Today more and more there is a link between Mobile and learning. Smart phones are increasingly becoming a tool for distributed learning and knowledge. Smart teachers, schools and systems are using mobile platforms within and without the class rooms.
A recent study showed that 58% of US 12 year olds and 83% of 17 year olds have cell phones. Since this is part of their lives outside the classroom, it should be part of their lives inside. The US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently said, “Most young people can’t remember a time without the internet yet most learning experiences do not include this tool/ environment.”
A recent study determined that for one sample, the use of smart phones in classrooms increased proficiency rates at some tasks such as research intensive activities by 30%. While this data can be a bit “squirrely”, there are interesting examples of how smart phone usage is being incorporated into classroom exercises / curriculum in a way that foster collaborative, project-based learning.
There is a huge opportunity for education to go mobile. Many anticipated educational models for classroom learning are based on requirements that they be interactive, participitive, adaptive and connected. Mobile solutions can help to make this a reality. In the world at large, we are seeing more and more data and less voice over mobile devices.
A huge driver is the ubiquity of fast mobile devices which are becoming transformative in emerging markets: food, water, shelter and the cell phone in the order of necessity. In developed markets, this same pattern has become well prove.
Currently there are one billion 3G handsets worldwide. By 2014, it is estimated that there will be 2.8B+units. Already there are viable $20 3G handsets for developing world markets. By 2014, emerging regions will account for 50% of handset shipments. For many people, their first connections with the internet will be through their mobile devices. The growth of mobile in emerging markets speaks to the imperative of facilitating mobile in the US classroom so that US students remain competitive.
Mobile will take many forms. At CES this year, there were no less than 35 different tablet-like devices will be shown by major vendors. Other trends include the growth of the personal cloud, and it is expected that more and more education tools and applications will be resident on the cloud. It is important for all members of the ed tech community to understand the changes in capabilities offered by fast mobile solutions.
There is no question that there is pent-up demand for Mobile Learning in classroom. The bigger question is how long it will take for schools to be willing and able to invest in infrastructure, devices and curriculum to make this a reality on a truly widespread level.

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