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The pros & cons of mobile teaching or learning
The pros & cons of mobile teaching or learning

Implications of encouraging students to attend live lessons through their smartphone

Alexander Asher avatar
Written by Alexander Asher
Updated over a week ago

There's no doubt that smartphones and apps can make learning live with a teacher more convenient.  You can find out more about LearnCube's capabilities to work on mobile devices here.

However, you may want to understand the implications of a decision to teach students on mobile before offering it.

Firstly, consider the two big differences between smartphones vs tablets/computers:

  • Screen sizes are much smaller on the vast majority of smartphones. 

  • Smartphones allow and encourage us to take calls where it's most convenient, not necessarily the quietest with the best connection.

Implications for online teaching and online learning:

  • How much harder is it for the teacher to deliver an effective class if the student is viewing the teacher/whiteboard from a small screen or with patchy internet?

  • How does the teacher know if a student will take the class on their computer/tablet or mobile phone?

  • What content should the teacher present if they can't see what the student sees? i.e. if they are on a laptop but their student is on a small, old smartphone.

  • How does that impact the teaching format in a private or group class?

  • What are your policies if the student decides to take the class on their smartphone in a noisy environment (cafe, train, street)?

  • Does this expose the teacher/school to more technical problems caused by hardware? For example, there is a much more significant difference between a next-gen iPhone and a 5-year-old basic Android device vs a latest model Mac laptop and a 5-year-old windows PC.

  • We've noticed more cross-browser issues that are outside of our control to fix. e.g. We've found students can access the class via Safari on their iPads but not via Chrome. Do you have a way to educate those users?

  • What if the student is not able to connect via wifi? How much data will the student go through?

  • What if the student does not take their class in a place they know has strong internet? How easy is this to explain to students at the time of the class?

Many of the potential issues and edge cases are outside of LearnCube's control.

We're still optimistic about mobile but believe this needs a deliberate and separate strategy from teaching students predominantly on computers/tablets.

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