Classrooms are changing rapidly as they integrate today’s technology into their curriculum. Rather than handing out textbooks, some school districts are handing out tablets for students to use. These new tools are changing the classroom into a mobile learning environment.
How to Transition to a Mobile Classroom
Many schools are considering this transition to a mobile classroom, but question the expense and wonder how the structure of the classroom will change. Mobility is the future – in both business and education. So as you contemplate and plan this transition in your school, consider the following:
Tablets: An Integral Tool in the Classroom
In today’s rapidly advancing world where technology, and even knowledge and concepts, change and evolve quickly, it is important for students to have educational tools that adapt with equal speed. This helps both students and teachers work in a learning environment that is mutually beneficial and better prepares students for the future.
Many students, of all ages and levels of learning, are using smartphones and tablets at home. They use these devices for online learning programs, games and apps at home, so it only makes sense to incorporate them into the classroom as well.
Textbooks: A Platform that Cannot Compete
In order for school districts, local, state and federal government agencies to justify the cost, the benefits of tablets over textbooks need to be understood. For starters, there is the lower cost over time for tablets. In order for the information in textbooks to be updated, the entire book needs to be reprinted and distributed to students. Books distributed digitally on tablets can be updated with a simple software update, saving time, money and environmental resources in the process.
The adoption of tablets also allows students to enjoy a more engaging learning experience. Students can use interactive learning apps on tablets to enhance their learning experience and improve grades and test scores. It also makes it easier for students to interact with their teachers on a one-on-one basis.
Costs & Benefits of Mobile Classrooms
As with any change, there are cons associated with the transition to mobile classrooms that counter the advantages. Cost is often cited as the greatest concern. For example, the Los Angeles Unified School District spent $30 million to purchase and deploy 35,000 iPads. However, the district has 640,000 students in total and it will cost millions of additional dollars to continue the district’s plan to put an iPad in each student’s hand.
Schools are also concerned with the cost of iPads, as well as the associated IT infrastructure costs. Schools need secured Wi-Fi access for students and robust security software to protect devices from malicious programs, as well as prevent students from accessing inappropriate content.
Pros Outweigh the Cons
Most schools believe the pros involved with mobile classrooms far outweigh the cons associated with the devices. And if not today, the day will come when mobile classrooms are required in order to prepare future generations for business success. Here is a list of the many benefits of mobile classrooms:
- Reduce costs long term
- Extend learning experiences outside the walls of the classrooms
- Put a vast library of resources in the hands of each student, accessible everywhere they go
- Growing list of applications available to enhance learning
- Opportunity for more 1-on-1 interaction with the teacher
- Students can engage at their own pace
- Students enjoy learning when using a tool they prefer
- Better prepare students for a role in today’s business environment
To help with the expense of this transitionto mobile classrooms, many schools receive grants and other funding to help adopt tablets and the supporting infrastructure for their classrooms. For example, in July 2014 the FCC adopted a plan that will focus on expanding funding for Wi-Fi networks in elementary and secondary schools and libraries across America. This E-rate program is specifically designed to upgrade legacy equipment to wireless technology so schools can provide modern connectivity for K-12 students.
Technology changes the way we operate and learn, at all levels of education and business. Though change can come with frustration and expenses, the benefits it provides are well-worth the effort. To further discuss your infrastructure needs to prepare for a transition to mobile classrooms, request to talk with a Marco advisor.