What is diffusion you ask? Everett Rogers, author of Diffusion of Innovations, defines it as the process in which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system.
Features such as the facility to make phone calls, take pictures, record audio and video, store data, music, and movies, and interact with the Internet all provide opportunities that could be harnessed in the educational context. As new devices continue to enter the market, new features and capabilities are appearing at an accelerated pace. Mobile learning offers a fundamental change in the way learning can be regarded and opens the door to countless uses for educational purposes. Kathryn MacCullum states that “As computers and the Internet become essential educational tools and the technology becomes more portable, affordable, effective, and easy to use, so too have they become the focus on how they can be incorporated to support learning. These technologies provide many opportunities for widening participation and enable easier access to learning. Mobile devices such as phones and PDAs are more reasonably priced than desktop computers, and therefore, present a less expensive method of accessing a myriad of tools all in one small device.”
“Mobile devices are part of the fabric of children’s lives today: They are here to stay,” Michael H. Levine, the executive director of the New York City-based Joan Ganz Cooney Center, at Sesame Workshop, wrote in a statement accompanying the release of the report. “It is no longer a question of whether we should use these devices to support learning, but how and when to use them.”
The Pockets of Potential (Cooney Center Industry Fellow Carly Shuler) Recommendations Using Mobile Technologies to Promote Children’s Learningsupports wider experimentation and new investments in the design and deployment of mobile technologies to advance learning. It proposes a White House initiative on digital learning, and the following recommendations:1. Understand mobile learning as an element of education reform by investing in the development of mobile students; developing new theories and models for leveraging mobile technologies; and learning from other countries.2. Design educational innovations that capitalize on what is unique about mobile technologies, avoid costly constant defaults to the latest technology, and create development tools for educators.3. Engage the public and policy makers in deﬁning the potential of mobile devices for learning by scaling up and disseminating innovative examples of mobile learning, providing incentives for needed infrastructure, and developing educational standards for the industry.4. Train teachers and learners to effectively incorporate mobile technologies by building a digital teacher corps, modifying and gradually eliminating classroom bans, and integrating mobile themes in media literacy curriculum.
The intended audience for mobile devices was the learner. It was the consummate consumer of technology. Teachers, administrators and some parents view mobile devices as distractions from learning and a possible means for cheating. Just think, before cell phone policies were enforced, how many students were caught texting one another in class instead of focusing on instruction. However, with the continuous development of these technologies - iPad, tablets, Blackbery, iPhone, and Android, all with Internet connectivity, the benefits to education are boundless. The focus should be on how and when to use mobile devices and not to ban them from the classroom.
Now, companies who manufacture the wonderful mobile devices we've become so accustomed to seeing, have forged partnerships with districts, schools, and classrooms to help equip students with this technology. Personally, my students have access to net-books and iPods to use in class. Now apps (applications) are being created for these mobile devices that directly correlate with education and apps such as MOBL21 allow the teacher to create content for use by their students on their mobile devices.
The first commercial cellular services were established in 1978 and by 2002 there were over 1 billion mobile subscriptions passing fixed-line subscribers. In the 21st century, mobile devices have moved beyond just cellular phones. Mobile devices are devices such as cell phones, smart phones, netbooks, laptops, tablets, iPods, iPads, ereaders. palms, Treo, and other devices that are typically lightweight, portable and connect to the internet.They are a relatively inexpensive technology. Theywill need to be provided by parents & students and/or the school for classroom use. Mobile devices will need Internet access in order to beneficial. School and district servers/Internet access must be equipped to handle the use of mobile devices such as the installation of Wi-Fi.
The pros of using mobile devices are anytime, anywhere access to content; the enhancement of interaction between and among students and instructors; enhancement of student-centered learning; the appeal to tech-savvy students because of the media-rich environment; support differentiation of student learning needs and personalized learning; the reduction of cultural and communication barriers between faculty and students by using communication channels that students like; the facilitation of collaboration through synchronous and asynchronous communication; and the versatility of smartphones with video camera, dictaphone, scanner and Internet connection, browsers, basic office software, and interactive boards.The cons that educators fear are that mobile devices may make it easier to cheat; could give tech-savvy students an advantage over non-technical students which can then create a feeling of isolation; may require media to be reformatted or offered in multiple formats; might render some content outdated because of rapid upgrades—here today, outdated tomorrow; could require additional learning curve for non-technical students and faculty.Educators also fear the mobile phones can and will go off in lessons, could foster exclusion among students, take away control, can incite bullying, and are a liability.
