This blog is part of my technology guide for distance and digital learning tools. This guide contains information on various technology tools that can support providing effective instruction. There is a myriad of mobile learning tools to support lifelong learning. Below is information on three specific mobile learning tools that can be used to support effective learning and instruction.
Evernote is a mobile app designed to capture information, organize the information and take notes (Evernote, n.d.). According to Evernote (n.d.), the Evernote app can not only be used to gather information and take notes, but it can enhance your notes by adding links, images and audio recordings into an organized, digital notebook or binder. According the Evernote Help & Learning, (n.d.), you can scan and search hand written notes for specific information based on a character-recognition process that makes handwritten notes searchable. Evernote keeps all your notes in the cloud, however the app provides the ability to access and edit your notes and information offline and when re-connected to the internet, the app will update any of the edits that were made (Evernote Help & Learning, n.d.).
Evernote supports effective instruction and the 21st century learning skill of critical thinking by building research skills through its ability to archive information and allow access to archived information from various devices, including mobile devices (Gordon, 2013). According to Gordon (2013), all of the information stored in Evernote can be accessed, and used as a default bookmark or webclip, allowing your information to be indexed and searchable. When learning about a specific subject, individuals can set up notebooks to organize information based on certain topics about the subject regardless of whether the information comes from notes, audio recordings or information from the internet. This mobile-friendly tool can be used in both a formal and an informal setting and utilized for capturing information on a specific topic, lesson or information on a personal interest.
Evernote offers a free basic plan or upgraded plans that cost $39.99 per year, $69.99 per year or $14.99 per month (Evernote, n.d.). Evernote requires individuals to create an account, which is created by either sign-in with a Google account or by typing in an email address and a password. To sign-up for Evernote go to: https://www.evernote.com/Registration.action
Open Textbook Library
Open Textbook Library provides an online catalog of free, peer-reviewed, openly-licensed textbooks that are mobile-friendly (Open Textbook Library, n.d.). According to Open Textbook Library there are textbooks that have been reviewed by faculty from colleges and universities categorized into 14 main subjects, such as, business, education, humanities, math, science and several sub categories within the main subjects where individuals have online access to open-sourced textbooks. The authors and publishers of these textbooks have given permission to use them based on an open license.
According to the Partnership for 21st Century Learning (n.d.), information, media and technology literacy skills are necessary for students to succeed in work, life and citizenship. It is important for individuals to be comfortable using digital technology skills as a tool to research, evaluate and communicate information (Partnership for 21st Century Learning, n.d.). With more textbooks being offered online, digitally and in a mobile-friendly format, individuals can not only access various authored information from an online textbook, but using textbooks online supports building various technology skills, such as, searching for information, managing font sizes, highlighting and saving information and navigation skills.
Utilizing textbooks online mainly supports a formal educational setting. Textbooks are often associated with a type of formal classroom or training as supplemental information on a specific subject. There are many benefits to using online textbooks, such as decrease cost. In an effort to decrease the cost of textbooks, Open Textbook Library offers free web-based textbooks to support effective instruction in today’s 21st century. Also, technology-based instruction can reduce the time individuals take to understand a learning objective by 30-80 percent (Federal Communications Commission, 2012).
When searching open online textbooks on Google, 6,540,000 results emerge. However, Open Textbook Library is listed first. Its website (http://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/ ) is easy to use, providing three menu items on the top right; Browse subjects, Our Textbooks and About Us. After browsing through various subjects, reading reviews and learning who published the textbook, individuals can select a textbook by clicking on ‘read more’ and either read the book online or choose a different format for reading the textbook, such as, PDF, Kindle, E-Pub or MOBI (Open Textbook Library, n.d.).
Coursera is a website and app that provides mobile-friendly, massive open online courses (MOOC’s), other online courses, certificates and degrees (Coursera, n.d.). Coursera was founded in 2012 by Stanford University computer science professors, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller based on their experiences with starting a MOOC in 2011 (Coursera Leadership, n.d.). Coursera’s vision is based on a world where individuals can transform their lives by accessing the world’s best learning experience through having access to online courses taught by top instructors from top educational institutions (Coursera, n.d.).
Coursera has more than 30 million registered users and 2,700 active courses (Shah, 2018) and utilizing Coursera can not only support gaining 21st century technology skills, but can support gaining important life and career skills. According to Shah (2018), Coursera offers more than 250 MOOC specializations aligned to a credential, the most of any MOOC provider, and plans to launch 15 to 20 degrees by 2019. Coursera supports 21st century learning goals, such as, developing specific content knowledge and competencies to navigate complex life and work environments (Partnership for 21st Century Learning, n.d.). Gaining additional education can lead to earning credentials and degrees, which can support earning higher salary, lowering the risk of unemployment and maximizing job satisfaction (Doyle, 2018).
Coursera supports both informal and formal learning. Coursera offers close to 2,000 free online courses in various subjects in six different languages (Coursera, n.d.). Whether an individual has an interest in learning more about a specific subject and takes a class to support their interest or enrolls in a specialization to obtain a credential, Coursera has many options.
To get started with Coursera, an individual must first review and research the courses available within its various subjects. Once a course has been selected, it is important to review the syllabus, learn about the instructor(s), determine if there is a charge for the course and look at the start date and how long the class is scheduled. Each course has menu buttons to learn an overview of the course; access the syllabus; FAQs; the creators of the course; and course ratings and reviews. To enroll in a class, you must sign-up through a Facebook account or enter a name, email address and a password. To review all of Coursera’s online courses, click on: https://www.coursera.org/
Coursera. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://about.coursera.org/
Coursera Leadership. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://about.coursera.org/leadership
Doyle, A. (2018). How much is a College Degree Worth? Retrieved from: https://www.thebalance.com/how-much-is-a-college-degree-worth-2059798
Evernote (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://evernote.com/
Evernote Help & Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://help.evernote.com/hc/en-us/articles/115015781207-Evernote-for-Productivity-On-the-go
Federal Communications Commission. (2012). Digital Textbook Playbook. Retrieved from: http://www.fcc.gov
Gordon, W. (2013). Retrieved from: https://lifehacker.com/5989980/ive-been-using-evernote-all-wrong-heres-why-its-actually-amazing
Open Textbook Library. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/About.aspx
Partnership for 21st Century Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/docs/P21_framework_0816.pdf
Shah, D. (2018). By the numbers: MOOCS in 2017. Retrieved from: https://www.class-central.com/report/mooc-stats-2017/