Mobile Learning and Professional Development for Teachers

UNESCO's report on Mobile Learning For Teachers In North America > Exploring the Potential of Mobile Technologies to Support Teachers and Improve Practice identifies that;

Mobile devices can enable teachers to participate in PD more frequently and with more
flexibility than traditional training sessions that are constrained to a particular time and place.
They can also strengthen collaborative PD by facilitating communication among peers and
mentors. Many education leaders anticipate that teachers will soon be using mobile
technologies to access widespread professional communities and engage in collaborative
learning online (Bjerede et al., 2010).

This is consistent with the Ministry of Education's desire to provide more professional development opportunities for teachers within their working environment to take advantage of the contextual elements that would make it more meaningful. It is a shift from the one size fits all model of professional learning.

What I really like about the case studies highlighted in the report is the following;

Teachers were not just taught how to use a specific mobile device but were encouraged to think critically about how mobile technologies can provide new and better opportunities for learning. Rather than adopting mobile technologies wholesale, teachers exploring mobile learning need to consider whether using mobile devices adds value or efficiency to particular lessons or activities, or whether it could be distracting.

When I consult with educators this is a critical step - this kind of forethought is required in order to determine how the teaching needs to change in order to maximize the integration of the technology so that it enhances learning and effectively differentiates the instruction. 

Bjerede, M., Atkins, K. and Dede, C. 2010. Ubiquitous mobile technologies and the transformation of schooling.