Mobile Technology in Teaching and Learning

 

 

Write about mobile technology in teaching and learning.

 

Introduction

Mobile technology in teaching and learning has become part of the norm across the globe. From K12 through the tertiary institutions, we witness some aspect of the use of mobile technology in the teaching and learning process (Park et al., 2011). 
Smartphones and tablets just like pen and paper have become part of the tools of the classroom. From Facebook, Youtube, google among other social apps, both students and faculty continue to engage in the teaching and learning process. 
Unfortunately, the debate on the role and benefits of this system continues at all levels, and stakeholders including policymakers, politicians, parents, educators, and students are divided. Opponents stand by the idea that mobile technology has no play in education and has become a distraction and waste. Proponents on the other side swear that mobile technology is the best thing that has happened to education in a long time. It has granted access to those that were left in the dark and aided in cost efficiency and time management. 

Opponents          

Some are of the view that mobile technology should not be used until at the tertiary level when the students can benefit more due to their maturity. At basic and secondary levels students that have a sense of maturity or responsibility to focus on utilizing the technology to engage in learning. Just like we see on our roads with the majority of teenagers' texting and driving resulting in accidents. Another fear is that with the rise in sexting and cyberbullying by the same age groups, allowing them to use mobile technology in the learning environment would be an extension for them to engage in such vices (Naismith et al., 2004).   
Lack of training for even in advanced nations such as the States, faculty, and students are not given the proper training to adequately prepare them to integrate mobile technology into the teaching and to learn the process (Hew et al., 2007). The push to accept change by most of our faculty in using technology to teach accounts for these epidemics. The fear of trying new tricks of the trade by our majority baby boomers that are in teaching positions has become the biggest roadblock. The politicians' lack of commitment to providing the proper training for faculty is an additional challenge.
Extra time is needed to develop and manage the integration of mobile technology in education. Teachers have to invest more time in learning the technology and also producing the needed materials. In addition, teachers need to train and develop their students' skills. The teachers also assume the position of a desk helps IT consultant 24/7. Students will contact them anytime for assistance and require them to be available outside of classroom hours (Liu, M., Navarrete, C. C., & Wivagg, J. 2014).

