Yesterday, we started looking into some questions to ask before jumping into a 1:1 or mobile learning program in your school or district. For part 2 of this 3 part series, we will look into:
Should the devices all be school provided or a mixture of BYOD and school provided?
Should students be allowed to bring school-owned devices home?
What about students who do not have internet access at home?
How can mobile device reduce paper consumption?
How will teachers share resources with student devices?
How will students submit assignments to teachers?
How will digital licenses of resources such as etextbooks be managed?
How will teachers be trained to effectively incorporate these new devices?
One of the biggest benefits, aside from student achievement, of adding mobile devices to your school is the ability to go paperless, or close to it. According to TreeHugger.com, a school with 1,000 students spends almost $20,000 a year on printing costs including paper, toner and maintenance fees.
When students all have their own mobile device, teachers no longer need to hand out printed versions of class assignments. Instead, these handouts can be digitally distributed to students, saving teachers time and the school money. Additionally, electronic versions of information are less likely to be misplaced by students than their paper counterparts.
While some things are still better suited for paper and pencil, many current activities that require paper can become digital once students are equipped with mobile devices.
How Will Teachers Distribute Resources to Students?
Once the decision has been made to cut paper consumption, teachers need a way to quickly distribute information and resources to students on their devices. Many mobile devices are not designed for networking and thus do not have a native way to share resources with a group.
For this, teachers have turned to applications and cloud-based options. Dropbox and Google Documents have won over many classes who are already using 1:1 devices.
Learning Management Systems such as Blackboard and Moodle can also be used. In this manner, the teacher loads the required documents into the LMS and students login and access course materials as needed.
However, with all of these options, students will need access to the internet each time they wish to view the required material. This means that students are unable to review assignments or catch up on some work when they do not have internet access, such as when they are on the bus home from school.
For times when access to resources without an internet connection is preferred, the MediaCAST Mobile Learning Content Manager provides the solutuion. Through this app, teachers are able to quickly deliver content to an entire class worth of mobile devices at once. Anything from videos to PDFs to PowerPoint presentations can be shared with student devices. Once shared, a copy is made on the device allowing students to view the resource even without internet connection. For resources with limited licenses, such as etextbooks, expiration dates can even be set to ensure the resource is retuned and available for the next set of students.
How will Students Submit Assignments?
For worksheets, students can easily complete them on their mobile devices without printing them out. Written assignments can be typed instead of handwritten.
Once it is time to submit the assignment, there are a few options, the most popular of which are Dropbox and email.
My personal preference for completing this task is email. Email is the preferred method of communication in higher education as well as the work place. By encouraging students to submit assignments via email, they will learn to use this important communication medium effectively.
What are your thoughts on the topics discussed today?
Be sure to check back tomorrow for part three of Planning for Mobile Learning.