Mobile devices are increasingly being used in K–12 classrooms, yet the rapid rate that they’re being implemented doesn’t always match how quickly educators are trained to teach with them. While some teachers feel confident adding more tech to their rooms, others are still unfamiliar with how to use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, let alone how to incorporate them into their lessons.

A recent study examined how teacher readiness to integrate mobile learning in the classroom related to their confidence using tech, years of teaching, and preferred method of professional development. One of the main purposes of this study was to determine what types of professional development worked best for teachers with varying levels of mobile learning readiness.

To do this, the researchers interviewed 1,430 K–12 teachers of various backgrounds and levels of experience. From the responses, they found that teachers with greater mobile learning readiness reported higher levels of confidence using technology. In addition, they tended to have fewer years of teaching experience and to prefer blended or online professional development more than face-to-face training. Conversely, teachers who were less willing to integrate mobile devices into their classrooms had less confidence using tech, more experience teaching, and preferred face-to-face professional development.

These results make sense; older educators with more teaching experience tend to be less familiar with technology than younger teachers. Because of this, they are more skeptical of adjusting their tried-and-true teaching methods to adopt mobile devices into their classes. Yet the results of this study also suggest that older teachers are more likely to feel confident incorporating devices into their classrooms if they have face-to-face professional development rather than online or blended training.

Having scaffolded and various types of professional development for different teacher populations could help prepare educators to more effectively and confidently include mobile devices into their curriculum. Although many schools are adopting online professional development training for employees, this might not be in the best interests of the teachers working there. Adapting pedagogy to changing technology takes hard work, but adjusting professional development to meet the needs of educators is one way to make it happen.

Christensen, R., & Knezek, G. (2017). Readiness for integrating mobile learning in the classroom: Challenges, preferences, and possibilities. Computers in Human Behavior, 76(1), 112–121.

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