Even with 21st Century Classrooms on the rise, the decision, implementation, and confirmation stages have only been reached by a feweducators (mainly innovators and early adopters). These are educators in schools with grants, partnerships, and donations available to purchase the necessary technology along with the support of their districts and administrators.
Throughout my research, it has been difficult to pinpoint the actual introduction, maturation, and rate of adoption of mobile devices in education. This is relatively due to the small amount of research focused on mobile devices in education as a whole versus the technology used. Ken Masters (2008) suggests a shift in language from mobile devices to m-learning and away from pilots and projects. Evaluations of the diffusion of m-learning should be the new focus as well a drive towards achieving critical mass of usage.
Here you see the diffusion of mobile devices worldwide. “The prevailing emphasis on the technology and the small number of articles found with the search terms of m-learning gives the impression that only the innovators (and, at best, the early adopters) are currently using and researching m-learning. While we know that this is not the true picture, this impression exists, and is of great significance because
Education is expensive, and, while donors will give money for innovation, there comes a time when they would like to see the innovations turned into mainstream activities. The larger portion of the education and training population (the “early” and “late majority”) (Rogers, 2003), some vaguely interested, some downright skeptical, have no evidence that m-learning is effective beyond the pilot and experimental phase. Every paper that deals with a pilot, or is focused on the technology, and is not followed up with further and broader research reinforces this perception. From a discipline perspective, it appears that m-learning is not yet part of the mainstream educational multimedia, and is still struggling to establish itself.”
With that said, who’s going to be willing to adopt this innovation? Our innovators and early adopters are pre-service teachers, 1st year K-12 teachers, financially affluent school districts, and schools demonstrating excellence. We’d be able to reach these individuals and organizations through undergraduate courses, pilot programs, training, and appealing to them as active users of mobile devices. On the opposite end, our laggards would be tenured teachers, financially unstable school districts, and rural school districts. For them, we would need the support of published research beyond pilots, trials, and projects. They would need substantial evidence that m-learning is effective and also the added benefit of working with donors and partners to ease financial strains.The relative advantage is that most learners already have access to mobile devices, these devices are being sold a lower and lower prices, donors are available, incentives can be awarded for its utilization, as well as state and district mandates can be implemented.Mobile devices need to enhance the face-to-face learning taking place within the classroom and not be a distraction in order to be truly effective.Finally, the complexity of this innovation will need to be worked out in order to help ease users minds, such as the time needed to implement a program, the best strategies to use, and monitoring procedures.
I believe a decentralized approach to diffusion would be most effective for the K-12 educator and classroom. Teachers do not hold a favorable opinion of the top-down approach and feel those forcing the change, are out of touch with what is occurring within education today. This is why I feel they would be more receptive to working alongside their peers when diffusing mobile devices into their classrooms. They will feel that they have more of voice and a choice versus feeling trapped.
The key change agents for this innovation are K-12 classroom teacher opinion leaders, technology coaches, and administrators.These change agents will need to implore the seven roles of a change agent in order to help with the diffusion of mobile devices in education. Educators are not aware that this innovation is an alternative to banning mobile devices completely from the classroom. (To develop a need for change)These agents are in a position to work well with other teachers and develop a rapport with them, if one has not been established already. (To establish an information exchange relationship)Being close to the classroom, they can see what current strategies and/or alternatives are lacking in meeting students’ needs. (To diagnose problems)They have an understanding of what motivates teachers. (To create an intent to change in the client)Being a part of their current interpersonal networks, they will be able to influence change. (To translate an intent into action)They will be present to help stabilize the new behavior, especially if they’re participation is observable as well. (To stabilize adoption and prevent discontinuance)Though they cannot disappear from the environment all together, they can move into a less dominate role with utilization of the mobile devices. (To achieve a terminal relationship)
For the K-12 environment, I recommend that highly respected individuals within the schools be targeted, such as the previously mentioned key change agents, as well as offering incentives for early adoption.
