Response to Mobile Learning around the World

As a response to the disruptive innovation project that was presented earlier in my blog (a 1:1 mobile initiative), I have been looking into more research and seeing what has worked around the world, what could have been done better, and how I can apply it to Fannin.  I’ve broken this post down into those 3 questions and answered them with how they would apply to my situation after reviewing a multitude of resources.


What worked?

Information and communication technology (ICT) has been and is being used around the world to enhance student education.  Here are a few examples:

The eSkewla project had a solid, but flexible plan from the get-go.  They began with a customized instructional model of blended learning with computer aided learning, teacher facilitated instruction and collaborative group activities and projects.  There was high enthusiastic community involvement and mobilization.  Stakeholders like teachers, parents, and community members had a 10 day training over ICT basics, productivity tools, and e-learning.  Next came the infrastructure development with the desktops, network connectivity, printer, and projector.  Finally, it was time for monitoring and evaluation by interviewing the teachers.  (eSkewla)  This model worked so well because of the time spent on the first three objectives: the instructional model, the community involvement, and training.  The integration of the technology didn’t happen until there was a solid foundation.

The mobile learning happening in Africa and the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America is relatively small when compared to other countries.  Most of the countries are taking advantage of the growing number of mobile phones in rural areas.  For example, in South Africa, they’ve taken a technological tool (mobile phones) and are using it to provide “math exercises, take tests, and participate in competitions” through a program called MoMath (UNESCO Africa and the Middle East, 16-17).  The government has complete buy in.  They have support from three of the top mobile network companies; they provide the network services for MoMath free of charge.  The curriculum is aligned with national standards.  The project has the availability to be monitored and evaluated quickly by educators and students.  MoMath is individually paced so students can excel at their own speed.

In Europe and North America, mobile learning has publicly and privately funded initiatives.  It makes sense that these 2 continents would fare better.  (The economy is better.)  In both UNESCO articles, tablets and BYOD(T) projects were the most successful in blended learning and distance learning.  But both countries have resistance from teachers and administrators alike, and innovators are trying their best to get the message about the pros of educational technology out!


What could have been done better?

Los Angeles rolled out a 1:1 iPad program for the entire school district.  After failing to comply with Apple’s deployment guidelines, iPads were “hacked,” meaning the security of the device had been compromised.  Was this enough to cancel an entire initiative that cost $1.3 billion and reached the second largest student population in the country?  After reading the articles over the iPad crisis in LA, the main reason for failure was the lack of vision and leadership for the project (Chambers, 4).  Since I am wanting to initiate a mobile learning environment at my school, I paid special attention to these articles.  I now see that if I don’t get 100% support from the administrators on my campus, an initiative like this will NEVER work.  If the leaders on my campus don’t push it just as hard as I do, it is destined for failure.

Another issue at play in LA was teacher training.  Kamenetz reports that there was “a lack of training” and “a failure to recognize the human resource needs created by a big device rollout like this one.”  This is not the first article that has mentioned a strong need for professional development that is practical and pedagogical.


How do I apply the lessons learned from the readings to my disruptive innovation?

I like reading the challenges presented in the NCM Horizon Report.  They were broken down into solvable, difficult, and wicked.  I think these labels fit perfectly with what educators are facing.  The solvable challenges: creating authentic learning opportunities and integrating technology in teacher education (L. Johnson, 22-25).  Both of these can actually be solved with a mobile learning initiative.  Students will be able to create, present, and connect authentically to the world.  Teachers will have to have fun, engaging, and personalized professional development.  One of the ideas I would like to present to my administrators is having an online option for professional development through iTunes U (Cedars).

In another article about the “LA iPad debacle,” Lapowsky quotes Horn with “Districts are starting with the technology and not asking themselves: ‘What problem are we trying to solve, and what’s the instructional model we need to solve it?’ and then finding technology in service of that (Lapowsky, 4).”  Technology makes what could be written on paper “more entertaining, interesting,” and gives “the students a different taste of action (ICT, 5).”

With regards to professional development, I did a little digging of my own.  I found this question very striking “How do I prepare myself to be the best teacher possible?” (B. Johnson). The answer – professional development.  Vracar states 3 reasons for professional development: 1 – a teacher’s professional learning journey is an ongoing process, 2 – the classroom is continuously changing, and teachers must be prepared to meet the needs of their students, and 3 – school districts must adopt rich and meaningful learning opportunities for its teachers.  One site broke it down into 3 Rs – make it Real, make it Relevant, and make it Right on time (Mahaley).  To sum it up, professional development needs to relate to the teacher and the students’ needs.  It must be engaging and meaningful.

Teachers fear technology because “too often, new technologies are dumped into the classroom with little to guide teachers about their usage or possible benefits” (West, 2013, p. 8).  What if we could change that?  “Teacher development is at the core of educational innovation” (West, 2013, p. 13).  Teachers need training on how best to implement and utilize technology in their classrooms.  Education in America must change.  As a country, we “rank 16th among developed nations” (West, 2013, p.2).  16th!!!

In conclusion, to make an initiative of any kind work the three most important aspects are the vision for the project, stakeholders, and professional development for those involved.  “The undeniable truth is that exceptional teaching inspires exceptional learning…” (Johnson, B., 2014).



Baran, Evrim. 2014. A Review of Research on Mobile Learning in Teacher Education. Retrieved from

Cedars School of Excellence. (Retrieved on 2016, May 1). Cedars 1:1 iPad Programme. Retrieved from

Chambers, Bradley. (2014, August 28). L.A. cancels iPads-in-the-schools program: a failure of vision, not technology. Retrieved from

Fritschi, J. & Wolf, M.A. (2012). Turning on Mobile Learning in North America. Illustrative Initiatives and Policy Implications. Paris, France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved from

Hylen, Jan. (2012). Turning on Mobile Learning in Europe. Illustrative Initiatives and Policy Implications. Paris, France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved from

Isaacs, Shafika. (2012). Turning on Mobile Learning in Africa and the Middle East. Illustrative Initiatives and Policy Implications. Paris, France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved from

Johnson, Ben. (2014, September 16). Why Quality Professional Development for Teachers Matters. Retrieved from

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2015). NCM Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from

Kamenetz, Anya. (2013, September 30). The inside story on LA schools’ iPad rollout: “a colossal disaster.” Retrieved from

Lapowsky, Issie. (2015, May 8). What Schools Must Learn from LA’s iPad Debacle. Retrieved from

Mahaley, David. (2013, August 11). iPad Educator Professional Development – The Three R’s. Retrieved from

So, Hyo-Jeong. (2012). Turning on Mobile Learning in Asia. Illustrative Initiatives and Policy Implications. Paris, France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved from

UNESCO. (2009). eSkewla: Community-based E-learning Centers for Out-of-School Youths and Adults, Philippines. Retrieved from

Venezky, Richard. (n.d.). ICT in Innovative Schools: Case Studies of Change and Impacts. Retrieved from

Vracar, Amy. (2015, February 24). 3 Reasons Why Professional Learning Matters. Retrieved from

West, Darrell. 2013, September 17. Mobile Learning: Transforming Education, Engaging   Students, and   Improving Outcomes. Retrieved from  mobile-learning-education-engaging-students-west


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