Cell Phones - A New Tool in the Educational Arsenal
Educators, policymakers, and wireless industry leaders joined together at the Mobile Learning Conference 2009 in Washington, D.C. to discuss the promising future of educational technology in America and the key role the application of cellular technology and devices can play in helping kids learn in the classroom (www.wirelessfoundation.org
"Mobile broadband technology is increasing efficiency and productivity for businesses across the country, and this year's Mobile Learning Conference strongly suggests that the same can be true for America's schools," said David Diggs, Executive Director of The Wireless Foundation. "We anticipate a bright future for mobile learning as a means to better serve classrooms and communities throughout the U.S., and to give every American student all of the advantages we can in today's increasingly competitive global economy."
"We were so excited to learn this week from educators that utilizing wireless broadband services and devices for learning isn't just a trend, but rather a sustainable solution to educational technology that can enhance the classroom experience for millions of students in all areas of the country," said Carolyn Brandon, VP of Policy for CTIA - The Wireless Association.
Social Networking + Math = Fun Way to Learn
One initiative highlighted at the conference was Project K-Nect, a pilot project that used advanced mobile wireless technology to improve math skills among at-risk ninth grade students in select North Carolina schools. The project is supported by Qualcomm through its Wireless Reach™ initiative. "Social networking for educational purposes turned out to be one of the more useful outcomes of Project K-Nect as students reached out via their smartphones to get help on their math problems," said Dr. Irwin Jacobs of Qualcomm.
"If there's any technology that is going to bridge the digital divide, it's mobile technologies," said Dr. Soloway of the University of Michigan. Dr. Soloway, along with Dr. Cathleen Norris, founded GoKnow Learning, Inc., which is focused on developing technology-pervasive, standards-based, scientifically validated curriculum and educational tools, with the goal of enabling children to use their mobile, handheld devices for essentially 100% of the classroom's teaching and learning activities.
"We are at the tipping point for mobile learning," said Carly Shuler of the Sesame Workshop. "Just as television was a fundamental part of children's lives when Sesame Street introduced millions of children and their families to its educational potential, mobile devices are part of the fabric of children's lives today. When Sesame Street started, the question they sought to answer was 'How can emerging media help children learn?' This question is just as relevant today as we consider the role of mobile devices in the education of 21st century children."