The mobile revolution that has ushered in this decade is nothing short of a history being created. The fact that it has touched every facet of life makes it universally acceptable. Education is not left behind and several companies are trying to use mobile platform to provide a variety of education services. However, if anything to go by, the success is far-flung and no path breaking way has been found that would make mobile a true education device. This article tries to focus on the limitations that are hindering the success of mobile education.
The largest mobile phone in terms of screen size is Dell Streak that has 5 inch display. However, still an average mobile phone screen is no more than 2.8 inches. Students are used to reading from pages that are larger in size. Hence, reading on 2.8 inches screen is never comfortable. The screen of mobile phone is mainly optimized for small text.
Processing power limitations
Barring a few mobile phones, most of the cellular phones have slow processors. These processors are incapable of running animations or digital content effectively. Desktop computers and laptops do not face any such difficulty and therefore have become a preferred medium for online learning.
Fragmented nature of Mobile OS platforms
Application developers find it extremely difficult to develop applications that can be run on all mobile operating systems. Imagine a class with 30 students and some having Nokia phones, others with Blackberries, and some using Androids. This is a real world issue that most of the education providers are grappling with.
Education is always considered as a service which is there for the masses. Hence, in many cases, education is affordable for a large number of students across the different economic strata. There is no doubt that devices such as iPhone can be used for mobile education. Unfortunately, not many can afford to buy an iPhone.
Lack of government support
Present day governments have not yet understood that education in 21st century is no longer restricted inside the buildings of schools, colleges, and universities. New modes of imparting education have come up and mobile is one of them. Unless the governments around the world realize this and allocate resources, the mobile education will not succeed.
Even though companies are talking about phones as low as $30, these devices will never be optimized for education. The solutions to the barriers, mentioned above, are hard to find. Even the much touted projects such as OLPC (One laptop per child) have not been able to bring a paradigm shift in the filed of education.