Mobile Learning

Educators Dream Up Their Ideal Mobile Device

We asked educators to let their imaginations go wild and conjure up visions of the future of the mobile device in the classroom. Here are a few of our favorites.

Editor's note: It's been just a couple of years since the first mobile device hit the market. Yet, it is already a foregone conclusion that it will become an indispensable tool for learning in the future. In the October issue of T.H.E. Journal, we asked a number of educators to let their imaginations go wild and conjure up visions of the future of the mobile device in the classroom. Compiled below are a few of our favorite ideas. To check out the complete collection, pick up a copy of our print issue, or read the full article online.

Many years down the road, I envision a device that isn’t mobile per se, but located in every classroom. I’ll call it the iDesk. Imagine a glass-top student desk that is like a larger version of an iPad—a touchscreen computer desk connected via WiFi to a school’s network. Using cloud computing, students would sit down and log into their desks, where they can respond to teacher prompts, complete and submit work, and connect with other students—all without needing additional computers or mobile devices. As smartphones evolve more into full-function computers, students’ mobile devices can be linked to the iDesk. An expensive proposition, and this future is many years away, but that is my vision.
Kyle Ross
Assistant principal, education services
Chaparral High School
Scottsdale, AZ

A mobile learning student will be assigned an activity, presented customized information through multimedia sources, and be delivered immediate feedback. The teacher will act as a project manager. For example, a student will receive information about different soil elements through a video, take samples through peripherals attached to a device, and receive immediate feedback delivered through apps. In the admin app, a teacher might review student feedback, assess results, and determine the best learning for the student. Students will be clustered by skill/task reinforcement. Globally, access to mobile devices will create affordable, content-rich, on-the-go classrooms, leading to accessibility of education in third-world countries. 
Karen Sorensen
Senior education consultant and partner
21st Century Education

I imagine a tablet-sized device that will be easily manageable and functional, but with a double screen, as if it were a notebook. The screens will also function as solar cells to charge the battery. It should be compatible with every platform for functionality, and it must support any application (no compatibility issues). Students can use the device on or off campus. It will connect through the internet, Bluetooth, or G3S. Students will pay a technology or lease fee.
Elementary coordinator
Thomas Jefferson Institute
Mexico City

Imagine a personal learning environment in the palm of your hand. A solar cell embedded into the cover of the device ensures always-on status and easy transition to various learning environments. A durable clamshell case opens to expose dual touchscreens. Exchangeable hardware modules such as GPS and LED projector provide functionality that benefits students with special needs and will facilitate augmented reality as students explore their world in an amazing way. Built-in cameras allow for videoconferencing and collaboration between students and subject matter experts. Memory card slots and WiFi/WiMax access will support cloud-based file sharing or management.  
Alan Landever
Director, technology services
Fort Leavenworth USD 207
Fort Leavenworth, KS