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Learning with Mobile Devices — What Parents Think

Cheryl S. Williams's picture

Today the Learning First Alliance (LFA) and Grunwald Associates, with the support of AT&T, are releasing a report, Living and Learning with Mobile Devices, that documents survey results of parents’ attitudes and perceptions of the value of mobile devices as learning tools for their school-aged children.  Not surprisingly, parent perceptions are influenced by the level of personal usage they have with mobile technology and, as parental usage goes up, comfort level with the notion of their children’s use of this technology also increases. 

The report is an important reflection of just how far we’ve come in the use of and advocacy for appropriate use of technology in schools and classrooms.  As someone who has spent the past 25 years advocating for innovation in teaching and learning supported with technology and expanded connectivity, my view is that we’re at an important crossroads in transforming both the formal and informal learning spaces with new, less expensive, and more powerful technical devices.  As the survey found, more than 50 percent of high school students take a cell phone to school with them every day, and 24 percent of those surveyed use those cell phones in structured educational activities in school…commonly referred to as a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) school policy.  At a recent conference sponsored by LFA member the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), three award-winning Digital Principals described their innovative approaches to school leadership that enshrined policies friendly to student-owned handheld devices in the classroom and supported their use in activities supporting the curriculum. 

Another finding in the Living and Learning with Mobile Devices report was the increased support for use of mobile technologies among parents of pre-school and early grades students.  For these students and their families mobile devices have been a ubiquitous presence from birth and thus accepted as a daily tool providing information and communication throughout the day.

The report draws some useful conclusions and important recommendations for educators, parents and policymakers.  It’s clear that there’s an unmet desire for more content and mobile applications with educational value that support learning for students of all ages.  Based on parent feedback, it’s also imperative that schools partner with parents on establishing guidelines for use of mobile devices in and out of school; that educators make an effort to share what they experience and learn from peers on successful approaches to learning supported with mobile devices; and that schools and parents partner with industry to communicate issues related to student needs and technology effectiveness for improving teaching and learning.

Finally, it seems impossible for educators to ignore the increasing presence of mobile technology in all our lives and to do so would further distance the relevance of public schooling from the demands of daily life and student growth.  This important report provides valuable information to guide planning for expanding the use of mobile devices in partnership with parents of children in our schools to build a dynamic learning environment for all our students.

See an infographic of the report's results here.


I have no confidence in a

I have no confidence in a story with no links to the actual survey. Surveys can be manipulated to fall in anyone's favor. I am in the technology field and have been for over 30yrs so I have seen first hand the advancements that we have made. The problem I have is that we have lost focus on the real reason for schooling many years ago. I saw this and pulled my kids out of public schools. I do believe there is a reason to bring in and stay abreast of technology but "don't forget what brung you" as they say.

The BYOD policy and lack of

The BYOD policy and lack of web apps for learning interest me. As a private tutor, I know the value of technology both as a reference and as visual aid. Sometimes I like to conduct a survey and have students text their responses to a website, but not often.

I would like to link you to an online tutoring website. This tutoring is amazing because it bridges the gap from traditional tutoring to an online community and brings students and tutors together.

http://us.classifieds.sulekha.com/yes-class-math-and-english-your-k-12-e...
Interestingly, you do not need to hire a tutor in your own state or country anymore!

Also, brung is not a word where I'm from. :p
http://yesclass.com/#/about/

I also think that mobile

I also think that mobile devices should be use inside the classroom but not for social media or other things that don't involve their studies.

As I learned today sitting in

As I learned today sitting in a seminar having to do with technology in education, there are programs available that educators can use in the classroom with tablets such as the iPad. It takes a little homework on the educators part to find the program that fits the course. I'm a huge proponent of using technology with young students. Many know how to use these devices at an early age and are eager to see what else they can do with them.

A great deal in 'education'

A great deal in 'education' sounds good and, of course, it's for the children. The problem always is the application.

Good teachers can overcome issues in improper use. Poor teachers dependent on lackluster administration more interested in child management than education can not.

Having your heart in the right place doesn't help if the heart is diseased. For the children can be a empty promise or a dire threat.

Then Common Core looms over the horizon with 'data gathering chips' in Student IDs coupled with 'portable devices'. Are you even remotely suspicious?

Education starts at home, and

Education starts at home, and as our children go to school the knowledge that we mothers share to them are enhanced.

An excellent comment and a

An excellent comment and a very auspicious beginning.

But there are those who would take children from parents at the earliest possible opportunity.
Kindergarden - Prussian for Children Farming.

Think about it...

I think that mobile devices

I think that mobile devices should be use inside the classroom but not for social media or other things that don't involve their studies.

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