Mobile devices and internet access are dramatically changing education.  People are choosing distance learning platforms in increasing number.  Many learners and educators find that distance learning is convenient and more adaptable to people's busy schedules.  Moreover, without having to commute to traditional classrooms and with the aid of technical devices, students can more easily meet all of their obligations--studies, work, and even family.  Technology, of course, makes distance learning possible; it also enhances it with great features that also help prepare students for careers in the digital age.

Smartphones are Smart Educational Choices

Smartphones rely on mobile connectivity to connect to the internet.  They are incredibly powerful tools in the hands of instructors and students.  Instructors can reach students by text, email, or through an internet-based messaging system.  Students can connect with other students for class projects or simply to discuss topics related to coursework.  These students could be in different towns or even different countries.  Mobile phones allow students to stay connected with each other and with the class.

Smart Apps

People often say there are apps for everything and it may not be a far-off assumption.  Students can use their mobile phones to download apps related to their distance learning coursework.  There is a wide range of apps for language learning (i.e. pronunciation tutors, dictionaries, grammar checkers), mathematics (i.e. graphing calculators, statistics, computational help), or science (i.e. biology flash cards, problem solving, chemical compounds references) to name a mere few.  There are more general apps that help students stay organised, sort references for their classroom projects, or compile their notes.  Additionally, there are apps that allow for practice quizzing or testing.

iPads and Tablets

These mobile devices allow students to easily connect to their virtual classrooms, attend video conferences, write their papers, perform digital research, and so much more!  Armed with such powerful tools, students can use their tablets for everything related to their coursework.  Lightweight and convenient to use, students also have the advantage of a larger screen than smartphone allows.  The tablets allow all of their projects to be digitised and easily shared with instructors and other students.  Downloading apps is a streamlined process and students can take all the tools housed on their tablets wherever they go.

Social Media

Many students use their mobile to connect to social media platforms.  Many instructors are finding it convenient to use Twitter to announce assignments or course updates, for instance.  Instructors will sometimes create a course Facebook page for easily encouraging discussions of course-related materials.  Because students are already familiar with these social platforms, it is easy to transition to using them as educational platforms too.

More and more advanced apps and tools are already on the horizon to enhance distance learning.  These tools benefit the entire learning experience and allow students to have practice using digital tools.  As digital platforms will likely be part of their work life, becoming digitally savvy while a student will only serve them as excellent experience later on when they begin their careers.

Paige Burton is a young mom who got her degree by taking online classes. She shares her experience and knowledge of learning online by blogging for education websites. If you're interested in distance learning courses, click the link.