In the age of online learning, instructors and students are relying on their phones and tablets to study and do research.
Describe How Tablet Computers And Apps Are Impacting Online Learning.
There’s no denying that everyone has an app on their phone, but that ubiquity might just be making it harder for students to research things. That’s what led Walsh to the survey, called “The Future of Learning in the Digital Age,” which was conducted by Harris Poll, and reported in 2015. She tells us how it was featured in Wiley magazine and why online educators use it.
Describe the survey results.
We were focused on the impact of technologies on classroom learning and how students used them to study for exams. These devices that students have now, they can use them to their advantage in working on assignments, but a lot of times they’re misused. They can even be more difficult to access because there’s all these apps that students can look at content in, but not always on their computer or smart phone.
What are some app-related trends in online learning and what’s happening?
We’ve been noticing that students will open their apps and there will be terms that they were previously working with in a class they had in high school or even college, but they’re missing now because they don’t have access to it. [You have to] tap into this information that’s available to them, but not necessarily directly on their device. It does address these situational knowledge. Students also like to collect friends and follow them on their Facebook and Instagram, which can be a great way for students to gather these resources, but maybe not directly on their phone.
How have textbook technologies affected online learning?
Sharon Shane, an online business teacher at Paschal Island High School, tells us about the changes students have faced with the ability to discover information, as well as give feedback on print books via an app. She also tells us how providing the iOS app in the school’s curriculum has made it easier for students to accomplish certain things.
Shane tells us in 2015, Paschal had a survey, so students could give their opinions on a variety of issues that the school and district were working on. One thing that came out of the survey was that students would rather go to the store to purchase a textbook instead of having to type in an address and reread and then go to the library. So we’re working on creating an app to allow students to go directly from campus and get the specific key content needed for that class, as well as have the ability to read, chat, email and reread. She tells us, “We don’t need this book that is 75 pounds [because] it’s just the act of getting out of the door that will take that much time. So instead of going to the bookstore and waiting a couple of hours there, we could have students go get an app where they can search the dictionary, find this research and then begin their own research process.”
How has the use of this app affected the way students learn?
We surveyed students from 18 to 21, and about half of them had to share an institution they were enrolled in in order to get their tests right. They don’t have access to resources like textbooks and they want to make sure they have the facts before they begin the test. So now they can use the app and research and get their facts right, even though they may not have access to the web or their textbooks.
How important is it for students to use high-quality educational resources on their devices?
Shane says she thinks the mobile app helps because students can make notes and share them on the phone before they present for an exam, a bit before they even sit down. This gives them the perspective of what they’ve learned earlier on in the class before they present on a test. Another thing that she says that’s great about using an app is that it helps some students who have mobility issues.
Tell us about the creativity of this app.
Shane says students actually come up with their own artwork for each class, and she uses an app to save their work. She says, “It helps them because they can take notes and it helps them with their presentation beforehand,” and students can then use that to re-create the artwork or show it to their parents while they’re home. She tells us she hears they have to ask for this, but once it’s up there they can use it whenever they need it. She told us, “We’re allowed to spend $10 to $20 on the application.”
What advice would you give students who don’t have access to computers and tablets?
Shane tells us this is a new standard, so students have to use it. But it’s important that students have access to it because they have to learn to use it.