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Mobile approach to education

Posted: 02 May 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile apps  digitisation  smart phones  education 

Research firm Tavess believes that the ability to make teaching and learning more engaging and interesting to students and to have a quick digital dialogue anytime and anywhere, asynchronously or in real time, is simply priceless.

The combination of digitisation, smartphone penetration and mobile apps is about to profoundly impact the traditional delivery of education. Mobile applications offering a high degree of interaction and capable of delivering personalized education are transforming the delivery of education and creating a new horizon in learning.

Empowered classroom learning
Research at Tavess has shown that with seamless connectivity among users (both students and teachers), classroom discussions become on-going conversations, sometimes continuing for months, where discussions are carried on social networking platforms through mobile apps.

Tavess' research finds that increasing number of teachers/professors are encouraging grass roots 'social' efforts to explore interesting and creative usage of all kinds of digital devices and tools—despite adversities driven by bureaucracy in some cases. The teachers are finding new ways to effectively leverage smart hand-held devices and applications to turn stodgy old classrooms into dynamic, creative and collaborative teaching and learning space. Lessons are being augmented with images, audio and even video and can literally travel across time to bring more life to teaching and learning, with a 'let's look-up' approach.

Enabling social and anytime, anywhere learning
Another facet of mobile apps for education is social and informal learning, where students can easily tweet questions and answers, rapidly seek information on the fly and conveniently take down notes and share them online instantly. Tavess believes that this ability brings a whole different dimension and paradigm to learning, and that the opportunities are virtually endless today for facilitating ubiquitous teaching and learning.

A prime example of this is a free mobile application from India-based education services company EdServ that allows students to clarify homework and assignment or project-related questions through expert tutors via EdServ's online tuition portal.

During its research, Tavess came across professors who use mobile to stay connected with students; quoting one who says "I can handle any question at any time, and it's most gratifying when I can answer the question as the student has it, via mobile, rather than waiting until the next class."

Apple alone offers more than 3,50,000 free course lectures, videos, readings and podcasts from universities and institutions worldwide. The "anytime access" to a vast storehouse of knowledge right at the fingertips can enrich learning tremendously.

Market overview and opportunity snapshot (India)
While the power of mobile apps and smart devices is established and unquestionable, the technology penetration in general settings is painfully low and limits the adoption and hence realisation of the market potential.

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