The past decades have witnessed an explosion of technological developments; a variety of mobile devices and wireless technologies for communication and portals for sharing many types of informational resources have been introduced.
These developments have radically transformed our society in how we communicate, create, reclaim, share information, collaborate, and socialize. Education is no exception.
Education in electronic learning and teaching is still in infancy; it is far from making the most mobile technologies to support day-to-day classrooms and enhance learning experiences and processes.
Nevertheless, information and communication technology are being increasingly utilized as a teaching and learning tool in educational activities. Academic institutions across the globe are paying significant attention to the use of advanced technologies to facilitate their progress, especially in learning and teaching (Grabe, 2008 cited in Balash et al.,2011). It has also emerged as a new technological achievement and educational trend that provides educators and learners with a myriad of opportunities. The use of mobile technologies increases the effectiveness of teaching and learning. Teachers are no longer limited to teaching in the traditional brick and mortar classroom; they can use their mobile phone to share information at any time, anywhere.
What is mobile learning?
The definition of the term "mobile learning" is still developing day by day, and the exact meaning is still ambiguous. However, a research work (Lan and Sie 2010) describe mobile learning as a learning model which enables learners to access educational materials anywhere and anytime using mobile and internet technologies. Few characteristics of mobile devices are that they are usually inexpensive, portable and flexible. Therefore, mobile technology seems to be very attractive to learners and usable in the learning process. They comprise of several applications that can be useful in the teaching and learning process, including general software, such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint (Mtega et al,2012) and other applications, such as language learning, mathematical problem-solving software, etc. (Alzaza and Yaakub, 2011). The most important feature of mobile learning that differentiates it from other learning technologies is its mobility. Despite these, it is unlikely that traditional education will be completely superseded.
A shift toward online education and mobile learning has begun, several institutions worldwide were planning to implement online education in the coming years, but the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in a sudden integration of online teaching and learning. And, institutions were left with no options; they had to adapt to this change.
What are the different ways to teach online through mobile?
Herein, we have compiled a few easy to implement tips recommended by experts to provide error-free online teaching through mobile.
First of all, before using mobile technology to facilitate mobile learning, it is necessary to know your learners, their behaviour, their learning capacity and, most importantly, their mobile access.
Record Audio or Video
Every student learns differently. One can grasp all the teachings at once, while others require time. Therefore, for their better learning, you can use mobile to record a video on the lessons you've just completed.
You can also use this amazing recording feature to provide personal, and quality feedback on the work students recently turn in by recording a 10-20 seconds video on constructive feedback.
Poll or quiz learners in real-time
With mobile, you can easily create digital live poll/quizzing tools, both as welcome and exit tickets in the online classroom for formative evaluation. You no longer need to try activities like the tried-and-true "raise your hand if you…". There are several chargeable and free live polling tools; you can use them to assess what students are already aware of and what they should be concentrated upon. Live polling and quizzing tools can also provide insight into individual student strengths and weaknesses by tracking their progress and helping give personalized instruction when needed.
Chat and Online Discussion Forums
Another best thing about online mobile teaching is that you can exploit the group chat features to create an online discussion forum to encourage class participation on learning topics while sitting at different screen sides. Students can highlight any doubts they may have or answer your questions on the chat platform and discuss to improve their understanding of the concepts.
Use QR Codes
QR, the acronym for Quick Response (QR) codes, is another excellent tactic for using online teaching through mobile.QR codes provide instantaneous access to video, audio, website contact information, or any short text. With QR code, you can provide links to other resources, complex diagrams and images, solutions to tasks that could be coded and made available to students. The QR code can also link educational website or YouTube clippings for more information.
However, any lesson or study material encrypted with QR codes will require slightly more effort to create. Additionally, QR codes can also generate response keys next to each problem to enable students to check their work. To gain access, all that they need to do is scan the code.
