Asking the Right Questions About Mobile Learning by Eric Sheninger

As of late I have been engaged in a great amount of work either assisting districts and schools as they begin to implement mobile learning (1:1, BYOD) or helping them get their programs on track.  Over six and a half years ago I helped successfully implement a Bring Your Own Device initiative in my school. Not only were we the first to do it in my state, but there weren't many great examples to pull from at the time.  Thus, many lessons were learned the hard way. It is important to remember that change has to be treated like a process as opposed to one single event. The success of mobile learning relies on proper planning, reflection, and evaluation to improve. 

The key to successfully implementing sustainable change begins with asking the right question(s). Below are some questions to help you ascertain where you are, but more importantly, where you want to be with either 1:1 or BYOD. 
  • Is your infrastructure ready? Has an infrastructure audit been completed?
  • Have you developed a shared vision that takes into account staff, student, and community input? For success, all stakeholders must be on board and have clear outcomes developed.
  • Have you developed a strategic plan to ensure the initiative will positively impactstudent learning? How will you measure success and evaluate effectiveness? Has curriculum been updated and other resources explored?
  • Have you created policies that protect students and staff while promoting creativity?
  • Has staff been trained in digital pedagogy (lesson/project design, assessment, etc.)? Do they possess the confidence to integrate the devices with purpose to support/enhance learning? Have administrators been trained on digital pedagogical techniques in order to provide valuable feedback to staff? Have fears and challenges been addressed? How will equity be ensured in a BYOD environment? What will you do if students forget their devices, don’t have them, or have no access to WiFi outside of school?
  • Has a plan been developed to train students? What will be done to educate parents?
  • How will you build community support?
  • What evidence will be provided to the BOE and community that the initiative is a success?
Determine where you want to be and how you are going to get there with your mobile initiative. Once you have answers to the previous questions reflect on the drivers of a successful mobile learning initiative to ensure that the stage is set for improved student learning outcomes. 

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