Mobile technologies lead to a fundamental change in the way people live, including in education. UNESCO makes recommendations to governments as to keep up with the times.
In a world in which increasing dependence on communications and access to information, mobile devices are not a passing phenomenon. Since the power and capabilities of mobile devices are constantly growing, they can widely use as educational tools and to occupy a Central place in both formal and informal education.
says in the brochure “Recommendations of the UNESCO policy in the field of mobile learning”, developed by specialists of the education sector and the sector information of the world organization.
This leaflet aims to encourage the world community to the changes in education that would allow to exploit the full potential of mobile learning. Since most policies use of information technologies in education was formulated before the development of mobile devices, they do not consider fully the possibility of the latter.
The UNESCO experts have addressed their work primarily to those who develop public policy in education. But succinct and accurate statements that fit a lot of research experience in just forty pages of text will be useful to anyone who creates learning strategies, even at the level of the same class or study group.
What is the feature of mobile learning, what benefits it provides and how alters the learning process?
Naturally, mobile devices allow to organize the educational process regardless of time and place. This mobility two aspects: on the one hand, this means the opportunity to implement educational programs where highly trained specialists cannot be physically. On the other hand, modern technology, namely the system of cloud data storage, allow training without binding to specific devices. The student can change the cell phone, but all of his educational materials will be available. In addition, to perform different tasks, he may use different technical devices.
The phone enables to detect the location by GPS and read information using a QR code. It encourages you to develop situational learning where students gain complex knowledge about the world outside of class. For example, the program was created EcoMOBILE, which allowed American students to study aquatic ecosystems during the learning expeditions.
The continuity of education
Compared to the past when the use of information technology has been focused on desktop computers, projects in the field of mobile education is based on continuous and uncontrolled access of students to technology. Mobile devices which are always with man and belong to him personally, make the process of education is continuous: since students can complete assignments at any time, teachers can make the passive part of learning beyond the classroom and school time to be used for the development of social skills. Disciples for its part, can choose how and when they perform tasks outside of school.
The continuity of education has another manifestation: mobile phones allow to continue the educational process, even in areas of catastrophes and military conflicts. UNESCO research suggests that it promotes a more rapid recovery after crisis situations.
Personalization of learning
Mobile devices allow students to choose the level of difficulty of the assignments and content, including learning at your own pace. In addition, the mobile phone gives an opportunity for each student to comprehend the material as they see fit. This means that the developers of educational programs for mobile for greater efficiency should use different ways of presenting the same information: text, graphics, images, video.
Mobile apps allow students to self-assess your results and to quickly solve problems, performing the necessary tasks to consolidate the material.
Improving the quality of communication
Mobile devices allow to build fast and high-quality communication between teachers, students and educational institutions.
Feedback from students allows instructors to track progress individually for each student. In addition, using a mobile teacher organizes learning and continuity. So, one of the educational programs of UNESCO, aimed at the literacy of Pakistani girls, showed the effectiveness of this communication: after school courses, the girls receive text messages from teachers, which stimulated them to repeat the material and to practice writing. This has improved their preparation for exams three times.
What UNESCO recommends to maximize the potential of mobile learning?
UNESCO experts say that training teachers to use new technologies is more important than investing in the technology itself. Experience shows that without adequate teacher training, use of new technology only to solve old problems without changing the approach to learning.
Special attention should be given to the training of software developers and applications. You need to think in terms of mobility and take into account the specificities of mobile devices: small screen and limited data entry. Tools for mobile learning will develop faster if their creation will involve teachers themselves. To do this, there must be a platform that would allow anyone to create their educational product.
Mobile phones can help to education people with disabilities. But this feature, again, should take into account the developers programs, creating alternative forms of content delivery for people with various limitations.
In the context of higher education mobile technology could be a chance to maintain a personal approach to learning and to realize the statement that the whole world is a classroom.