Reprinted from the February 2009 Cooney Center Bits Newsletter:
With President Obama recently winning the fight to keep his BlackBerry, the stage was primed for 200 industry, policy, and education leaders who convened in Washington, DC to discuss the potential of mobile wireless technologies to transform children’s learning.
The conference, Mobile Learning ’09, was a jam-packed day of speakers, panels, and break-out sessions dedicated to promoting the use of mobile devices in education. And though the speakers were diverse, ranging from David Whyley of MoLeNET, the UK’s largest mobile learning project, to Alec Ross, a member of the Obama Technology Transition Team, common themes emerged. Attendees shared news of local and international developments, as well as experiences and lessons learned. Some controversial issues were debated, such as collaboration of efforts between the public and private sectors in mobile learning and the role of research in pushing the field forward. And many of the attendees discussed their shared challenges and concerns, such as technology interoperability and teacher acceptance and training.
The Cooney Center also got plenty of buzz amongst conference attendees, who each received a copy of our latest report, Pockets of Potential: Using Mobile Technologies to Promote Children’s Learning. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to present some of the report’s results in one of the conferences key sessions entitled “Why Mobile Learning?”
One key highlight was Julie Evans’ presentation of Project Tomorrow’s National Speak Up 2008 report. The study surveyed educators, administrators, and more than 250,000 K-12 students on their attitudes and aspirations regarding technology in education. The preliminary results were fascinating; for example, the top response to the question “How could your school make it easier for you to work electronically?” was “Let me use my own laptop, cell phone, or mobile device.” We look forward to the report’s full release via a congressional briefing on March 24th.