How Districts Are Making the Most of Mobile Technology
More than half of Americans in 2012 were using a mobile device to access the Internet, according to a Pew Internet survey. Out of these, 31% were using mobile as their primary way to get online.
Many districts are taking advantage of mobile technology by getting iPads or other mobile tablets into the hands of both students and administrators. Here are some of the ways they are using it!
Ways to Use Mobile Devices
Corpus Christi ISD recently used federal funds designated for staff training to purchase 160 iPads for administrators to monitor and evaluate teachers. The number of walk-throughs conducted by administrators jumped from 1,850 to 5,500 after the iPads were in use, attesting to the ease of evaluating teachers on the go.
“It’s just been a fabulous way for us to get more involved in the classroom,” one elementary school principal said.
Many others, like View Ridge Elementary School, have given iPods or other devices to students to increase learning and engagement.
“They’re full-on computers in the hands of kids,” a principal said.
Schools have noticed that, in conjunction with strong instructional practices, mobile devices can help get students excited about learning and more involved in the classroom.
Some districts are even creating their own mobile app to engage stakeholders. McKinney ISD worked with an outside company to build a mobile app to give parents and students easy access to upcoming events, lunch menus, library databases, available jobs, grades and much more.
Chief Communications Officer Cody Cunningham said the app is now used by more than 12,000 people.
Absence Data on the Go
Douglas County is making the most of their administrators’ district-purchased iPads by using mobile apps and mobile-optimized websites, including the administrator-level mobile site for Aesop (now part of Frontline Absence & Time), their substitute placement and absence management system (m.aesoponline.com).
“If our principals are out of their building or even in the building, they can get a quick glance of what’s going on,” said Jennae Hunter, the Substitute Specialist.
With the Aesop mobile website, administrators can view data and take action on the go, including:
– View the day’s filled and unfilled absences
– Approve or cancel absences
– Assign a specific substitute to an absence
– View alerts from the system or the district
Jennae said the school secretaries and HR Directors also use the mobile site to get information quickly.
“The school secretaries can use their mobile phones from home to get a quick glance and see if all the jobs are filled,” she said. “Also, the HR Directors are able to see at a quick glance what’s going on across the whole district.”
Whether for students or for administrators, districts are finding a variety of ways to improve operations with mobile tools.
Look at your existing systems to see what mobile websites or apps you could already be using. In future software purchases, look for systems with built-in mobile tools.
Also, consider the cost of mobile devices for your administrators weighed against the time and paperwork that could be saved, especially if the money could be pulled from an existing, relevant federal fund or other source.
Finally, remember you don’t need to go with the most expensive device — districts have a lot of options when it comes to mobile technology!
How is your district using mobile technology?