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Mobile learning apps connect with youth

By Carrie Ann Olson

Sometimes it seems as though everywhere you look, people are using their phones. But what are they using them for? The Pew Internet Research Project reports that teen texting volume is up in 2012 while the frequency of voice calling is down. About three-quarters (77%) of teens have a cell phone; one in four say they own smartphones.

American teens on average are sending or receiving 3,339 texts a month, or more than six for every hour they're awake, according to a Nielsen Company report: Calling Yesterday, Texting Today, Using Apps Tomorrow. Although texting is at an all-time high, the largest area of growth was in teen data usage, from 14 MB to 62 MB per month. Almost half of teens surveyed reported using an app 10 times per day -- more frequently than general grooming and eating.

So how are you connecting with this mobile youth society? Do you text? Do you push meeting reminders? Do you have mobile apps that support the topic you are teaching while encouraging youth to build mastery in areas of interest? A recent presentation by Barbara Chamberlin, Extension instructional design and educational media specialist , New Mexico State University states that technology is changing the way our clientele work, think and play. We need to remember our basic learning objectives and then take those objectives into a mobile learning environment.

Healthy living, the programming area that interests me the most, seems to be a popular supported learning objective with mobile learning apps. However, where some apps get complicated, the Eat & Move-O-Matic will help you learn about the foods you eat and how they help fuel your body for your favorite activities. The Eat & Move-O-Matic was developed to support the National 4-H "Youth Voice: Youth Choice" program, and offers a simple and fun way to engage kids and adults alike in learning about the relationship between nutrition and exercise. The Presidential Active Lifestyle Award + Challenge encourages physical activity and building healthy eating habits with a online tracking of activity.

Games can make you happier. In a previous blog entry, Trudy Dunham challenged us to take advantage of games to promote youth learning and development. I believe that mobile learning apps can go a step further and encourage "anytime, anywhere" learning, as well as reach underserved children, because they are relatively low-cost.

Do you see the benefits of mobile learning apps? Do you have a favorite health app? How have you used any mobile learning apps to support your youth development learning environments?

-- Carrie Ann Olson
Extension educator & associate Extension professor, educational design & development

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  1. Ofcourse apps can help you learn more. It just depends on what interests you. Our education system might not use technology for education but we as teachers should let children explore technology because they learn more easily.

  2. Great thoughts. And yes, i do see benefits in mobile learning apps. The point is almost every kid has phone in 2k16, so we should stimulate extention of learning apps. You know, there is a great team of mobile apps developers i bet, they can create amazing mobile learning app.

  3. One thing I find beneficial with mobile app is for kids to study another language. They improved very quickly in a very short amount of time. That's one benefit for me.

  4. Great sharing. The fast changing of technology somehow changes our life in generally and our education or the way we approach the knowledge in particularly. Many mobile applications initiated and launch for learning online or even offline if that application supported by its technology. Many nice stories come out of using learning online. One of the remarkable story is that a kid can study and speak fluency another language by only watching youtube. The way youth people approaching the knowledge is so different from the past. With phone, they can know everything around the world.

  5. Good article. Thanks! I totally agree that mobile development is extremely important for young people. As for me, I can advise you to read this if you want to improve your knowledge.


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