve a shout out? Tell us in the comments below!
FULL FABRIC is group of higher ed professionals, technologists, designers marketers and entrepreneurs on a mission to improve student relationship management through a modern CRM for higher education.
About the author
Kate Tattersfield is a former teacher turned content creator at FULL FABRIC, specialising in writing for the education sector.