Results from the Mobile Learning Council

Regarding the use of Mobile Devices at BYU-Idaho, here are Pros, Cons, Uses, and Concerns that were identified by the Mobile Learning Council.

Pros:
  • Enhanced interaction between and among students and instructors.
  • Can reduce barriers between students and instructors by using communication channels that students like and are familiar with.
  • Supports personalized learning.
  • E-Textbooks are less expensive than printed books, and they are searchable (but less available).
  • Tablets weigh less than laptops.  Students wouldn't have to carry as much weight around in their backpacks.
  • In the rare case that the projector goes out, students would be able to access the material online.
  • Resources are more readily available to students.
  • Automated communications could be generated from student support offices such as Advising and Tutoring.  This could be used in conjunction with the EPS (Education Positioning System) and emails could be used as an alternative for those without mobile devices.
Cons:
  • Distraction in the classroom.  Students not making eye contact with the teacher.
  • The cost of the mobile device. (Only if the devices do not replace laptops)
  • Tablets are not as powerful as laptops (yet), and cannot perform functions such as compiling in a CIT class. (A virtual lab could potentially overcome this.)
  • BrainHoney isn't quite mobile compatible. (So far we are finding that it works well with Chromebooks and may with iPad but not Android - most things can be done on an Android but not all.)
  • Teachers might be challenged to learn all the ins and outs of the new technology.  It also requires a significant amount of time, and with the rate of change in technology, once the time has been spent to learn and incorporate the technology, often it quickly become obsolete and new technology must be learned and implemented.
Uses:
  • Assign students to access videos on YouTube.  YouTube is pretty consistent across all platforms, giving almost all students access to video resources.
  • Use social networks such as Facebook, Instant Messaging, and Twitter to collaborate with teachers and other students.
  • Have students turn in completed assignments on their mobile devices through services such as Box.net or Dropbox.
  • Poll students in class using software similar to i>clicker (example: PollEverywhere).
  • Students could submit questions to the teacher's iPad and those questions could be displayed for the whole class to see.
  • Use Voice Dictation software to transcribe lectures into some type of notes so students can access those notes and search for a specific part in the lecture, saving them time (example: Speakit).
  • Hold virtual office hours with students using Skype, Google+ Hangouts, or Facetime.
  • The Tutoring Center could do tutoring at a distance using a shared whiteboard and voice.
  • Use mobile devices to have the students take pictures of their work and send it in to their teacher (example: Students working on a lab in chemistry).
  • Show a presentation in the front of the class and have the same presentation shown on the mobile devices, allowing students to annotate and take notes on the slides as the teacher goes through the lecture (example: Doceri is a very helpful annotation tool for teachers).
  • Being able to control PowerPoint and advance slides wirelessly.
  • Use Gradebook Pro to help keep track of attendance.
Concerns:
  • Currently, there is not a consistent delivery method across multiple platforms.
  • HTML is not consistent across browsers.
  • The connectivity and strength of the wireless network here on campus needs to be more reliable.
  • There are potential copyright issues as content is shared back and forth.  (But this is no different than with laptops or other computers.)
  • iOS is more secure and there are less hacks than with Android.  (Windows 8 and their Metro interface may be a third big mobile operating system.)
  • iPad does not play flash videos.
  • Android is less expensive than iOS.
  • How will we set up the classroom to be best suited for these mobile devices?
  • What happens if the network were to go down?  (Again, this is no different than with laptops.)
  • Teaching students classroom etiquette or digital citizenship.
  • "Communication overload" where students develop the habit of relying less on themselves and are constantly asking the teacher how to do certain things because of the ease of communication.
  • How will the teachers learn to use this technology? (Ideas: Teaching them in faculty workshops.  Don't just tell the teachers how to do something, have them do it through hands-on experience.)
  • None of our campus web systems are mobile ready: www.byui.edu, I-Learn, Jenzabar, etc.