The Powerful Combination of Mobile Devices and Learning Apps

Posted: November 15, 2009 in Cell Phones in Education, differentiatedinstruction, edushifts, iPod in Education, mlearning, mobilelearning, multiple intelligences, tools
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In discussing the use of mobile devices, it is easy to forget that the educational and productive power of mobile devices comes through the integration of the devices with other tools. The mobile device, after all, is a hardware tool that makes certain tasks possible but the actualization of those tasks ultimately depends on the use of software or web tools. Let’s take a look at some ways the hardware and software, including web software and apps, can come together to actualize learning outcomes. I realize that when I make reference to apps, it tends to imply the use of an iPhone or iPod Touch. In fact, all the ideas mentioned below are possible on an iPod Touch with free or very inexpensive apps – the links provided all point to the iTunes store.  That having been said, this reality is changing quickly with the likes of Palm, RIM and Microsoft also developing a marketplace and vendor space for apps that will increase and improve the availability of learning app for students.

iPhone and WritingMobile Devices and Literacy

  • Differentiating reading activities by allowing students to listen to audio books
  • Accessing digital texts on their mobile devices so that students can read wherever they find themselves
  • Connect to the internet, through either WiFi or other means, to express ideas on a blog post (i.e. through the WordPress app) or to collaborate with peers through a wiki

Mobile Devices and Numeracy

  • For younger children, the utilization of apps that provide drill and practice or flash cards to develop basic mathematical skill
  • Use of calculators of various forms: regular calculator, scientific calculator or graphing calculator
  • Even publishers such as Pearson have apps that help students learn important concerns such as this app for the study of Algebra

Mobile Devices and Science

Mobile Devices and Social Studies

  • Utilize mapping software such as Google Earth or Google maps to identify important locations of cities or monuments and then access the street view feature in Google Maps to see actual images of location in question
  • Accessing historical maps or apps of historical artwork for the study of historical ideology and patterns of thought
  • Reading historical literature such including fiction and non-fiction texts

Mobile Devices and International Languages

  • There are a plethora of apps that deal with the study of various languages that are both free and come with a cost – a simple search will provide an extremely wide variety of choice

Many argue that mobile devices are a distraction and I agree.  While others may argue that this distraction is not productive, I would argue that by harnessing the tools in the right way using the right apps, the distraction will be away from mundane paper and pencil tasks and toward more exciting, multi-sensory learning.

  1. Kevin says:

    I enjoyed the post and your blog. I am a high school assistant pricipal researching mobile devices in education. You can read my blog at or Great stuff here. Thanks.

  2. Samantha says:

    Nice blog, i like it, its informative,
    i will visit his blog more often.
    i like your article specially about
    The Powerful Combination of Mobile Devices and Learning Apps


  3. Stacy Kramer says:

    Interesting as it seems, tools like mobl21 have made mlearning possible and very effective.

    You can create learning assets and share with your student audience.

  4. Rob, you have done an excellent job here. Mobil education, we feel, is going to rapidly increase once people have adapted to it. Mobile learning has so much potential in education. We have changed the way we communicate, so why not change the way we learn! Incorporating traditional methods of learning with mobile technology and applications are great stepping stones for a brighter future. Thanks for the post!

  5. Hello
    Your piece The Powerful Combination of Mobile Devices and Learning Apps The Mobile Learner is interesting and also thought provoking,
    I shall return to go through new blog posts!

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