I was recently browsing the internet for random quotes or facts to put put on the backside of some personal business cards. I found interesting information such as "76% of MOOC attendees are male." (Chronicle of Higher Education). Or the amazing gem that "82% of employers think you're better suited for a job if you've been travelling." (Business Insider). But one of the most compelling bits of information I found was that "5 BILLION people worldwide now have a mobile device" (Digital Trends). As I dug further into that information, I found that 80% of the US population has a mobile device (this was from Venture Beat, but from further research I have found that this should say smartphone).
If we begin to expand upon the world wide mobile device saturation, we find that a bit more than half (2.6 billion) of those devices are smartphones. But that figure is from 2 years ago (2015)! And two years ago, there was an estimation that "total mobile" footprint (which could be multiple devices per user) could reach 9.2 billion!!
I purposefully titled this blog as "reaching everyone" because when we typically think of mobile devices in education, we automatically revert to "classroom on the go", or "mobile friendly classes/quizzes". We have had those discussions before, but I want to think about mobile in a different way - mobile devices for reaching economically disadvantaged individuals in their education around the world or in rural areas of the United State.
We have a duty to the students we teach and/or support to ensure they receive a quality education and that they can access course material wherever they are (and that includes financially). When the iPad first came out and we were all scrambling about what this meant for us; but the device was not ready yet. The apps weren't ready yet either. But now? Now the various platforms are finally to a point to where a student would actually be able to facilitate their learning from a mobile device; whether it's a phone or a tablet.
If you look at the information from the Tech Crunch article where I'm getting most of my numbers, they are forecasting that the majority of the growth for mobile devices will be in Africa, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific. Even though I do not directly support students from those areas, I may have a student with family there that will need to go back for a visit, and I need to ensure the technology is in place. Or I can do my part and push educational app developers, such as Instructure, to create applications that affect more than one type of student. This is why I made my voice heard on https://community.canvaslms.com/polls/1262-how-do-you-feel-about-offline-content-for-canvas-mobile?s... Other than pushing our vendors or making sure the technology is there, how can make sure our students are supported with mobile?
I'll leave you with two thoughts:
I purposefully left teachers off of this and focused only on the students. The Canvas for Teacher app is being re-built, so if the conversation went app specific "problems", I wanted to stay away from that app.
Here's a great quote I'm putting on the back of my business card: