Leadership for Mobile Learning Initiative Launch

by Jean Tower

I attended the session, Leadership for Mobile Learning Initiative Launch.
Today’s rapidly expanding mobile market has more than 4 billion subscribers utilizing wireless technologies to communicate and collaborate. Implications are numerous for the education sector, and school leaders must be informed about the trends and potential of mobiles to transform teaching and learning. CoSN is pleased to announce its newest leadership initiative, which will explore the capacity of district leadership to overcome barriers and develop, plan, implement, and manage polices to effectively use mobile devices. Join industry and school leaders for a lively panel discussion as we outline goals for our initiative, explore current best practices, and contemplate the future of mobile learning.

Lucy Gray, CoSN Project Director
Keith Krueger, CEO, CoSN, Washington DC
Michael Flood, Education Specialist, AT&T, Lawrenceville GA
Marie Bjerde, Founder, e-Mergents, LLC, West Linn
Kathy Hurley, Sr. Vice President, Pearson
Becky Fisher, Ed Tech and PD, Albemarle County Public Schools, VA

Through the mobile learning initiative CoSN will explore and develop resources that will support school leaders in the use of mobile devices. This was an excellent session and participants engaged with lots of questions, both from in the room and through the back-channel.

All the panelists had so much of value to share, but here are a few ideas I managed to jot down.

Lucy Gray shared a few statistics to start the conversation.
From the Pew Study of Internet and American Life Project on Teens and Mobile Phones, 2010:
90% of adults have a cell phone
95% of millennials (ages 18 to 34) have a cell phone
75% of those in the 12 to 17 years group have a cell phone

Project Tomorrow, in their 2010 research, found that a majority of students in grades 6 to 12 want to use their own mobile device in school.

“Why mobile now?” Michael Flood, in answering this question, said thoughtfully, that this is really two questions – Why mobile? and Why now?
Why mobile? There is a drive in education for more individualized and mobile plays a huge role in that endeavor. The educational experience is enriched by the always on, always available access. Mobile extends the learning environment and adjusts it to the expectations of our students.

Why now? There are several factors that converge to make it more feasible now: the maturation of the hardware and software, the fact that it has already achieved mass adoption outside of schools, and the constantly improving coverage maps.

Someone reminded us that we need to take seriously the challenges around mobile devices at the same time that we are looking at the amazing potential.

Becky Fisher, when asked about the possible inequity of “bring your own device” said that teachers fill in with school-owned devices. She said it is much more effective for the teacher to supply a few devices every day than to reserve 30 devices once a week.

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