Mobile Learning

In an article for Education World, Cara Bafile (2009), highlights the endeavor of 5th grade teacher Matt Cook as he brings cell phones into the hands of his students to study the effect on learning.  Cook stated in the article that it is worth investigating, as he thinks the use of cell phones “will become the cheapest way to do one-to -one computing” (Bafile, 2009).  Cook also stated that he saw an increase in communication after hours between himself and students.  Why is Cook’s idea worth mention?  “It is imperative that instructors learn about and adapt to the changing environments,” (Corbeil & Valdes-Corbeil, (2007).

Whether or not your students are using cell phones for academics, they are surely using them, or some other technology throughout their day.  How can we leverage what they are using, or are provided with if one-to one to increase student achievement?  We must have the support from various parties:  students, parents, and administrators.  I am fortunate that my current district is 1:1 with MacBooks.  It eliminates some problems that may be encountered in a bring your own device (BYOD) district.  The biggest challenge that I see is supporting all the various devices that may be encountered. Second is ensuring that each device has the ability to access the network to be able to complete whatever they need to do so that they are not relying on data plans, or a signal that could be non-existent for many reasons. However, it is worth getting the technology into the classroom however you can.

Mobile learning can bring the world to the students.  Literally.  Using Google Earth, students can explore the moon through the viewpoint of previous lunar missions.  This is just one example of virtual field trips.  Students in Matt Cook’s class documented work as they completed science activities.  There are many apps available that can help students learn, like Quizlet (great for vocabulary, main concepts, etc.) and Quizizz (allows continued tries at home and a game feature for in class).  It can also begin to break down some barriers that occur when trying to communicate with home.

The technology can be helpful in providing feedback – to the student and the teacher.  Student response systems were very helpful in providing such feedback to the teacher.  Teachers reported students were more engaged when they were used, but that there was a steep learning curve to the program (Kaleeta & Joosten, 2007).  However, new programs and apps like Kahoot! bring a new edge to student response systems.  The program itself is more engaging, and provides instantaneous feedback.  Lipp (2015) states, “teachers and students saw immediate feedback between questions, students hardly notice they are evaluating their own knowledge and being evaluated”.  Students need devices to participate in this activity.  Other uses for the devices:

  • Reviews/Studying
  • Information disbursement (podcasts, videos, materials)
  • Demonstration of learning (by students – provides many options)
  • Increased/enhanced communication

Planning for the use of these devices, or any technology, must be done carefully.  If not, it may not have the desired effect on student learning.  “Only when computing devices – desktops to smartphones – are used as essential tools for teaching and learning doest hat lead to increased student achievement” (Norris & Soloway, 2013). Norris and Soloway (2013) suggest that to be of value and benefit, the technology needs to be planned into the curriculum.  Technology must enhance the topic, and not just be used for the sake of using technology.


Bafile, C. (2009). “Mobile technology goes to school.” Retrieved June 1, 2017 from:

Corbeil, J., & Valdes-Corbeil, M. (2007, January 1). Are You Ready for Mobile Learning? Retrieved June 01, 2017, from

Kaleta, R., & Joosten, T. (2007). Student response systems: A university of Wisconsin system study of clickers. Educause Center for Applied Research, 2007(10). Retrieved June 1, 2017.

Lipp, G. (2015, July 2).  Kahoot! as formative assessment [Blog Post].  Retrieved from:

Norris, C., & Soloway, E. (2013, april 17). To see increases in student achievement in 1:!/BYOD classrooms teachers must be given curriculum with technology activities baked in [Blog Post].  Retrieved from:



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