“I know the answer! The answer lies within the heart of all mankind! The answer is…twelve? I think I’m in the wrong building.” - Charles M. Schulz
If we take the pulse of mobile education apps, we can see that they’re the scrawny kid in the playground compared to app usage areas such as social networking, games and entertainment.
As tablets and ipads are projected to become cheaper and more efficient in 2013, even surpassing laptop sales by the end of the year, coupled with the ever increasing number of online education participants, let’s study how mobile education apps can aid in the learning process and how their growth will be impacted.
Judging two different perspectives. The past and the possible future.
In a study by GDS Infographics in Q2 2011, education apps were at a humble 11% usage compared to others. Although Apple stated there are about 20,000 (currently there are 1,2bn+ worldwide mobile apps) education applications in their App Store, not many of them are heavily used.
One of the main concerns for teachers, colleges and highschools is the ability to integrate curriculums and classes into apps that are effective. The results vary, Wall Street Journal noted that online student Allison Schnacky grew an interest in history — previously describing it as the “boringest” of classes — after watching assigned videos of ancient Egypt on her computer and using mobile devices.
Many teachers and unions in Europe and US are worried about the impact of high-tech tablets and smartphones that allow distance classes to be held by an increasing number of students and children.
One of their main concerns, for example is the fact that while in a traditional high school, a teacher might handle 150 students, with online courses however, a teacher may supervise 250 students or more since he/she doesn’t have to write lesson plans and most grading is done by computer.
This leads to personnel and staffing restructuring and may leave teachers finding another job. Another concern is the lack of social interaction in the case of children, caused by online learning or mobile learning, an interaction which is a building block essential to growing and evolving in society, understanding differences and overcoming prejudices.
One of the reasons for why the online learning has exploded over the years is the advances and improved feasibility in computers and mobile devices, especially tablets and their subsequent increased availability in price and efficiency. The second argument would be that online and distance learning is reported to be a lot cheaper than traditional learning architectures.
For example, in the US, it takes $7,650 a year to educate the average student in a traditional public school. They spend nearly 60% less—$3,200 to educate through online courses. Like in many cases, the main criteria for selection will be financing and money.
As traditional learning institution come into a greater level of competition with online school architectures, financial strains in the education sector will increase.
Coupled with the proliferation of improved mobile devices and applications, education institutions are under pressure in finding an efficient approach to deal with the technological shift in today’s generation.
Experts conclude that the most appropriate solution would be the hybridization of the educational system to blend online study with face-to-face interaction with traditional teaching approaches, thus allowing an interactive and efficient teaching philosophy.
What do you think will be the future of traditional education in 2013? Will mass adoption of mobile devices improve or disrupt the teaching experience?
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