Use statistics and analysis tools
Statistics and analytical tools can be used to track student progress and identify bottlenecks. This is one of the significant advantages of mobile learning: the ability to individualize the follow-up and customize the learning path based on each apprentice's progress.
Besides these tips, there are many apps to facilitate your online mobile learning.
Here are few tools recommended by the experts.
Designed especially for teachers, Nearpod allows teachers to present multimedia lessons that students can download to their mobile devices. The Nearpod app is available free of charge and offers different layouts, making it suitable for various instructional activities.
The other best application, Evernote, is an excellent application for maintaining personal assignment lists. From saving web pages to taking notes, images, files and audio, Evernote do it all. Every note is a cost-free app, which can be downloaded easily on your smartphone.
Invented for online instructors, Google Hangout lets you create free videoconferences for up to 10 people and help record the session via YouTube and turn the recorded conversation into an archived presentation for later viewings of the students. This platform's mobile application also allows users to engage in a chat.
Audioboom is another notable app for online mobile education. This app allows for easy communication with your students through three-minute podcasts that can be recorded using the app. You can easily share your podcasts on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter using your smartphone.
Free with in-app purchases, Squid is a handwritten note-taking application compatible with Android only. The app allows the teacher to import PDF worksheets into Squid and students to do the work directly on the sheets before exporting and sending them back to the teacher for review. In addition, teachers can import the student's work, assess it, and send it back to the student to see what improvements they need.
Free of charge, AnswerGarden helps teachers ask their students a question that can be answered in a single word or a short sentence. The answers provided are received by either a web link, QR code, or AnswerGarden's iOS app and start filling out on a view screen in a word cloud. AnswerGarden is an easy and excellent tool to use for brainstorm activities with a group in class.
Poll Everywhere started as a service for students to respond to a survey via SMS. However, students are now allowed to reply through a web browser or its mobile application. Teachers can use Poll Everywhere to create multiple-choice charts, filing charts, clickable images, and questions that include LaTeX syntax and alphabets of different world languages.
Another on the list, Animoto, is an amazing app that allows both teachers and students to make a short, 30-second share video of what they are about to teach or learned in a lesson, respectively. With a user-friendly interface for beginners, Animoto allows you to create catchy videos easily. All you need to do is:
Easily drag and drop your selected videos and photos into pre-built designed templates to help you stand out on social media and beyond. Then, customize your videos accordingly. You may choose from various professionally designed video styles and templates to create videos that look unique and, of course, attract learners.
Perfect for the 21st-century learning environment, the Answer Pad allows teachers to provide and capture data from the student's device using a web browser or the Answer Pad app. You can take a snapshot of the student's understanding in the classroom in six different ways. Not only this, on the Answer Pad application, students can also use a scratchpad to show their work. Later, the built-in, robust reporting system for item analysis prepares reports by skill, by class, and by the student, which teachers can view for aggregate reporting. Answer Pad also provides a transparent and user-friendly platform for interacting with students.
Backchannel Chat is an excellent classroom discussion tool designed specifically to assist teachers. This application can increase participation in class discussions and informally assess students' knowledge. Teachers can control all aspects of the discussion; they can delete messages and prevent students from displaying them if needed. Also, lock the room in order to add content.
Biblionasium is a safe and simple online book network that allows teachers to view books read by students, create challenges in reading and monitor their progress simultaneously. The app makes it possible for students to review and recommend books to their peers.
Another highly effective tool Padlet can be used in two ways:
- To create an anonymous question board where students can pin virtual sticky notes with questions that the teacher and other students can respond to.
- To save articles and web content that have been organized for specific subjects.
Needless to say, Padlet is much more attractive than your regular list of required readings!
A teacher kit is a tool that allows teachers to completely digitize their routine tasks such as marking attendance, recording grades, and more. It also helps to add behavioral notes for students and track their progress to focus on important things like teaching.
Do try these easy tips for hassle-free use of mobile phones in education.