Why Mobile Phones Are Important For Education

Oct 2, 2019 by

Teachers are forever shouting at their students to put their phones away or confiscating them when students are using them when they shouldn’t be, but while there are many negatives to having phones in the classroom, the obvious being how distracting they are, there is also an argument for mobile phones in education and how, if properly managed, mobile phones can be used in a positive way and as tools which can help children to learn in the classroom. With them being so accessible and so cheap, especially for students with deals such as a SMARTY student discount, then it’s hard to find a student without a mobile phone, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and here’s why:

Educational Learning Apps

Mobile phones give students access to tools and apps that can help them complete and stay on top of their class work. They are apps that they wouldn’t get anywhere else. The tools that you will find on some of these apps can also teach students how to develop better study habits, as there are many apps for time management and organization skills. Then there are apps for learning languages, math, science, geography and ecology, you name it, any subject you can think of, you can find it, so for any eager, curious minds, apps can unlock a world of insights, and they’re entertaining, too! Many apps can also be used without an internet connection which makes them particularly appealing and consequently, schools all around the world are beginning to leverage the potential of mobile apps.

Social Media Can Be Positive

Using social media doesn’t have to be just about taking selfies and keeping up with friends, it can be used to keep students interested in class and encourage them to participate in the discussion. Teachers obviously need to do this right, but if they can create a twitter hashtag or start a message board that captures students’ attention, then students can use this during class discussions and to share thoughts and ideas. For students who might not be that comfortable speaking in class, this is especially appealing as it means they might participate more than they normally would in a lesson that didn’t include digital materials.

They Can Be Useful For Teachers

Teachers can take advantage of mobile phones by giving their students more resources to find out information on a particular topic. Whether its videos, news stories, online discussion groups, you can find these on mobile phones and all in one place and if teachers allow students to access these resources in the classroom it can help to encourage participation and discussions and provides them with easy access to more information. Mobile phones give students access to more details, allowing them to research more about a topic while having a class discussion; for example, they’re great for students to be able to discuss current events that have not been covered yet in the school textbooks that the students have.

They Are Helping Education Worldwide

In developing areas where computers may be unavailable or of poor quality. Books may also be rare, and tablets are uncommon, but mobile phones, however, are cheap and they are relatively easy to maintain. Now, more than three-quarters of the world’s population has a mobile phone meaning that there is access to learning and research for people all over the world

They’re Easy To Use

Ever seen a two-year-old pick up a phone and be able to use it? Understanding how to swipe, how to navigate around to get to where they want. Again, this means for students in resource-deprived areas or anywhere, for that matter, phones provide a link to infinite information. Libraries, computer labs, community centers are all packed into a phone. Students who are curious about anything can instantly find answers, insights, or new routes for thinking. Students doing a project can use their phones to find out more and to enhance their understanding of a topic, and this means that classroom discussions can be also be enhanced by introducing content gleaned from a phone.

They Connect People

Students who have mobile phones can connect with their classmates or other students all over the world. This allows learning to extend beyond the classroom as students can help each other, discuss with each other, and learn from each other. Mobiles can also be used to create online hubs for students where they can discuss topics while a teacher weighs in and moderates.

They Encourage Motivated learning

According to a study in 2017 of primary and nursery schools in Northern Ireland, there is a huge range of benefits from using the devices in the classroom. One of the most interesting findings was that children view learning on the devices as play. This meant that the children were more motivated and enthused to learn as a result. For the most part, the study also said that teachers at the participating schools believed that the introduction of digital technology in the schools had a positive impact on the development of the children’s numeracy skills as well as reading and writing. They also thought that iPads in the classroom enhanced communication skills and that, particularly where pupils were sharing devices, there was a high level of discussion.

They Provide A Modern Learning Experience

Students have different expectations today, and the world can’t dramatically change for adults in the workplace due to technology and not filter down to students. For older students, having flexible, accessible mobile learning supports them in developing their independence, ownership of their learning and development, and it helps them when it comes to time management of their studies. Students expect a 21st-century learning experience which means one that is convenient, one that is tailored to their personal needs and saves them time. This is precisely what mobile learning does. If students today are not provided with such an experience, then this can become a barrier to successful learning. 

Mobiles Allow More Transparency For Parents

Mobiles can also help parents to connect with teachers and stay up to date with their child’s progress at school. Now that there are digital portfolios that are easily accessed through a Virtual Learning Environment at home on mobile devices, this has helped to bridge the school-home divide. Having all this information available has given parents more of an insight into the schoolwork their children have been doing, the class activity, any assignments that are due, and their child’s overall progress. It also means that parents are aware of topics that are being discussed in the classroom, which gives them the opportunity to bring the conversation into the home and something to discuss over the dinner table.

They Prepare Students For The Workplace

As mentioned, while the workplace has transformed thanks to mobile technology, it only makes sense that the same happens in education. Embracing mobile in education familiarises students with ways of learning that are increasingly adopted in the workplace today. This prepares them for what they will undoubtedly come across in future employment. Learning is something that continues well beyond education, but in the workplace, it can be difficult to find the time for face-to-face training, whereas E-Learning is something that now fits into employee schedules. E-learning is becoming more and more popular as it can be accessed from wherever their job takes them, at anytime. Mobile technology has already had an influence on when, where, and how learning takes place. In today’s hyper-connected world, its influence will continue to grow. 

It looks as though mobile devices will continue to have a place in the classroom and perhaps even occupy a more significant role in the classroom. The integration of mobile technologies into education and the learning experience supports new and exciting ways of delivering engaging content to students; it also helps build the digital skills young people need beyond education. 

Image by Sagar Biswas from Pixabay

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