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Let’s examine and consider mobile devices in education. Students need to become more tech savvy to compete in today’s economy, and mobile devices offer supplemental learning and a new style to learn. A recent report noted that educators see great potential in mobile technology for transforming learning. The most commonly expected and desired benefits are that mobile technology is engaging for students (62 percent of respondents) and that the devices can be used to personalize instruction to meet the needs of different students. There is no question educational institutions need to seize this mobility trend for better learning and to ensure our next generation is tech savvy.

Does your child’s school provide mobile devices for their learning or does it require your child to bring their own mobile device? I know in my case, my son’s school has a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. Yet some schools, whether higher education or primary or secondary schools, have made the decision to buy mobile devices for their student population. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest district in the United States, headed down this path to offer all students and teachers Apple iPads — only to find some challenges like unseen costs, secure access issues, and unclear policies. Others, like Bucks County School District in Pennsylvania and McAllen School District in Texas, have enjoyed the benefits of providing mobile device usage (whether BYOD or school sanctioned) in a simple and secure manner in the education environment by leveraging Cisco infrastructure.

The use of mobile devices by young children, whether it be for education or entertainment, has soared. A new report from Common Sense Media, a child-advocacy group based in San Francisco, found that 17 percent of children 8 and younger use mobile devices daily, up from 8 percent in 2011. I am guessing that education and entertainment will continue to drive this number each year. What is your opinion on schools using mobile devices? Is this the shiny new penny to improve our education systems? And as an IT professional, what is your experience with the mobility and secure access considerations?

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