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Building Preservice and Inservice Teacher Capacity for Mobile Learning Through Peer Coaching

Listen and learn

Listen and learn : Panel

Monday, November 30, 1:00–1:45 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Dr. Julie Evans  
Dr. Lu Young  

Though students have increased access to mobile devices, only 22% of teachers say they are very comfortable integrating devices within instruction. This discussion shares insights from an innovative program which pairs preservice and in-service teachers for peer coaching on effective strategies for using mobile, wireless technologies within STEM education.

Audience: Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty, Principals/head teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Topic: Teacher education
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Dedicate planning time to collaborate with colleagues to create authentic learning experiences that leverage technology.
  • Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.
  • Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.
Additional detail: Session recorded for video-on-demand

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Over the past 10 years, the implementation of mobile learning programs in K-12 schools has gained steady momentum across the globe. From Kenya to Kentucky, education ministries and school boards are investing in Internet connected, portable devices to stimulate new innovations in teaching and learning. Prior to the COVID19 induced school closures, 60% of school site principals reported having implemented a mobile learning program at their school where students are assigned a tablet, laptop or Chromebook to use in class to support learning. This represented a dramatic 120% increase in just two years. With the sudden shift to remote e-learning, schools heavily invested in mobile devices to connect students with online instruction. The upsurge in student access to mobile devices has been accompanied by an avalanche of new mobile apps and cloud-based productivity tools to support learning in the classroom. The increased interest in mobile learning has naturally resulted in new professional development programs to train teachers on device usage and classroom strategies around mobile learning also. As evidenced during the school closures, seamless integration of mobile devices and apps into daily instruction however involves more than understanding how to download engaging student games or setting up policies for monitoring student usage. For schools and classes to realize the benefits of mobile learning, teachers must invest in re-thinking and re-engineering their approaches to lesson planning and delivery to leverage the unique potential opportunities available when every child in class has an Internet-connected device in their hand. That is not work for the faint-hearted and thus it is understandable about some teachers’ reluctance to jump into that type of work. Per the latest Speak Up Research Findings from Project Tomorrow, only 22% of K-12 teachers in the United States say they are very comfortable integrating mobile devices into regular instruction. Not surprisingly, school principals say that the major challenge facing their mobile learning implementations continues to be how to motivate their teachers to change their instructional practices to fully take advantage of the features and capabilities of mobile learning.

An additional challenge to the sustainability of mobile learning implementations is the preparation of the next great generation of teachers to effectively use mobile devices and apps in their future classrooms, be those online or on premises. To build sustainable mobile learning programs, we need to ensure that our aspiring teachers are also well trained in the research-based strategies that enable high impact student outcomes using mobile devices and wireless technologies. The goal therefore of this innovative project, the Mobile Learning in Kentucky Project, is to address the needs of both practicing as well as aspiring teachers. The project focuses on increasing the knowledge and confidence of the teachers – both the aspiring teachers and the practicing teachers – to use wireless enabled mobile devices and appropriate digital content within instruction through a series of mutually supporting mentoring and coaching opportunities that result in enhanced learning experiences for students in middle and high schools in the Appalachia region of Kentucky. In this project, students in the teacher preparation program at the University of Kentucky use wireless-enabled tablets to support their own classroom activities as well as to learn about using the devices and apps within K-12 STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) instruction. The college students then leverage their new mobile instructional strategies to train practicing teachers and K-12 students in selected classrooms and schools in challenged communities in Kentucky. Teachers and students in traditionally under-resourced classrooms are also provided with 1:1 assigned tablets for in school and out of school usage. The expectation is that this innovative model will elevate the skill knowledge of the practicing teachers through the infusion of new ideas from the University students, as well as provide a real-world context for the aspiring teachers about how to effectively use mobile devices and apps to increase student engagement and achievement. The ultimate beneficiaries are the students who are provided with new learning experiences that allow them to develop college and career ready skills while exploring STEAM areas of interest. The intent is to create a sustainable model of teacher development to support effective mobile learning in the classroom that can inform other programs worldwide, especially those with a mission to improve the learning opportunities for students in under-resourced communities.

The objectives of this session are two-fold: 1. To introduce a new approach to building teacher capacity for technology integration through the development of new partnerships with schools of education, and 2. To share results from this 3-year project that includes multiple lessons learned about how to effectively implement mobile devices (tablets) in a rural school district. As part of this project, the partnering schools in all 3 districts had the opportunity to implement a 1:1 tablet environment with wireless access for at home usage as well. Key lessons learned include how to protect students when they are outside of school using a school provided device.

In the session we will share the research findings from the study over the past three years, examining the impact of the peer coaching on the in-service teachers as well as the pre-service teachers. Key findings from the Speak Up Research Project will provide a foundation for the discussion and how to generalize the results from this study beyond rural communities. Key insights from the teacher preparation program angle will be shared as well as the implications for closer working relationships between K-12 school districts and their feeder teacher prep programs. All participants will receive access to a repository of resources from this project including information about a new self-paced online course about mobile learning that is being introduced this fall.


Following introductions, participants will engage in a “Jeopardy” type game format to reveal their current perceptions on rural students’ valuations and aspirations for using mobile devices to support STEM learning. (10 min)

Research findings from the 3-year study about the impact of the mobile devices on student learning in rural Appalachia will be presented as well as national trends from the Speak Up Research Project. (15 min)

Guest panelist who is a University of Kentucky faculty member, current Chair of the Kentucky State Board of Education and former District Superintendent will discuss the implications of these findings relative to teacher education curriculum and school implementations. (15 min)

Audience participation through Q&A with the panel (15 min)

Wrap up – provide all audience members with access to an online site to learn more about the research and the best practices from this new model. (5 min)

Supporting research

Extensive repository of Project Tomorrow reports, white papers and infographics:

This repository includes these relevant reports:

Baker, A., Dede, C., & Evans, J., The 8 Essentials for Mobile Learning Success in Education. November 2014

Baker, A., Dede, C., & Evans, J., Mobile Frontiers in Higher Education. October 2015

Evans, J. A Vision for Mobile Learning More Verbs, Fewer Nouns. EDUCATIONAL  LEADERSHIP, May 2015. 72(8), 10-16.

Project Tomorrow. STEAMing Ahead with Mobile Learning. April 2016

Project Tomorrow. The Double Bottom Line with Mobile Learning: Closing the Homework Gap and Enhancing Student Achievement. November 2015

Project Tomorrow. Digital Learning 24/7: Understanding Technology — Enhanced Learning in the Lives of Today’s Students. April 2015

Project Tomorrow. The New Digital Learning Playbook, Advancing College & Career Ready Skill Development in K-12 Schools. June 2014

Project Tomorrow. The New Digital Learning Playbook: Understanding the Spectrum of Students’ Activities and Aspirations. April 2014

Project Tomorrow. The Educational Equity Imperative: Leveraging Technology to Empower Learning for All. September 2018

More [+]


Dr. Julie Evans, Project Tomorrow
Dr. Lu Young, University of Kentucky

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