Whether they have Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Divergent on their eReaders, or rely on educational apps on their touchscreen devices, students across the academy are enthralled with using mobile devices for learning. Last Spring, Pearson (2013a) released studies showing students’ preferences for using mobile devices in education, revealing how interwoven the two have become. Both elementary and secondary students are highly receptive toward tablets, for instance, trusting that these devices can improve their education. Among these students, nine in ten agree that tablets will change their ongoing education, and, as they prepare for college, seven in ten would like to use mobile devices more often in their learning journeys (Pearson, 2013a, p. 6). This is highly likely, as four in ten of them owned tablets at the end of the previous academic year, and one-quarter of the remaining percentage have now purchased their own as well (Pearson, 2013a, p. 6). For those high school seniors who have now entered the university, they have become a part of the majority of college students who “strongly believe that tablets can enhance learning” (Pearson, 2013b, p. 10). Statistics touting college students’ preferences for mobile devices in education are stirring notices for all of us:
Since “college students’ expectations for tablets remain very high,” they “are even more likely to believe that tablets will transform the way [they] will learn in the future than they did a year ago” (Pearson, 2013b, p. 11). No matter the age or the lesson, because of mobile learning, today’s students are eagerly engaged with their coursework and are looking forward to more of the same, knowing they can personalize and enjoy learning through the small devices they hold in their hands.
Elementary-aged children regularly have access to iPads and smartphones at home and in school. They’re part of a generation of students who will rely less on computers than ever before. As the previous generation grew up with computers and eventually faced the need to recycle them, today’s students and educators will do the same with mobile devices. Looking to previous recycling trends and considering new opportunities unique to these devices, users can prepare themselves even now for the surge of outdated machines threatening the e-waste stream.