Brookings Institution Event Highlights Potential of Mobile in Education
How do we harness the power of mobile learning in education? A recent Brookings Institution event Mobile Learning: Transforming Education and Engaging Students and Teachers engaged two expert panels, one of which included NCTAF’s Elizabeth Foster, to discuss critical issues and potential solutions.
The first panel examined the challenges to implementing mobile enabled K-12 education. Access and equity, resources and financing, teacher professional development, and redesigning curriculum – all were identified by panelists as key challenges that need to be addressed in order to realize the potential of mobile learning in education.
A critical issue identified by panelists and audience members was the question of how educators should be prepared to teach in mobile enabled education environments. As panelist Shirley Malcolm of the American Association for the Advancement of Science wondered, “Are we ready for a learning setting that looks different from what we have now?”
The second panel highlighted projects designed to respond to the challenges raised during the first panel. Elizabeth Foster, NCTAF’s Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, talked about the Teachers Learning in Networked Communities (TLINC) 2.0 project, which was funded by Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach Initiative. Through TLINC 2.0, NCTAF partnered with five schools of education to provide mobile devices to pre-service teachers. The project allowed NCTAF and its university partners to determine how mobile can support future teachers as they build personal learning networks, forge strong connections with faculty and mentor teachers, and embrace mobile learning opportunities as part of their student teaching experiences.
However, Foster cautioned that putting mobile devices in the hands of future teachers does not guarantee they will be used for a professional purpose. She discussed how this important lesson led NCTAF to create a blended course, which was piloted by Albany State in Albany, Ga., to help pre-service teachers create a personal learning network through focused engagement with mobile that offered guided exploration, modeled implementation, and provided opportunities for resource sharing and self-reflection.
The event coincided with the release of a new report by The Brookings Institution’s Darrell West, Founding Director of the Center for Technology Innovation. The report, Mobile Learning: Transforming Education, Engaging Students, and Improving Outcomes, discusses NCTAF’s TLINC project as an example of how mobile enables innovation in education.