Yesterday I had the honor of speaking in front of a number of CoSN delegates at the organization’s annual conference held this year in Atlanta, GA. My presentation, “Connected Mobility: Utilizing Today’s “Always On” Mindset to Improve Education Outcomes,” detailed the amazing opportunities that mobile technologies brings to field of education and what Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated) is doing.
During my presentation, I emphasized the importance of getting educational data plans—restricted to educational content only, as defined by districts/schools—down to something close to $10/month. Doing so would lower the barrier to entry for many school districts… and go a long way toward helping close the inequity of the digital divide that exists in America today.
While many in attendance were supportive of our approach, I could tell some were surprised to learn about Qualcomm’s participation in the education movement—we are probably better known for developing mobile technologies than say, a mobile education platform (I’ll refer back to this shortly).
But the fact is that this company is extremely dedicated to education and improving its methods, so that everyone—rich or poor, living in a urban or rural community—is given the equal opportunity to learn and achieve everything they are capable of. This is why I joined Qualcomm 3 months ago from my role at San Diego School District. Proof? Here are just a few points:
- Since 2000, Qualcomm Incorporated and the Qualcomm Foundation have donated $240 million to nonprofits.
- Since 2007, the Qualcomm Wireless Reach initiative has funded nearly 40 education-based projects around the world. Many of our company programs are focused on K-20 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education.
- In July 2014, Qualcomm Technologies acquired Empowered Careers, developer of a mobile-centric, cloud-based learning environment.
- Also in 2014, we launched the Thinkabit Lab for kids, a lab created to stimulate interest in STEM careers—careers in which fewer and fewer U.S. students are pursuing compared to the rest of the world.
- And Qualcomm Education, Inc. was formed to focus our efforts further.
How do mobile technologies fit in with education? For centuries, the idea that learning took place inside classrooms was the standard. But as times and technology have progressed, this concept no longer holds water 100 percent of the time—just look at all the people learning via Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Add to that the widespread use of mobile devices and ubiquity of advanced LTE networks, education can happen almost everywhere—not just inside the physical walls of a classroom—24 hours a day, seven days a week. And mobile expands the reach of education, allowing students to make the world their classroom.
Remember above I mentioned “mobile education platform”? Qualcomm Technologies has been working diligently on a platform called Qualcomm QLearn that we believe can truly transform education and best serve the now mobile generation of students.
In brief, the Qualcomm QLearn program is made up of:
- The QLearn Hub – a cloud service that allows students to use education-based mobile apps seamlessly connected with various edtech systems (even legacy systems). From Student Information Systems to Grade Book Systems—all the parts need to be able to talk to each other.
- The QLearn App Suite – an easy-to-nav education & mobile centric reference application that offers students a variety of native features such as video, and chat and push notifications that are accessible via iOS, Android, and WebApp.
- The QLearn Zone – a safety net that employs “dual mode” to control (and restrict) content access over LTE. Devices can automatically switch to Wi-Fi and “learn only” in order to comply with their school district’s policies. It also mirrors on-campus filtering off campus, and optimizes educational content to be bandwidth friendly—encouraging the implementation of more affordable LTE data plans.
I honestly believe that mobile technologies have the ability to truly transform education. Watch for my upcoming OnQ posts as I dive deeper into the challenges that lie ahead—and the solutions Qualcomm Education is offering. To learn more about the Qualcomm’s work in education as well as the Qualcomm Mobile Education Platform, go to www.qualcomm.com/products/education.