How mobile online education facilitates change

Mobile online education is rapidly changing K-12 education in the 21st century. In 2013, Project Tomorrow conducted a Speak Up Survey. Respondents included 325,279 students, 32,151 teachers and librarians, 39,986 parents, 4,530 district administrators and 1,346 community members. According to the results, more students have access to their own mobile phones.

Infogram showing the 21st Century ClassroomInfogram showing the 21st Century Classroom

Students are using these devices to help them perform their daily tasks more efficiently. Mobile online education transforms the way students learn in school. Sixty percent of students are using mobile devices for anytime research. Forty three percent of students use them to play educational games. Forty percent of students use them to collaborate with their fellow classmates.

Thirty-three percent of students surveyed use mobile phones for reminders and alerts related to school, 24 percent for taking photographs of their assignments and 18 percent for in-class polling. Twelve percent of the students reported using their mobile phones to text questions to their teachers while in class. It is unknown how many teachers respond to these text questions.

Speak Up reports also examine how Mobile Learning Explorer teachers and administrators use mobile devices in school to help their students learn. This group of educators, a subset of the national data, has positive experiences using mobile online education technology in their classrooms. These educators view the use of mobile devices such as smartphones or mobile computers as an integral part of their vision for the 21st century school. 

One teacher validates the effectiveness of mobile phone technology in the classroom

Liz Kolb, a former middle and high school social studies teacher, was once a teacher who “didn’t see value of cell phones on campus.” Now she believes there are ways to use a mobile phone as “an anytime, anywhere, data-collection tool.” 

As a technology coordinator, Liz Kolb was doing a blogging activity with a group of teachers when a message appeared on her screen. The message told her she could create an audio-blog with her cell phone. According to her, “It was the easiest podcast I every mad. I said, ‘Wouldn’t this be a great way to do podcasts as homework!’ It was a real ah-ha moment.” 

When she searched for resources on using mobile phones in the classroom, she didn’t find any. Instead, she explained, “I just started playing around.” What she came up with was many ways educators and parents could use cell phones to enhance learning outside of the classroom and as part of mobile online education.

Mobile online education in the classroom

For example, in science classes eighth graders are learning about ecosystems. The students are asked to take photos of insects using their mobile phones. Students will study these pictures later in class. Liz Kolb explains, “There is a genuine excitement about the lesson because they can use their own cell phone.” When students can connect their individual cultures with what is happening in school, education becomes more meaningful to them.

At Explorer Middle School (AZ) 8th grade science, students work in teams and use their smartphones to collect data during science experiments. The students enter their data into Google Docs™ using their smartphones and then send the data to the class website. 

In Onslow County School District (NC), high school students participating in the Project K-Nect pilot program solve interactive math problem-sets in their classrooms. The students use the video, instant messaging and blogging capabilities of the district provided smartphone to discuss real-world math applications and strategies for solving problems in their algebra, geometry and calculus classes.

21st Century School Building21st Century School ready for mobile online education

Studies show how kids use mobile phone technology to learn new concepts

A recent study funded by the Department of Education, studied the link between learning and the PBS Kids educational gaming app, Martha Speaks Dog Party. The study found that after children had used the app every day for two weeks, the vocabulary of Title 1 children between three and seven years old improved by as much as 31 percent.

A similar study, conducted at the Abilene Christian University, centered upon the use of the Statistics 1 app. Students used the app both in class and outside of class. They said that this app helped them to understand what they were learning. It also helped motivate them to learn more while using the app. The instructors agreed with this observation and added that the students were also better prepared for classes.

Mobile online education resources that include the use of mobile phones and mobile apps benefit students in many ways. Studies help demonstrated the academic potential that mobile learning devices have when it comes to enhancing the quality of the learning process for students. Mobile phones are active, versatile and motivating learning tools. Mobile devices help students to stay engaged and motivated in and after school. Research shows that academic performances can improve. 

How to start online teaching through mobile

Experience teaching in traditional classrooms is a good way to prepare for a career as an online teacher. It’s easier to find work-from-home opportunities in a traditional setting with a current employer than it is to search for online teaching jobs elsewhere.

Many traditional colleges have been getting involved with the mobile online education industry since 2008. By 2012, traditional universities and colleges offered Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs). Today some campus-based colleges offer selected online education courses. Others offer entire online degree programs. 

If you are interested in these online teaching sites, the best way is to teach a few traditional classes first as a regular member of the campus faculty. Once established, then you might suggest ways to incorporate online learning into the class curriculum to teach online and get paid. Another way is to volunteer to teach an online class in the traditional college or university department as a current faculty member. You could also teach English using smartphone to communicate with your online students.

Online teaching jobs at online colleges have similar requirements to those at more traditional schools. These online schools have rigorous course loads, regional accreditation and highly qualified teachers. These online higher education institutions usually require instructors to have an advanced degree or extensive industry experience.

Mobile online education fits the needs of adult students who work full time and are the primary caregivers in their families. Adult nonprofits offer ESL and GED classes for these adult learners. Many foreign language classes and schools meet the needs of their students living around the world.

Online tutoring companies meet the needs all ages of students. These companies also provide online teaching through mobile. Sylvan Learning Center and HomeworkHelp.com provide online education for elementary, middle, or high school students. Kaplan offers online test preparation for college SAT tests and postgraduate study. Many tutors have prior teaching experience. However, this isn’t always a requirement. 

I want to teach online and earn money    

The first step to become a teacher online is to assess your skills. Here are some benchmarks to address to prepare for a career as an online teacher. Assess organizational and time management expectations required for each class lecture. When it comes to the preparation of lessons plans for an online class, be aware of the time requirements needed for each lesson.

An assessment of the comfort level using specific technologies and writing skills needed should be completed for teaching the online class. Consider what it might be like teaching in an online environment. Decide upon the right approach to planning courses that include learning objectives and web-based resources. In addition, you should become familiar with online learning management systems. What technical skills are needed to teach online? Assess basic software skills, ability to multitask and time management habits.     

Next, choose a topic that you are knowledgeable about and would like to teach what you know to others. You won’t need to be an expert or have major credentials to share this knowledge with others through online teaching sites.

In order to teach online and get paid make sure that your topic is broad enough to appeal to a large group of students. Another tip is to choose a topic that is specific enough to make the information you are teaching unique. You don’t want to lose students who can find the information elsewhere instead of enrolling in your online course. 

Courses on tech topics (programming, computer science, artificial intelligence) and business topics ( creating a business plan, social media marketing or another related business topic) are good topic choices for your course. Courses on the humanities or lifestyles don’t seem to attract as many paying students. A good teacher and a good marketing plan can help to make most subjects successful online courses.

After you’ve chosen your teaching platform and decided on the subject you are interested in teaching, it’s time to develop a lesson plan. The type of content you create will depend on your topic, your teaching style and the selected platform. There are also teaching apps for teachers.

The way that you promote and market your course is as important as the course creation process. Social media can help you build a following. You may use an outside blog or website to share your message. Regular newsletters sent to a growing number of subscribers can help promote your mobile online education courses. 

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