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is a strong advocate for 21st century readiness for students. Their Twenty-First Century Student Outcomes express the skills, knowledge and expertise students need for work and life in order to be successful: Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes; Learning and Innovation SkillsInformation, Media and Technology SkillsLife and Career SkillsThese outcomes require students to communicate, collaborate, be globally aware, and apply technology effectively.
Carly Shuler (2009), a researcher in the children’s media and toy industry, also recognizes the needed and added benefits of mobiles devices in education.Improve 21st-century social interactionsMobile technologies have the power to promote and foster collaboration and communication, which are deemed essential for 21st-century success.4. Fit with learning environmentsMobile devices can help overcome many of the challenges associated with larger technologies, as they fit more naturally within various learning environments.
The use of mobile devices helps to meet the 21st Century Student Outcomes. Learning is then not confined to a time and place. Students have easier access to learning and it increases their motivation. Teachers and students can adapt the content to meet individual needs. They also improve communication and organization and increases independent learning.
In his blog, Nick Hockly lists six key m-learning resources, which are shown here. The Kids with iTouches video shows m-learning in action. St. Mary’s City Schools project offers reports on pilot programs, case studies, and articles. The Learning 2 go project resource is another school-wide initiative in e-learning. 50 Top M-Learning resources is a slide-show from Upside Learning. Top 50 iPhone Apps for Educators is a list of ofiPhone apps for education across a variety of disciplines. Finally, 7 Things You Should Know About…Mobile Apps for Learning is a series from Educase. All of these resources and more can be found on Hockly’s blog E-Moderation Station.
“It is no longer a question of whether we should use these devices to support learning, but how and when to use them.” The 21st Century is here and it is time that we begin to effectively prepare our students to work and live in such technological demanding world. Shutting mobile devices out of the classroom will not do this. If anything, it will hurt our students’ chances of excelling beyond the classroom. W.L. Bateman states that "If you keep on doing what you've always done, you'll keep on getting what you've always got.“ The world isn’t the same as it was 40, 30, 20, even 10 years ago. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time we gave our children the quality education they rightfully deserve. Remove the ban on mobile devices and welcome the 21st Century into the classroom.
DIFFUSION OF MOBILEDEVICES INEDUCATIONKanelia CannonEDUC 7101, Walden University
What is Diffusion?Diffusion is the process in which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system. -Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations
Persuasion PROS CONSAnytime, anywhere access to content. May make it easier to cheat.Can enhance interaction between and among Could give tech-savvy students an advantagestudents and instructors. over non-technical students.Great for just-in-time training or review of Can create a feeling of isolation or of being out-content. of-the-loop for non-techies.Can enhance student-centered learning. May require media to be reformatted or offeredCan appeal to tech-savvy students in multiple formats.Support differentiation of student learning needs Might render some content outdatedand personalized learning. Could require additional learning curve for non-Reduce cultural and communication barriers technical students and faculty.between faculty and students by using Phones can and will go off in lessons.communication channels that students like. There is an inclusion argumentFacilitate collaboration through synchronous and Bullyingasynchronous communication. InsuranceVersatility of smartphoneshttp://www.deanz.org.nz/home/conferenceDocs/MacCallum.pdfhttp://joanganzcooneycenter.org/Reports-23.html
Decision, Implementation, &ConfirmationM-learning: how much of what has been diffused? A systematic literature review
S-Curve “Education is expensive, and, while donors will give money for innovation, there comes a time when they would like to see the innovations turned into mainstream activities. The larger portion of the education and training population (the “early” and “late majority”) (Rogers, 2003), some vaguely interested, some downright skeptical, have no evidence that m-learning is effective beyond the pilot and experimental phase. Every paper that deals with a pilot, or is focused on the technology, and is not followed up with further and broader research reinforces this perception. From a discipline perspective, it appears that m-learning is not yet part of the mainstream educational multimedia, and is still struggling to establish itself.” -Masters, 2008, p. 5
Adopters and Perceived AttributesAdopters Innovators/Early Adopters Laggards •Pre-service teachers •Tenured teachers •1st year K-12 teachers •Financially unstable school districts •Financially affluent school districts •Rural school districts •Schools Demonstrating Excellence (AYP)Strategies for •Undergraduate courses/instruction •published research beyond pilots,Adoption •Pilot/Trial programs trials and projects •Technology and training is readily accessible •evidence that m-learning is effective •Appealing to them as active users of mobile devices and •Donors/partnerships applications personally and professionallyPerceived Relative AdvantageAttributes •most learners already have access to mobile devices which helps to lower costNeeded for •lower selling price of mobile devicesCritical Mass •donors will give money for innovation •award incentives •state/district mandates Compatibility •How can mobile devices enhance face-to-face learning? Is it effective? •How is this similar/different from using a personal computer? •Are mobile devices needed in the classroom? Complexity •How much time will this require to implement? Is this more work? •What strategies will have to utilize? •How will this be monitored? •Will there be training/professional development?
