Most of us depend on mobile applications in our daily lives. Unsurprisingly, education institutions and schools have also been utilizing the power and convenience that mobile applications offer for various purposes.
The underlying driver of mobile app usage in schools is simply the eager audience. Having been born into an interconnected and mobile-first world, children are extremely tech savvy and at ease with mobile apps.
Many parents can relate to the difficulty of prying their children away from the mobile phones. Why not harness the natural curiosity and interest of children in mobile apps for educational purposes?
Let’s take a look at why and how mobile apps are currently being used in schools.
Whenever you need to get information about your child’s school such as the holiday dates, sports day or the schedule of the parent-teachers’ meet, you might try to connect to the school website.
But this becomes less convenient when you are not in front of a desktop. Or even if you have your laptop, you may not recall the website address.
School apps provide easy solutions in such situations.
Greater scope of parent involvement
Websites are great for static information, but not so great for real-time information. Chatbots featured within mobile apps allow parents and children to communicate directly with teachers and school authorities.
Teachers can update parents about last minute changes in tests or remind parents and children about upcoming homework submissions through chat.
In the past, schools have relied on children to pass messages between the teacher and the parent. As parents can easily relate, this is a significant impediment to deep parent involvement.
Whether or not sanctioned by schools, parents tend to form group chats in Whatsapp or other group chat apps to communicate amongst themselves. Forward-looking schools would want to manage these conversations by facilitating official group chat channels in school apps.
Mobilizing schools for community work
Since there is already a natural community built around schools, why not mobilize this community for local social efforts?
The convenience of communicating through mobile apps also means that teachers, students, and parents can all be informed about social events occurring in the community.
Indeed, schools are advertising and encouraging involvement in community events through their mobile apps. After all, education is not simply about learning in the classroom.
Schools are taking active steps to expose students to community work from an early age, and mobile apps are a great tool to do this.
Self-learning before formal pedagogy
Mobile apps help provide opportunities for smart self-learning. Many contemporary educational experts advocate self-exploration and self-discovery before formal pedagogy as an effective approach towards learning.
Mobile apps on tablets and phone offer the possibility of interactive learning and gamification as ways to self-learn. Learning should be fun and today’s technology allows it to be so. It also makes the job of teachers` more enjoyable. Teachers love to teach a well-prepared class.
Submissions, tracking, marking, and other logistics
Teachers should teach. While seemingly obvious, the practical reality is that administrative tasks typically consume the majority of a teacher’s time. From marking attendance at the start of the day and ensuring every student submits his work, to marking homework and collecting school fees, teachers are asked to do a variety of tasks unrelated to teaching.
Mobile apps and digitization offer answers. Students should be able to collaborate on group work, make submissions, and perform any administrative tasks, such as attendance taking through mobile apps, tablets, and on websites, without any intervention from teachers.
Answers scripts with multiple choice questions can be marked automatically by computers rather than by humans. With the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence techniques, computers may soon be also able to do a decent job to mark essays.
However, it may be some time before such techniques become sufficiently cost-efficient for wide deployment.
Mobile schooling, anyone?
Existing technology deployed within mobile apps already offer ready-solutions to schools to improve efficiency, pedagogy, and communication.
Indeed, many countries have promoted the use of mobile apps in schools. For instance, manpower-constrained Singapore pursues such efforts as part of its Smart Nation drive to help address their teachers’ heavy administrative workloads.
Successful deployment of such initiatives not only involves proper conceptualization of the use of the mobile apps, but also requires the services of good mobile app development companies to put together the different pieces of technology in a compelling customized mobile app for the school involved.