In Queensland for example 65,000 senior high school students have access to netbook-style mobile devices connected to Telstra’s Next G® network that help facilitate learning.
“We discovered a lot of non-formal learning moments happen throughout the day when students have access to the syllabus on a mobile device,” said David O’Hagan chief information officer for the Queensland Department of Education. “Once we gave the devices to the students they went everywhere with them, and to our surprise would keep accessing the syllabus throughout the day and night.”
Safe devices provide a lesson in life
In the case of Queensland each of the devices was fitted with content filtering to prevent students from accessing inappropriate material, and parents were given the ability to grant access to social media sites such as Kik! or Instagram. The experience gave students important lessons about how to behave online, in addition to accessing more formal learning materials.
“We’ve monitored the sorts of sites they access through dynamic filtering along with an acceptable use agreement,” O’Hagan says. “We also have an outreach program where young police officers go out to school to talk about some of the issues that arise from online bullying and inappropriate websites.”
Susi Steigler-Peters, Telstra National General Manager, Education Industry Business Development, says it’s the right approach to give students highly personalised learning experiences.
“What they need is an engaging experience so that they continue to access the resources they need to learn even when they are not in the classroom,” says Ms Steigler-Peters.
Student engagement soars
While some state education departments have built their mobile education approach around a specific device, South Australia has taken a device agnostic approach which with some surprising results. Not only were students connecting to the syllabus in their own time, they were also connecting with a range of devices.
According to Peter Simmonds, Assistant Director for ICT Strategy and Relationships for the Department for Education and Child Development in South Australia, students are more highly engaged with educational resources they access through mobile devices.
“Learning occurs in any number of ways and locations, and it doesn’t stop when the bell goes, and having access to further or complementary learning opportunities online means that kids can access that learning at the time they are most receptive to it,” Simmonds says. “Unlike traditional classes online learning opportunities caters to the student as and when they wish, day or night.”
Watch the video to find out how mobile learning can help your students become more highly engaged, or speak with your Telstra Account Executive.