The smartphone owner population is growing. Multi-functionality, portability, and connectivity are opening doors for learning. No wonder students harness smartphone technology to help them in education. These tiny pocket computers keep students connected to the Internet, improving their academics. However, many students are oblivious to the power in their hands; the power of educational apps, the potential for success.
What Is a Smartphone?
On a superficial level, a smartphone is a gadget that allows people to make phone calls as well as use other features (which used to be found only on personal digital assistants or personal computers) that are not common on a conventional phone.
So what makes a smartphone smart?
First, a smartphone is smart because it has an operating system which manages the gadget’s hardware and software. It is no different from the operating system of a desktop computer. An operating system also enhances the gadget’s performance and battery life through management of power consumption. The most popular operating systems are Symbian, Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.
Another characteristic of a smartphone is the presence of at least one home screen. It is the main menu display that shows the apps and widgets. Most smartphones nowadays have more than one home screen so that the user can customize and separate the phone’s apps.
Speaking of apps, they are also one of the reasons why a smartphone is smart. Apps are mini software programs that can perform various functions. They are also the reason why every smartphone is unique, because each owner has different taste in apps.
Smartphones also have Internet connectivity, either through Wi-Fi or 3G/4G. Older smartphones depend on GPRS or EDGE.
Memory is also an integral part of a smartphone. Most smartphones have a card slot for microSD cards, but some have a very large internal memory space so that users do not have to buy an external memory card.
All in all, a smartphone is like a very small personal computer. Loaded with useful apps, it’s a powerful, pricey package.
Using a Smartphone for Education
What is mobile learning?
Every day, more and more people are buying gadgets to connect to the digital world. Gadgets are everywhere: Smartphones, music players, tablet computers, laptops, netbooks, etc. If one of them is used for educational purposes and productivity, that’s mobile learning.
Learning does not only happen inside the four walls of the classroom, it can happen anywhere: On a bus, in a museum, at the zoo, in the living room. Portability is important for a gadget, but a gadget is most praised for its ability to connect to academic resources with just a swipe of a finger.
What can a learner do with a smartphone?
A user can now take notes and transfer them to a laptop or share them online with a study group. Teachers can create presentations or flashcards. A learner has instant access to numerous websites for questions needing answered. For video assignments, students can record their films using a smartphone and send them to a computer for editing.
There are really a lot of ways to learn using a smartphone. Mobile learning is a gateway to tools and resources. It makes learning more personalized and creates bridges over the gaps between teacher and student. The great thing is that it gives users access to tons of content anywhere, anytime. Mobile learning opens up the opportunity to learn all the time.
Mobile learning is not the same as e-learning. E-learning focuses on disseminating educational knowledge through the Internet. Therefore, if there is no Internet connection, e-learning is impossible. Mobile learning is only a part of it. E-learning incorporates mobile learning through conducting learning activities on the Internet.