Using mobile devices to promote learning

Just as Sesame Street helped transform television into a revolutionary tool for learning among young children four decades ago, advances in mobile technologies are showing enormous untapped educational potential for today’s generation.

This report released last month by a research centre based at the Sesame Workshop claims that children’s lives have been caught up in a tide of mobile digital technologies—games, cellphones, and smartphones— and that, if carefully managed, these could significantly boost their learning.

“It is no longer a question of whether we should use these devices to support learning, but how and when,” to use them,” writes Michael H. Levine, the executive director of the New York City-based Joan Ganz Cooney Center, at Sesame Workshop.

This The 52-page “Pockets of Potential: Using Mobile Technologies to Promote Children’s Learning”Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader draws on interviews with a cross-section of research, policy, and industry experts to illustrate how mobile technologies such as cell phones, iPod devices, and portable gaming platforms might be more widely used for learning. More than half of the world’s population now owns a cell phone and children under 12 constitute one of the fastest growing segments of mobile technology users in the U.S. Examining over 25 handheld learning products and research projects in the U.S. and abroad, the report highlights early evidence and examples of how mobile devices may help re-define teaching and learning in the decade ahead.

4 thoughts on “Using mobile devices to promote learning

  1. Hi Derek. Today I was at a Wellington kinde, checking in on a young student about to transition to school. With cell phone in one pocket and digital camera in the other, I caught footage with both devices of the student putting audio on her photostory, which we then posted to her blog. On the wing, the teacher and I chatted about the ease with which a student could take a photo with a cell phone and bluetooth it to a laptop. We reflected on the practice that although many kindes have adopted digital cameras, cell phones still remain an adult domain, yet many of the students in the kinde would be quite adept at moving around their parents or older siblings phones.

  2. Really appreciate this story, Chrissie – such a potent reminder that the technology we can use is all around us and so easily accessible. The ease with which data can be moved around with Bluetooth devices is certainly becoming a compelling reason to make sure the ICTs we purchase are Bluetooth compatible. What I like about the story you’ve shared is how it illustrates how empowered all involved were to achieve what they wanted to do because of the relative ease of use of the technology – as it becomes increasingly “invisible”, so the power of what we can achieve with it increases.

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