The introduction of mobile devices as a learning media has initiated a shift in the educational technology landscape. With the advancement in mobile learning technologies, online k-12 schools have now a potential choice for imparting education. The use of mobiles and other related digital media as an alternative source of information by the online k-12 schools is the most recent development in the field of educational technology.
The landscape of educational technology is forever shifting. With more and more students opting for online k-12 schools, there has been a soaring demand for faster and advanced modes of communication, that these digital advancements with all the new twists and turns, seem to meet. The introduction of the portable technology for education represents the latest shift. Mobile devices like the smartphones, iPods etc now have a new purpose to serve as effective learning tools.
Online k-12 schools with their newest modification in educational programs have given mobile devices a new identity. Considered nuisances till a few years ago, smartphones and iPods were banned in many classrooms and school campuses. But with progress of the educational programs of online k-12 schools, these same tools are now being viewed as a cost-effective alternative by an increasing population of teachers. It is apparent that the field of mobile learning is going to be explored further in future and evaluated on its effectiveness in sustaining the 1-to-1 computing programs.
What is mobile learning?
Mobile learning, or as it often referred to as M-Learning, may signify different ideas for different communities. In general, it is related to Internet-based learning and distance education with mobile devices, remaining firm on its focus on learning across contexts. Mobile learning can decrease a limitation associated with the location of learning, with the general portability of the mobile devices. Online k-12 schools can be held as an instance which have minimized the limitations of learning locations and can employ the mobile learning technologies to great effects.
Portable tools associated with mobile learning include hand-held computers, notebooks, MP3 players and mobile phones, although not limited to these. Mobile learning increases the mobility of the learners. Like every thing else, education also needs to evolve with the advancement of technologies. Today’s young population are increasingly mobile and to accommodate them and support them, society and institutions must adopt newer means. Giving acknowledgment to this truth, the online k-12 schools have welcomed the portable technologies to interact with the students.
Accessible from virtually anywhere, mobile learning is a convenient way of imparting education. It is also collaborative like other forms of Internet-based learning, Instantaneous sharing of contents provides instant feedback and tips. Online k-12 schools have been always in search of effective alternatives to books and printed resources. With small RAMs, mobile learning adds portability to study materials. In addition to the tailored learning contents, mobile learning is engaging and fun.
Quite likely, more and more online k-12 schools are expected to utilize mobile technologies for education in the coming years. Today’s generation can view this as a great opportunity to have an entertaining experience with their educational courses. The increasing popularity of online k-12 schools among students reflects the basic changes in the society in approaching higher education.
Following the online k-12 schools, many other schools are also accepting the ubiquitous presence of mobile technology in education. Drawing inference on the advantages of technology, they are urging parents to provide their children with laptops and computers. Schools are even ready to address complex issues regarding equality of access for students, for example, in case of inability to afford the cost involved. In many districts, the schools are handing out laptops and notebooks to the students, representing a mobile learning commitment. Following the trend of the online k-12 schools, this effort, to find out creative ways of starting and maintaining 1-to-1 computing programs, is likely to continue.
Advantages and disadvantages of mobile learning with the online k-12 schools
There have been many reviews and opinions about the merits and drawbacks of the introduction of mobile technologies as learning aids by the online k-12 schools. Apart from the portability, there are some other advantages associated with these devices like:
- Support for training and performance where the real work takes place
- Space for immediate application of new skills and knowledge
- Training at the time of necessity
- Appropriate use of rich media
- Immediate access to experts
- Build a community or network of practice, exchanging problems and solutions
- Locating individual’s expertise with a continuous synchronized training
Online k-12 schools have counted on these prospective aspects to employ mobile learning. However there are certain demerits also like:
- Fragmented learning experience
- Lack of proper meta-cognitive skills
- Difficulties with small screens and accessing web
- High costs
- Security of the devices and the data
The demerits can be overcome with responsible and sincere application of mobile-learning, as intended by the online k-12 schools.