While mobile learning (M-learning) is still a relatively novel concept in a traditional classroom setting, over the last few years it has seen a sharp rise in use across the world. It can be a fantastic complement to proven education technology like interactive flat panel displays (IFPDs), and allows for the kind of flexibility of learning that is not practical in traditional lesson delivery.

For those uninitiated, M-learning uses mobile devices such as tablets or phones to allow students to learn wherever and whenever they like, in or out of the classroom. These devices can connect to an IFPD, such as the ActivPanel Elements Series, to give the teacher ultimate control, while also allowing a greater level of independence for the learner: they can choose what and when they learn, at a pace that fits them.

But is this heightened personalisation really the pinnacle of pedagogy? Let’s investigate:

 

The rewards

There are so many different technology-aided ways to deliver a lesson, difficult to implement in a more traditional learning environment, which M-learning can make great use of.

More immersive technologies like AR/VR can put students in real-world simulations, allowing them to see practical uses for the content they are learning. Those who benefit from experiential learning are well-suited for this.

The opportunities to gamify educational content are endless when you take the curriculum to its digital extreme. This makes for heightened, engaging lesson delivery for students, with rewards and tangible goals as they learn.

Connecting the devices to an IFPD for polls and quizzes means the teacher can track progress easily in real-time, allowing for a speedy response when students might be having trouble with certain elements.

Having students take control over their own learning frees up time for the teacher that would usually be spent on lesson delivery. Teachers can use this acquired time to focus on more dynamic methods of teaching, including one-on-ones with individuals to revise and clarify. 

 

The challenges

Even when conducted through a centralised mainframe like an IFPD, M-learning does take an element of control and interaction away from the teacher. While this can be a good thing for fostering autonomy in students, it can be dangerous in the long run for a healthy, respectful student-teacher relationship if improperly handled.

M-learning is also not a cheap option. Providing each student with a personal device is obviously a significant investment, and realistically not one that is going to be within reach to all. This is likely to change in the future, as technology invariably becomes more accessible as years go on.

 

The verdict

While the edtech sector continues to expand, allowing us to rethink different ways to connect students with curriculum content, M-learning will undoubtedly become a major player moving forward.

As with most significant edtech investments, careful consideration must go towards staff training during implementation. This will help ensure that the technology is being phased in properly, to be used in a manner that maximises the potential benefits to students and teachers alike.

Read more about personalising learning in our blog:

How edtech can support personalised learning