Edmentum’s Vision for Mobile

Monday, April 15, 2013 -- Eric Swanson

Mobile learning is fundamentally changing education!

There, I said it.

Now let me step back for a moment and say that I don't think it is quite true yet, but I want it to be! And I believe that it will be true in no time at all.

I know that our Edmentum users and much of the world of educators see such potential for amazing changes to how we teach, how we learn, and how we interact, that we want the future to be here NOW! Unfortunately, it’s not here...yet.

Now, I know there are some out there who are saying to themselves, "but mobile devices are found in almost all districts in the US!" and "one-to-one mobile initiatives are on the rise!" and "my kid's class just got iPads this year!" and call me out of touch.

Yes, the statements you say are true, but data that show increased student achievement has simply not followed the "potential" that is driving these decisions...yet.

According to a recent Simba Information report - over 75% of districts are using mobile technology for educational purposes. However, when we visit schools, mobile technology in the classroom for any use is still limited, often to a single grade, or even a classroom in a district. Why is this the case? The fact of the matter is that most schools still don't know what to do with them yet.

Mobile devices are changing the way educators teach and learners learn, making way for a more interactive, engaging classroom and learning experience. But, notice I said "are changing," not "have changed." There is a gap between what our teachers in the classroom are doing with mobile, and what they COULD be doing with mobile. This underlines the implementation gap that exists in schools.

Yes, the devices are here. The hardware is enabling the innovation in the classroom, but it doesn't guarantee it. There are some great examples out there, but I have seen too many closets filled with mobile devices that are still in boxes or covered in dust.

Another thing you will hear is that mobile devices are driving student achievement. Yes, they are driving toward it. However, administrators are saying the primary driver for mobile implementation is to drive student engagement, not necessarily to explicitly drive student achievement. Just having a device without a plan to implement, specific goals in mind, or instructional tools to use in conjunction with the hardware is only a partial solution.

If we are going to change education with mobile, we need to see this implementation gap as a huge opportunity to change what is happening in the classrooms around the country. More has to be done to drive professional development opportunities to specifically target mobile devices in the classroom, how to best use them, how to drive student achievement, and how to encourage their use.

At Edmentum, we know mobile is the future, we all do, right? With mobile devices, it is coming so much faster and sooner than we think! Right now, Edmentum is working to mobile enable ALL of our products over the next two years so that they can be truly take advantage of our 'cloud based' content and assessments to drive both student engagement and achievement anytime, anywhere.

Mobile devices are just devices; they require great instructional tools, and most importantly, great educators. This is where Edmentum comes in. You will see us expand our solutions and become a mobile company at the same time you become a mobile classroom or school. We are here to help navigate these changing times. We know it won't be easy to change.

Looking back a year or two, we made a strategic change as it relates to mobile. We started with our Assessment Products, and have thousands of students using Study Island and Edmentum Assessments on iPads in the classroom every day. We then moved on to our curriculum, and have been developing Plato Courseware to run on an iPad for over a year. We also have developed an educator app to track student usage and student progress within the products.

And that is only the beginning! Over the next several months, you will hear a number of exciting announcements from us around mobile, so stay tuned.

At Edmentum, we know mobile is the future! And when you are ready to start, we will be there to help as you change education!

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