Mobile connectivity is changing the way students study, learn, and interact with peers and teachers. According to a 2013 Speak Up survey from Project Tomorrow, 60% of students are using wireless devices for research, 43% for educational games and 40% for collaboration with fellow classmates.
Increasingly, teachers see mobile learning as a fundamental new paradigm for education. According to a recent Pew study, 96% of Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers think digital technology gives students the ability to share work with a larger audience and 79% agree that it encourages peer collaboration.
Supporting widespread adoption of technology for higher learning, President Obama recently announced major steps toward realizing the goals of the Administration’s ConnectED program. This includes a new $750 million education initiative that brings together top private telecom and tech companies to support digital access in 15,000 schools across the country. These companies will provide tablets, computers, Internet connectivity and other services to classrooms in need.
FCC Chair Tom Wheeler followed up on these commitments, announcing $2 billion in reforms to the current E-Rate program that will prioritize funding for high-speed broadband initiatives so all students have access to critical online learning tools. These reforms will give 20 million additional students the connectivity they need to thrive in a 21st century learning environment.
While government is stepping up its focus on using technology for education, there is a lot of exciting innovation also coming from entrepreneurs and innovators across the nation. For instance, The Mobileys’ third place winner Learn with Homer provides a comprehensive reading app for young children. Using wireless connectivity as a tool to provide this and other learning resources is advantageous at any stage of education.
As new generations grow up without landline phones, dial-up Internet connections, or even paper textbooks, they increasingly rely on mobile devices to learn. Industry stakeholders and policymakers should continue to work together on initiatives to empower students with these educational tools and shepherd in a bright mobile future for all.