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Mobile Content in Education
Jul 25 2012 - 03:41:00 pm
Mobile content is content optimized for viewing from a Smartphone or web-ready mobile device. It may be abbreviated or formatted differently in order to cater to the mobile viewer.

Optimizing Mobile Content for Education

Adults are not the only people using smartphones to access the Internet, as students of all ages have been introduced to the benefits of mobile content. After all, storing content online can lighten the load of textbooks in backpacks, and it can allow students to learn anywhere. However, the requirements of mobile content for the classroom are different from the demands of content optimized for a desktop or laptop computer.

Content in the Classroom
Creators of mobile content are urged to consider how mobile learning will occur, since this will determine which features are most important. For example, many teachers appreciate the ability to give quizzes that don’t involve paper. The teacher may choose to display questions in the classroom and then allow students to respond using a mobile device that lets him or her track and record each student’s response and grade. This method requires each student to have a separate login or other identifying credential for the mobile device.

Alternatively, some teachers allow students to collaborate and then send in group answers. In such cases, each student’s answer is not usually recorded; therefore, identifying information is not necessary. Instead, teachers use such a resource to test how effectively his or her teaching methods have been for the class as a whole.

Content Outside the Classroom

Another benefit of mobile content for the classroom is that education can extend beyond the school day. Students can continue learning as they ride home on the bus or as they return from a field trip. Also, if a student is home due to illness, he does not have to miss out on the lesson material for the day.

Many classrooms now offer lectures on video so that students can tune into class from their smartphones. Some also allow teachers to upload notes for the day in case students missed them in class. While such methods have been common in colleges for years, they have also proven useful for younger students as well.

This means anyone optimizing mobile content for the classroom should make sure that videos can easily be watched, notes can be accessed, and the Internet can be browsed without issue. In addition, many teachers encourage students to use web apps that can illustrate processes. These apps may even allow users to create their own short videos or illustrations to show what they have learned in class.

What Should Content Creators Avoid?

The content on mobile devices needs to stay simple and easy to read, even when students are walking or riding a bus. This means big paragraphs of information should be avoided, and it should be easy for students to quickly navigate the content.

Keeping things simple also means reducing the amount of necessary text entry: typing on a mobile device can be hard to do, especially while moving. Dropdown menus, checkboxes, and icons that can be pressed are all ideal ways to reach busy students as they learn through mobile content. 

What do you think about classrooms going mobile? How can teachers take advantage of students' preoccupation with their cell phones and the web? Post your comments below!