New Study on Digital Mobile Technologies, K-12
The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop issued a new study documenting the untapped potential of mobile learning. According to the the Pockets of Potential: Using Mobile Technologies to Promote Children’s Learning study, perhaps the most ubiquitous technology in children’s lives today are mobile devices — tools such as cell phones, iPod devices, and portable gaming platforms that traverse home, school, and play via the hands and pockets of children worldwide. While these devices are undoubtedly a source of fun and entertainment, proponents of mobile learning believe they have significant potential to be a key ally in supporting learning experiences. However, in contrast, most parents and educators are skeptical about the educational potential of such devices.

Pockets of Potential includes an inventory of over 25 notable examples of mobile technology’s power to transform learning including MIT’s Augmented Reality Games which use GPS technology to help students solve real life environmental problems. Others promote essential reading skills, such as PBS Kids’ Learning Letters with Elmo, which used video and text messaging to send literacy tips to parents of preschoolers, successfully engaging lower-income families.

Listed below are some of the key findings of the study.
Key Opportunities in Mobile Learning
The report highlights five opportunities to seize mobile learning’s unique attributes to improve education:
1. Encourage “anywhere, anytime” learning
2. Reach underserved children
3. Improve 21st-century social interactions
4. Fit with learning environments
5. Enable a personalized learning experience

Key Challenges in Mobile Learning
Five key challenges outlined in the report include:
1. Negative aspects of mobile learning
2. Cultural norms and attitudes
3. No mobile theory of learning
4. Differentiated access and technology
5. Limiting physical attributes

Did you know?
• Almost all children in the U.S. have access to a mobile device, with 93% of 6-to-9-year-olds living in a home with a cell phone.
• Many children have a mobile device of their own. Over 50% of 6-to-9-year-olds have their own portable video game player, 30% have their own cell phone, and 20% have their own digital music player.
• Mobile device ownership among children ages 4-14 has experienced double-digit growth since 2005.

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop ( ) is an independent, non-profit research center that examines the role of new technologies in learning and literacy development both in and out of school.