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Benefits

It helps to increase the instructional time. Learning continues outside the classroom. The allocated classroom time is inadequate to benefit both faculty and students, and therefore the use of mobile technology is a plus for both groups to engage in learning. Education is an ongoing process and must be continued without limitation to time, and distance. Methods such as Flipping the Classroom are known to be a very good method that benefits both students and faculty (Berrett et al., 2012). This method depends on mobile technology to be effective. Mobile technology has nearly infinite possibilities for education, networking and personal productivity (Lunsford, 2010, p. 66). Also, mobile technology gives the students more opportunities to practice homework than the traditional method (Liu, M., Navarrete, C. C., & Wivagg, J. 2014).
In the long term, mobile technology in education is cost-effective. Aside from the initial cost of acquiring such devices, the cost and benefits make it relatively cheaper than the traditional methods (Kim et al., 2006). Once the faculty is trained, and students get trained on what the expectations are, it becomes cost-efficient to engage in the learning and teaching process.
The challenge of accessibility is mostly solved through the usage of mobile technology (Elias et al., 2011). The majority of students would benefit from engaging in education 24/7. As students move from high school to college, the easy and benefits of mobile technology would greatly increase. The government and parents would spend less on facilities such as a new classroom, and textbooks and other stationaries. Mobile technologies are more durable and would stand wears and tears. According to Garrison (2011, p. 1) the ability to create and sustain communities of learners. The communication and data capabilities of the devices move the classroom outside of the norms of space and time (M. EL-Hussein & Crone, 2010; Yeonjeong, 2011). This extends accessibility to students in other deprived areas. 
Mobile devices give both faculty and students the social presence. Students are no longer kept in the dark due to being shy or in overcrowded classrooms. According to Palloff & Pratt (2007, P.28), this is the person we become when online and how we express that person in virtual space.  
Educators through innovation gain an advantage through the use of mobile technology. Faculty can experiment and enhance their delivery methods. They can use social media such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to reach their students. Both faculty and students can collaborate with others outside their classroom to enhance their learning capability. According to Keegan et al. (2002), Mobile learning is the harbinger of future learning. It has the ability to change learning and teaching. Both students and faculty can benefit greatly through the use of technology in engaging in education.
Support Services: Mobile technology in education is not only limited to academic work. Some institutions have tapped into mobile technology as a tool for the delivery of support services such as counseling. According to Mullen et al., (2005:805) it is essential that counseling services utilize this medium to reach broader and more diverse student groups and to ensures service delivery. Mobile technology in education will continue to grow as a result of collaboration with other sectors such as health, corporate, and finance. It allows those who are shy to access health care services that they may feel uncomfortable discussion via face to face (Schreiber et al., 2011) 
Common tool: The use of mobile technology has become our lifestyle around the globe. From developed to developing nations like the United States and South Africa, the proliferation is a commonplace. According to The Afrobarometer (Afrobarometer, 2008) suggests that 73% of South Africans use a mobile phone ‘every day'. The students are major contributors. It only makes sense to use these tools for educational purposes since it is readily available and accessible. It has overtaken radio and television penetration. In addition, "increase in mobile technology use by college-age students over the past five years: from 1.2 percent in 2005 to 62.7 percent in 2010 "(Smith and Caruso 2010). This fact and opportunity cannot be ignored.
Promptness: According to Schreiber & Aartun (2011)” The immediacy and prompt accessibility might make the online support service more attractive." Students love to have prompt answers to their questions and faculty believes in quick response to their questions. Mobile technology has made this possible for all stakeholders.
Inequality: According to Kim (2007) "addressing education inequality issues in Latin America and possible opportunities with mobile learning technology to counter the effects of the education inequality." It is the picture in most developing nations and continents. The lack of classrooms, teachers, and textbooks has deprived the majority of children and qualified students of accessing all levels of education. Mobile technology is accessible in most parts of the underserved parts of the world so utilizing it to provide education will be a plus point for students. The inequality in education can be reduced by tapping into mobile technology.”
Motivation in learning: Student-faculty engagement is on a high with the use of mobile technology. Students can freely engage with their teachers without being shy of fear of peer pressure. "Motivation was found associated with a lower dropout rate, higher-quality learning, better learning strategies, and more enjoyment of school" (Carlton & Winsler, 1998; Czubaj, 2004; Deci & Ryan, 1985; Kauffman, 2004; Moneta, 2004 )

Conclusion

Students, faculty, parents, communities and the government has to acknowledge that mobile technology is here to stay and must be incorporated into our educational system just like religion and politics.  Students and faculty would use mobile technology even outside the classroom for personal and social benefits. Why not for education? Education will lose if we ignore the presence and importance of mobile. This article is very important to all stakeholders including faculty, students, government, parents, and communities. Experts such as Soloway predict that "within 5 years, every student, in every grade, in every school will be using a mobile learning device"(GoKnow, 20 10). Mobile technology in education is here to stay and will grow in the future. Proponents need to find a way of accepting this and working with it. Spending their resources in fighting the use of mobile technology in education is not productive. The call for mobile technology in education helps to create the best innovation for teachers to teach and students to learn in the most efficient and effectively (Schmidt-Crawford, et al., 2012)
This presentation would be used for potential parents of Homecoming Africa High School and Community College in Ghana. All new students shall be issued a tablet to aid the flip in the classroom method of teaching and learning. The initial cost would be high, but over the period of their program, it would become cheaper relatively.  The faculty would undergo IT training before the commencement of the academic year. Students would also be required to do likewise at the start of the school year and also IT classes will be a core part of all courses. The best part of the mobile revolution according to Husbye & Elsener (2013) "In an age of shrinking budgets for educational technology, the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) approach has gathered traction as more and more of our students bring laptops, smartphones, and tablet computers to class." Students and faculty need not spend money on acquiring new devices which are cost-saving. So the idea that mobile technology will add cost is not relevant since students can use their current mobile devices.  

Reference  

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