Surfing the Digital Wave: Educating the Hyper-Mobile Generation

Many children today encounter mobile devices long before they’ve learned to read a book or tie their shoes. But when they enter most classrooms or homework time comes around, it’s necessary to put the devices away. At our house, that can be an epic struggle!

For the most part, classes look the same to our kids today as they did for our parents and us.

Just consider the typical classroom scene: A teacher stands at the head of the room, facing rows of students and lecturing them on subjects ranging from spelling to history to multivariable calculus. When a cell phone chirps, the instructor might confiscate the device from a red-faced student.

It’s time for a revolutionary change to teaching and learning – one that taps into the power of technology we’ve already incorporated into our daily lives and transforms the way teachers teach and students learn.

A teacher who attended our recent education hack-a-thon — one of the technology jam sessions that we hold at the AT&T Foundry Innovation Center in the Silicon Valley — put it best.

“The challenge,” she said, “is to figure out how to use whatever digital device is in their pockets, instead of telling them to stop. I started texting my students to remind them to do homework; it ended up deepening the relationship.”

Meeting this challenge is why we’re working hand-in-hand with Amplify on a K-12 pilot product that holds the promise of a ground-breaking transformation of the classroom experience through digital technology. Specifically, Amplify will provide a new tablet-based platform, and AT&T will provide 4G tablets, device support, and mobile Internet connectivity over the nation’s largest 4G network.

That means equipping kids with tablets to do their homework while riding the bus to an away soccer game, engaging parents in their child’s progress, and giving teachers the tools to focus on teaching and learning rather than classroom management and administration.

As part of our AT&T Aspire program, we support the national goal of achieving a 90% high school graduation by 2020. We are on the right track, but progress is slow. If we continue at the same pace we are on now, we will only reach 80%. We have to find innovative ways to break the barrier of mediocrity and put our nation back on top.

It’s time to try something new. We believe this could be the start of something big.

Share your ideas for mobilizing learning. How do you see technology factoring into education in the coming years? 

Dan Walsh Advanced Enterprise Solutions Senior Vice President AT&T About Dan