Published on 2013/11/05

Five Ways Mobile Technology can Revolutionize Adult Higher Education

Five Ways Mobile Technology can Revolutionize Adult Higher Education
Advances in mobile technology are making great strides in creating a more accessible and convenient higher education system for non-traditional and distance students.

As our mobile devices become almost as powerful as our computers, higher educational institutions are beginning to see these devices as an essential tool for students’ academic success.

The latest technologies and updated features included in these handy devices have assisted students in their academic pursuits. With mobile internet, they can access lots of digital learning resources such as eBooks and Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs). Cloud storage and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services have provided a whole new way of collaboration and information dissemination among students, professors and institutions.

1. Mobile-to-Mobile Resource Sharing Through Near-Field Communication (NFC)

With NFC, students and professors can instantly swap documents, audio clips, video files and images wirelessly; similar to using a Bluetooth connection. However, it will only work if the wireless devices are NFC-capable and are in very close proximity (maximum 4 cm). NFC sharing doesn’t cost anything and won’t require any internet connection. However, not all market-leading devices are equipped with NFC. For example, the Apple iPhone series uses AirDrop to transfer files between Apple devices.

2. Learning Redefined With Digital Learning Modules

Traditionally, students are told to purchase certain textbooks and are handed physical, printed syllabi for their courses at the beginning of the semester. In distance courses, students receive curricular modules that contain their lessons, course activities and schedule of examinations.

New technologies have created the opportunity for these resources to be disseminated more conveniently and cheaply. The recent proliferation of eBooks has reduced the cost of classroom resources has made the process of going to class more convenient; bags are lighter and there’s less for students to remember to bring. Course modules and syllabi are now received more quickly and are lighter than before. Schools can send a digitized copy of these papers to their students via email, school blogs or mobile-responsive web portals. This means that students will always have access to critical class resources.

3. Maximizing Cloud Storages For Increased Collaboration

Physical submission of assignments is no longer required in a modern educational system. Professors and students can now exchange information by using cloud storages such as Google Drive and Dropbox. When the professor assigns coursework, they can simply create a document straight from Google Drive containing the instructions. Instead of attaching the file they can just send a link to that document straight to the student’s emails or social pages. Students can also create their homework documents using the same service. Because information on the cloud is updated in real-time professors can track their student’s progress and even add some notes and suggestions without requiring actual consultations.

Additionally, the cloud can allow institutions to revolutionize exams in such a way that they become more convenient for distance and other non-traditional students. Universities can mobilize the way they facilitate examinations by designing a mobile-responsive virtual exams using Google Forms, a feature including in Google’s cloud services.

4. Expanding Horizons With Massive Open Online Courses

MOOCs are free web-based internet courses that provide college-level learning to students worldwide. They are composed of uploaded podcasts or video recordings of lectures and discussions brought by experts in various fields of expertise. Using a mobile device, students can participate in these virtual lectures to expand their learning horizons. They can also interact with fellow online students through live forums and debates surrounding their chosen course. Through advances in mobile technologies, students can participate in courses entirely using their smartphone or tablet.

5. Group Activities Through Video Conferencing

With the advent of VoIP services, like Google Hangouts and Skype, video conferences are now possible between multiple participants using a smartphone. Entire classes can use VoIP products to attend a scheduled lecture. They can even remotely interact with one another and pursue groupor team projects without having to meet on campus.

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Readers Comments

Kylie R 2013/11/05 at 1:31 pm

I think this article really overstates the convenience that mobile devices can bring, especially when we’re talking about adults.

Having the capacity to review documents on the go is all well and good, except many adults over 40 have trouble reading texts on their blackberries, let alone a 2-page syllabus!

To suggest that your average adult is patient enough to collaboratively work on a paper with others through something like Google Docs is also simply farfetched. In fact, I don’t even think my 16-year old son would have the patience for that.

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