In a time of deeper and deeper cuts to education budgets, keeping community colleges afloat can prove challenging, but it’s a problem for which technology can provide one possible solution. The fiscal crisis has colleges experimenting with collaborative and virtual efforts to increase access to courses, as online education and mobile learning not only expands community colleges’ reaches, but also saves them money. Through one-time investments in equipment like telepresence endpoints, community colleges can set themselves up to offer increasingly desirable distance learning options for years to come. And, by embracing popular trends like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), community colleges can also configure their networks to support mass wireless connectivity and virtual access, mobilizing their academic offerings and making them more attractive to potential students.
As we look seriously at connected learning, the influx of notebooks and mobile learning applications has been astounding. This week, in fact, Apple took over much of the news with the launch of its iPad Mini. In the previous weeks leading up to this launch, I heard and read discussions around education being a key target audience for this new iPad offering, which renewed my intrigue in the use of handheld devices & mobile learning.
Bloomberg discussed the rise in iPads being used in the classrooms due to its “cool factor” and ability to encourage students to learn by increasing engagement. More than 2,500 classrooms currently utilize iPads as learning tools, and this number is expected to increase with the continued growth of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Superintendent of the McAllen Independent School District in Texas was quoted saying, “We’re moving away from desktops and laptops. Ninety percent of the work is now being done on mobile devices.”
Think about that for a minute -- ninety percent -- wow. With mobile learning amongst Forbes recent list of Five Technologies to Watch, it is obviously only going to increase in momentum. In addition, the potential revolution in digital textbooks is primed to change the entire landscape. The jury is still out on when that revolution will take place, but it’s looking more and more like a reality.
Are you, or do you know, an educator who is formatting educational materials for mobile devices and planning learning activities that leverage multimedia, videoconferencing and other features of smart phones and tablets? Tell us your story! (and what you think of the new iPad mini)
Innovation is alive and well in education. You don’t have to look far to find teachers using technology to personalize teaching and learning in their classrooms. There are also many outstanding examples of schools of distinction that have integrated technology into curriculum and instruction. However, there are precious few examples of school districts that are systemically employing technology as a foundational strategy to improve student achievement. That’s why the Mooresville Graded School District (MGSD) stands out as a shining example of 21st century education and why their recently concluded Summer Connection 2012 institute is so important.
A vision of “every child, every day”, digital resources and a culture of caring are keys to the success of the Mooresville Digital Conversion. However, reform does not happen without leadership. Mooresville is fortunate to be led by one of the most innovative educators in American education today. Listen as Dr. Mark Edwards, Superintendent of the MGSD describes the impetus and impact of Mooresville Digital Conversion.
MGSD ranks 100 out of 115 North Carolina school districts in funding yet ranks 2nd in student achievement and its graduation rate is also the 2nd highest in the state. Can these results be replicated in other districts? Is there a way to scale the Mooresville model? That’s where Summer Connection comes in.