MLE Winner: Mobile Learning A-HAs and FUN

Kate Ryder, a 5th year elementary school teacher, is one of five winners in the Mobile Learning Experience Contest. Join us in congratulating Kate as she shares her vision for mobile learning, “My own love of learning, A-Ha moments, and FUN are promoted by my favorite mobile devices. I, myself, have experienced a positive impact professionally and personally when incorporating mobile learning into my daily life and as a result strive to provide my students with the same opportunity.”

Mobile Learning Facilitates A-HAs and FUN

There are two things any teacher, from pre-service to old-school veteran, will tell you are required for high student achievement (academically and socially). No, it is not based on years of research…just good old fashioned common sense!

Students learn and retain more information when:

1.  The students’ light bulbs illuminate and they have “A-Ha” experiences.


2. Students are engaged, on task, and learning when they are…dare I say it…having FUN! Even though this is not justification for the “powers that be,” it is understood by educators that are in the trenches everyday. (However, when decision makers are asked about their favorite teacher…inevitably, that teacher cared to make learning memorable and FUN!)

Mobile learning facilitates these two elements in every classroom. How can students NOT be positively impacted when that kind of environment is encouraged and fostered? Again, just good old fashioned common sense!

Whether one defines mobile learning by students’ ability to be mobile while learning, the devices being utilized, or the experience itself; one thing is certain, mobile learning is here to stay. Technology will not regress, only evolve and change. Every year devices get smaller, more accessible, and more intuitive. As educators, we must evolve and change by embracing technology, making learning more accessible to our students, and providing a personalized learning experience for each student.

In five years as a classroom teacher the tools and atmosphere in my classroom have evolved from one desktop computer, stacks of paper, a frustrated teacher, and frustrated students…to…one iPad, lots of hands-on, “chock-a-block full of multimedia lessons,” an “excited about teaching” teacher, and “excited about learning” students. My devices evolved from one desktop, to an interactive whiteboard, to a wireless slate used by students, to a few laptops, to a few Palms, to learner response devices for each student, to Palms for every student, to netbooks, to one iPad, and now three more iPads! Throughout this journey I can say without a doubt, that “A-Ha” moments are frequent and learning is FUN!

Mobile devices are NOT a replacement for effective teaching. Mobile devices do not “DO” anything to an educator’s teaching methods. They enhance the student’s learning experience! The most important factor in student achievement is an effective teacher. An effective teacher is one that makes learning meaningful. This can be done by providing an environment that encourages the student voice and choice afforded by mobile devices and everyone has FUN during the process!

Kate Ryder

Congratulations, Kate! Have you increased your effectiveness as a teacher by using mobile devices? Share your story by posting comments below.