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Creative Uses of Mobile Technology in Academia

Mobile technology has made an enormous impact on how we live, work, and play. The purpose of this article is to introduce you to how mobile technology is improving education, and what further role mobile technology can play in improving the link between teachers, students, and academic subject matter.

Breaking Down Geographic Limitations

Mobile technology has made it possible to overcome the geographic limitations associated with traditional learning. For example, mobile technologies embedded in smartphones and tablet computers can allow students to download and upload assignments from any location, and to interact with their professors and peers regardless of where they are. Mobile technologies are thus breaking down the geographic barriers associated with classroom instruction. As Wikieducator pointed out, mobile technologies also allow learning to take place in the absence of Internet connectivity, which raises the bar in allowing students from developing countries in participating in academia. Considering that more people now own cell phones than own computers, and that cost of owning mobile devices is cheaper than owning a computer, it’s easy to see why the spread of mobile technology will both democratize and globalize classrooms. Mobile technology will allow academic content to be consumed anywhere in the world, at any time, which is a revolutionary prospect for the world of learning.

Learning Anywhere

Mobile technology can be used to look up information and facilitate the learning process in innovative ways. Mobile technology gives students the ability to add to their knowledge in a contextual way. For example, language students in a study-abroad program could use tablet computers to access verb conjugation tables or biology students in the field could use smartphones to learn more about certain plants or animals glimpsed in the wild. Mobile technology allows students to bring the entire apparatus of learning with them wherever they go. There’s a huge difference between lugging around a computer and carrying a mobile device. Mobile devices are facilitating learning in environments in which the computer is inappropriate or impossible to use.

Classroom Instruction

Mobile technology can also be used to enhance the learning experience in traditional classrooms. For example, smartphones can be used to conduct classroom polls, and tablet computers can allow students to take notes in a more convenient fashion. St. Edmunds College cited research showing that mobile interfaces for reading books and other texts are becoming more popular; more and more students are likely to be viewing instructor-assigned texts through mobile technologies.

Rendering Pedagogy More Innovative

Knowledge generation in traditional academic settings is often conceived as a non-interactive data dump in which professors present large chunks of material to students, who are held responsible for assimilating this material largely on their own. One of the benefits of the spread of mobile devices in academia is going to be the change in pedagogy facilitated by mobility. In a mobile academic environment, professors will be more interactive and will have to redesign their curricula and pedagogy to facilitate more bite-sized forms of knowledge development. In the non-academic world, the spread of mobile technology has encouraged more interactivity between people and also streamlined the presentation of information (for example, from the e-mail to the SMS message). No one is necessarily suggesting that the learning process between teachers and students will come down to the exchange of text messages, but the spread of mobile learning in the classroom will certain promote more interactivity and streamlining of content presentation.

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