Mobile is everywhere — except in American schools.
Most adults are never without their mobile devices. There is a need to always be connected, whether to share photos online or send a quick work email after hours. In fact, according to a U.N. study released this year, more people worldwide have access to a mobile phone than to a toilet.
When it comes to utilizing mobile technology, education faces a variety of challenges. School districts have concerns regarding safety, equity and productivity.
The Learning First Alliance and Grunwald Associates LLC, with support from AT&T, released a report entitled Living and Learning with Mobile Devices, evaluating what parents think about mobile learning.
In the report, 72 percent of parents reported that their school districts don’t allow students to possess a family-owned mobile device while on campus.
The data suggest that parents may be the key component to successful integration of mobile devices and apps in the classroom. Parents appreciate the changing nature of life in the digital age, and they want their children to be prepared.
The report showed that 85 percent of parents completely or somewhat agree that mobile devices and apps can make learning fun. And more than 60 percent of parents believe that mobile devices and apps have benefits for teaching topics such as math, science, and reading.
Parents are already adopting mobile technology to enhance, promote and foster their children’s education. Forty-five percent of parents have bought or plan to buy a mobile device for educational use.
If implemented correctly, a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program could help address budget concerns when school districts are considering mobile integration; 56 percent of parents said they would be willing to purchase a mobile device if it was required for classroom use.
According to the National Education Association, if banning mobile devices becomes increasingly outdated, districts will need to ensure that schools have the tools and resources to create safe and constructive learning environments.
The report notes that if parents and schools were to join forces, mobile has the potential to be an enriching component of every child’s education. Schools could be an authority on how to utilize mobile technology and could provide guidance for different grade levels, and parents could continue to be mobile advocates and ensure that their children view mobile as much more than an entertainment outlet.
For more on the report’s findings, check out the infographic below.