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Professional Opinion

Mobile device use in the classroom shapes success in the workplace

The education tide is shifting in favor of a new mobile paradigm as a way to ease students’ transition into the workplace.
University Business, October 2014

While educators continue debating the use of mobile devices in the classroom, the tide seems to be shifting in favor of a new mobile paradigm as a way to ease students’ transition into the workplace.

According to a Marketing Charts study, today’s college student owns an average of seven mobile devices and spends nearly four hours a day using a smart phone. Students’ demand for constant connection, collaboration and efficiency through myriad of mobile devices parallels the pervasiveness of mobile in the professional world.

While mobile devices in the classroom is seen by some as a way to personalize learning and enhance student productivity, it also has the added benefit of stimulating professional behavior among students to position them for professional success in five ways.

1.) Engaged workers

Just as today’s professional is fully engaged and plugged into email, webinars and conference calls through the mobile “pocket office,” mobile device use in the classroom gives students the ability to stay “dialed in” to efficiently work anytime, anywhere.

A 2013 Educause study (PDF) surveyed students who said interactive learning components, such as chatting with students and instructors during lecture, participating in real-time polls, reading electronic textbooks and video conferencing, “engaged them more in class and made them feel more connected to what was being taught.”

Helping students staying connected to the classroom through a suite of collaborative mobile tools increases engagement and furthers individual success.

2.) Productive partners

Completing tasks on time and on point is a performance standard to which both students and business professionals are frequently evaluated. Individuals in the classroom and office continuously search for ways to be more effective and accurate in every aspect of work, and many turn to mobile devices to manage and enhance productivity.

A Pearson mobile device study (PDF) reported that more than six out of 10 students believed using mobile devices helped them study more efficiently and perform more effectively. It’s not surprising that professionals feel the same way with 97 percent of small- and medium-sized business IT workers agreeing that mobile devices make workers more productive, according to a Dimensional Research study (PDF).

Whether you’re a student or a professional, mobile devices allow people to multitask, stay productive and work more efficiently with absolute, untethered access. Educators embracing the use of mobile devices in the classroom can help establish a precedent for lifelong professional productivity.

3.) Comfortable tech users

Exposing students to various mobile device use in the classroom prepares them for advanced technology use in the workplace. According to a study by Ragan Communications, 72 percent of internal communications teams are planning to increase the use of video as a means of communicating with employees, proving that more business is being done virtually than ever before. In the classroom, students who have the opportunity to use video and other technologies to communicate – laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. – are ahead of the curve and much more comfortable using the latest digital tools and software once they enter the workplace.

4.) Conscious time managers

Time management is one of the most important and often the hardest skill for new employees to learn. It’s no secret that upper management encourages the use of technology and mobile device software, such as Asana, ClickTime and Evernote, to help train new employees on how to best manage and prioritize time. According to a Robert Half Management Resources interview, 35 percent of CFOs in more than 20 of the largest U.S. markets said they find that working more efficiently comes from taking greater advantage of technology.

Educators who allow students to leverage personal mobile devices to manage and prioritize tasks are providing “pre on-the-job training” by teaching students to strategically schedule and complete work efforts like a business professional.

5.) Critical reviewers

Using mobile device software to provide critical, accurate, real-time feedback is important for individual and company-wide success. Managers look to reporting insight and robust analytics to evaluate whether or not their hiring investments are paying off. Additionally, the use of mobile technology review platforms, like CultureAmp and SuccessFactors, allows leaders to get a pulse on employee morale and company-wide commitment.

Today’s higher education classrooms are taking a cue from the corporate world to help students track, quantify and assess academic performance. Mobile devices provide the predictive analytics framework used to evaluate students’ past performance and prescriptive analytics intelligence used to recommend corrective courses of action, all of which give teachers, like business leaders, an understanding of their “investment.”

Students who receive continuous, data-driven feedback from educators will come to expect, rely on and find ways to improve work based on performance analytics presented by managers.

While college professors experiment with new teaching styles and managers focus on how to effective lead employees, mobile device use is a key component to keeping individuals in the classroom and office connected, engaged and productive. Educators embracing the technology in the classroom are more actively cultivating students into the next class of successful professionals.

Rony Zarom is the CEO and founder of Watchitoo,

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