Active Learning, Mentoring, and Mobile Technology: Meeting Needs across Levels in One Place

Active Learning, Mentoring, and Mobile Technology: Meeting Needs across Levels in One Place

Dianna L. Newman (University at Albany (SUNY), USA), Jessica M. Lamendola (University at Albany (SUNY), USA), Meghan Morris Deyoe (University at Albany (SUNY), USA) and Kenneth A. Connor (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7363-2.ch041


Educators are creating authentic settings that utilize active learning, mobile technology, and mentoring in efforts to promote students' success in developing 21st Century skills, motivation, and interest in STEM domains and STEM careers. Each of these approaches has been found to promote and transfer knowledge, as well as to develop problem-solving and communication skills in STEM. Little information, however, is available about the interactive effect of mobile technology and active learning in promoting learning in settings that use a hierarchical model of mentoring to promote the transfer of skills and knowledge. This chapter presents findings of a program that used mobile technology in active learning environments for five interrelated levels of an active, authentic environment, facilitated by mobile technology and hierarchical mentoring. Positive outcomes were documented at each level of participation; use of the mobile technology integrated within active learning settings supported by hierarchical mentoring increased learning in STEM content, skills, and affect.
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Overview Of The Literature

Olson and Riordan (2012) note that during the 20th century, the interactive status of science, technology, and higher education had a major effect on the U.S. economy. During that latter part of the 20th century, more students were graduating from colleges and universities with STEM degrees than ever before, creating and supporting an economy based on new technologies and industries. Now, in the second decade of the 21st Century, societal demands require that we continue to reinforce and develop skills that are directly related to the use of technology such as information, media, and technology literacy; concurrently we must also develop skills related to career content and professional activities such as innovation, self-direction, adaptability, productivity, critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and communication (U.S. Department of Education, 2010).

To encourage the development of these skills amongst our youth and emerging adults, it is imperative that technology be incorporated within all aspects of education, and that student learning and pedagogy reflect technology integration, as well as technology content (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). The domain of STEM education is highly touted as a leader in this change. As of 2010, 46 of the 50 states in the United States now require that teachers implement technology within their instruction (National Science Board, 2010) in hopes that aligning instruction and technology will promote a growing workforce in STEM-related fields and a population prepared to take on STEM-related and STEM-supported careers.

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