Centralized vs. DecentralizedI believe a decentralized approach to diffusion would be most effective for the K-12 educator and classroom.
How to Reach Critical Mass? For the K-12 environment, I recommend that highly respected individuals within the schools be targeted (i.e. key change agents) as well as offering incentives for early adoption.
Why is this Needed?The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is a strong advocate for 21st century readiness for students. Their Twenty-First Century Student Outcomes express the skills, knowledge and expertise students need for work and life in order to be successful:1. Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes;2. Learning and Innovation Skills 1. Creativity and Innovation 2. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving 3. Communication and Collaboration3. Information, Media and Technology Skills 1. Information Literacy 2. Media Literacy 3. ICT Literacy4. Life and Career SkillsThese outcomes require students to communicate, collaborate, be globally aware, and apply technology effectively.Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (n.d.) Framework for 21st century learning. Retrieved from http://p21.org/overview
Why is this Needed?Carly Shuler (2009), a researcher in the children’s media and toy industry, also recognizes the needed and added benefits of mobiles devices in education. Improve 21st-century social interactions Mobile technologies have the power to promote and foster collaboration and communication, which are deemed essential for 21st-century success. Fit with learning environments Mobile devices can help overcome many of the challenges associated with larger technologies, as they fit more naturally within various learning environments. Shuler, C. (2009). Pockets full of potential: Using mobile technologies to promote children’s learning. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop
Meeting Our Needs The use of mobile devices helps to meet the 21st Century Student Outcomes. Learning is not confined to a time and place. Easier access to learning Increases motivation Content is adaptable to meet individual needs Improved communication and organization Increases independent learning
Great Resources Number 1: Kids with iTouches video Number 2: St Marys City Schools project Number 3: Learning 2 go project Number 4: 50 Top m-learning resources Number 5: Top 50 iPhone Apps for Educators Number 6: 7 Things you should know about… Mobile apps for learningE-Moderation Station from Nick Hockly
“It is no longer a question of whether we should use these devices to support learning, but how and when to use them.” -Michael H. Levine, the executive director of the New York City-based Joan Ganz Cooney CenterTrotter, A. (2009). Mobile devices seen as key to 21st-century learning. Digital directions, 2(4). Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/dd/articles/2009/01/09/04mobile.h02.html.
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References [Teacher online image]. Retrieved from http://edudemic.com/2011/05/private-school-pay/ [Working group online image]. Retrieved from http://www.polismed.org/?page_id=1059 Hockly, N. (2010, June 9). Mobile learning # 6: Six key m-learning resources [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.emoderationskills.com/?p=188 International Telecommunications Union. (2008). [Graph illustration of cellular phone subscribers]. Five billion mobile subscribers by 2011. Retrieved from http://stats.areppim.com/archives/insight_mobile.htm MacCullum, K. (n.d.). Adoption theory and the integration of mobile technology in education. Retrieved from http://www.deanz.org.nz/home/conferenceDocs/MacCallum.pdf Masters, K. (2008). M-learning: How much of what has been diffused? A systematic literature review. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2008 (pp. 5790-5795). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Retrieved from http://www.editlib.org/p/29185. Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (n.d.) Framework for 21st century learning. Retrieved from http://p21.org/overview Potential of Mobile Learning Emerges. (2009). Electronic Education Report, 16(2), 4. Rogers, E.M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations. New York, New York: Free Press Shuler, C. (2009). Pockets full of potential: Using mobile technologies to promote children’s learning. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop The Economist (2011). [Graph illustration on the growth of the gadget]. Mobile devices (3G). Retrieved from http://conmoz.org/mobile-trends/mobile-devices-3g/?lang=en Trotter, A. (2009). Mobile devices seen as key to 21st-century learning. Digital directions, 2(4). Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/dd/articles/2009/01/09/04mobile.h02.html.